Time to write in English, I think, because the last few posts have been in French.
This weekend I wanted to try a technique that I saw whilst working at my first caterer’s – namely, rolling a piece of meat (in this case, a roll of chicken breast that I had prepared the day before) in a mousseline stuffing (made out of chicken, coconut milk, coriander, anchovy sauce, salt and pepper). The end result being a solid piece of meat covered with another meat with a different texture.
I created a recipie which associates the following flavours :
chicken (breast and leg) meat with 2 different stuffings – 1 chicken “sausage” with pancetta (for the kids), 1 sausage with thai green curry paste (for me and Antonella)
2 different moussline mixtures for coating the 2 “sausages” – both with the same basic ingredients of chicken, coconut milk, salt, anchovy sauce and sesame oil. One then has coriander added, whilst the other has poppy seeds.
tomato and coconut sauce – made from a rich tomato sauce with pancetta and fresh chicken stock, mixed in a blender and then combined, at the last moment, with coconut milk.
vegetable “duos” – discs of celeriac and potato with a “mini-disc” of carrot inserted into the middle.
I was tempted by this technique because I like the visual aspect of the end result (a disc of meat with different textures and colours) combined with the sensual aspect (different flavour and texture from the middle to the outside of the meat).
Ingredients and Steps to Follow
Preparation of Chicken “Sausages” : take the meat off a raw chicken carcasse (découper à cru une volaille) – 2 chicken breasts and 2 legs (to be used later for the mousseline). Down the middle of each chicken breast place the “stuffing” – green curry paste (I made this myself a few weeks ago, easy to do and keeps in the fridge for 3-4 months. However, if you don’t have the time to make it, use the “Blue Elephant” brand curry pastes) in one, 2 slices of pancetta in the other. For each breast, roll it into a sausage shape by placing it on a sheet of cling film and then rolling it up tightly, tying both ends with a piece of string. These will both be cooked in the tomato sauce as it bubbles gently – simply placing the 2 cling film wrapped sausages in to the hot sauce and leaving it to “steam” gently for 20+ minutes. Once cooked (i.e once the sausages are firm to the touch) cut open the sausages and throw away the cling film wrappers.
preparation of the tomato and coconut milk sauce : I wanted to have a simple, classic base for this recipie, and so the tomato sauce is nothing more than 1 large tin of peeled plum tomatoes (740g), 3 slices of pancetta, 2 cloves of fresh garlic (more intense than the usual “dry” garlic), salt and pepper, thyme and 2 bay leaves, organic olive oil. All gently cooked together until the sauce reduces slightly to give a rich tomato flavour. This sauce (well, I didn’t use all of the sauce….probably one third, but frankly, the proportion is a matter of personal taste) is then “mixed” with a stick-blender to produce a smooth sauce, which is then enhanced with 1 carton (200 ml) of coconut milk just before serving.
preparation of moussline and using it to coat the sausages : approx. 150-200g of chicken leg meat, approx. 50ml of coconut milk, 1 egg white, salt pepper, 20g anchovy sauce. Blend the meat with the salt pepper and egg white. This should then be thinned / smoothed out using the coconut milk, with the end result being a smooth, yet firm (firm enough to be spread out on cling film without it running), paste. Then, to create the 2 different mousseline pastes, I add in one paste half of a bunch of coriander, and in the other lots and lots of poppy seeds (enough to darken the paste and to ensure that when eating the moussline later we can “feel” the texture of the little poppy seeds). Each paste is spread out (in the shape of a rectangle, the width of your chicken sausages, and approx 10-15 cms in length) onto a separate sheet of cling film, a sausage is placed in the middle and then the mousseline is rolled around the sausage (by lifting one end of the cling film and moving it towards the other end…..difficult to explain, but I figured it out myself and I’m sure that you’ll do the same….just try it and you’ll see, I’m sure). Once the sausages have been wrapped in the mousseline, they are placed in the tomato sause again, this time for approx. 10 minutes. Once cooked, unwrap and keep warm.
vegetable discs : this was the result of me “playing”, and overall, I don’t think that it was worth the effort. However, it’s simply a matter of using different sized circular shapes to cut out the different shapes. In this case I used larger discs of celeriac and potato, with a mini disc of carrot inserted into the middle. I thought that it would be interesting visually, and that the combination of flavours would be worth the effort…..but no, it ends up being way too fussy and overall, a bit up its own arse (excuse the expression) !!
End Result ?
Sauce was much appreciated by my wife – rich tomato flavour (depth given by the good chicken stock, in my opinion) softened by the coconut milk.
The 2 different chicken preparations work and the different flavours are present. Visually effective, but a little dry (I still haven’t worked out the best cooking times for the 2 different steps – cooking sausage and then the mousseline). I’m not sure that the texture would please everyone.
Vegetables were not a great success….too fussy.
Overall, even though it is always tempting for a young chef to put lots of different techniques into one dish, the end result is too intense / fussy / trop chargé. My wife suggested that the chicken discs could stay but placed on a simpler more modest base (for example, a celeriac mash with a chunky sauce).
See what you think and let me know.