This was a week I have been waiting all year for. This was the week that we learned how to make that amazing French meatloaf we all love: pate. I think it’s one of those meats that you are either head over heels in love with, or you despise with every bone in your body. For me it’s the ladder. I love pate. I love the combination of flavors that are combines and the accompaniments that you serve with it. Any type of pickled items and spicy mustards, items that are generally not show stopping ingredients become this luxury part of a dish when you pair them with pate. Staying in the same family as pate, we also made chicken galantines which is probably the most interesting dish I’ve ever created. It’s an entire chicken that has been skinned, de-boned, pounded, pureed and then rolled together to then be poached. The work to create it was slightly tedious but the end result was absolutely worth it.
Before we could start on the galantine or the pate, we had to first make our chau-froid, also known as an aspic platter. In class we were calling it a jelly platter so you can call it what you like. It’s basically a platter that you create out of gelatin on top of a real platter. You first combine two cups of cold milk and 1.5 ounces of gelatin and allow the mixture to bloom considerably. In a separate bowl combine 4 cups of water and 3 ounces of gelatin and allow this mixture to also bloom. When adding the gelatin to any liquid for these purposes you want to be sure that you sprinkle the gelatin over the liquid slowly and gently. Once the milk and bloomed, place it over a double boiler and very gently stir it, you don’t want to create air bubbles. Once it begins to feel like heavy cream remove from the heat and pour through a chinois onto the platter that you’re going to be using.
Use some sort of flame such as a long lighter or a torch to move quickly across the milk and remove any air bubbles that may have slipped through the chinois. Do not hold the flame in one place for too long though it will burn the milk. Make sure the platter is on a level surface and let the milk gelatin set for at least a half hour to 45 minutes before beginning to work with it. While the milk is setting, you can put your water and gelatin over a double boiler and stir gently until you the liquid becomes clear and you can see the bottom of your bowl. Remove it from the heat and allow to cool down. You have to be careful balancing the right temperature to pour on top of the milk verses waiting to long and having thick gelatin in your bowl. Keep an eye on it. If it does become too thick you can always throw it back on the heat.
This is the time to garnish. Once your water has cooled enough to work with take whatever garnish you wish to display and dip it into the water gelatin and gently place it on your set milk. You can be as creative as you want. Allow that to set and then once the water has reached a cool to the touch temperature, pour it onto the platter through a chinois. Keep the chinois moving when you’re pouring you don’t want to make a hole in the milk. Allow that to set for an hour or longer if you wish and then place whatever you intend to serve on top. I was thinking of how cool it would be to make one to place champagne glasses on for a wedding. You could put a photo of the couple inside as the garnish. You could make it edible by using stock and other ingredients but because you’re not, you have full range to be as creative as you wish.
After our platters had been set, we moved on to making our galantine and our pate. While time consuming each dish is actually quite simple. For the galantine, we skinned a whole chicken without puncturing holes or tearing it. I took a video so everyone could see chef skinning his chicken.
Once our chicken was skinned, we set the skin aside and began to de-bone the chicken. We then took the leg and thigh meat and removed any tendons still attached to the meat (tweezers work really well). We threw the leg and thigh into a food processor with a ton of salt and pepper, herbs, garlic and whatever else struck our fancy. Once fully blended, we added an egg yolk (one will suffice for the leg and thigh of one chicken) and began blending then about 2 to 3 ounces of cream while still on. We basically made a chicken paste and this chicken paste was going to be our farce for the galantine. Lay out a big strip of plastic wrap and place the chicken skin, out side down. Butterfly and pound out the breast and place those on top of the skin leaving about and inch of skin uncovered at the top. Place your farce towards the bottom of the breasts and lay down some long thicker strips of ham. Make a canal in the farce and place the two chicken tenders that are removed from the chicken breasts. Use the plastic wrap to then begin rolling up the galantine. It’s very similar to rolling a sushi roll. You want to hold the stuffing in while making sure to pull the skin down to ensure tightness. You want the inch of skin left uncovered to be touching skin from the rolling portion. Use the plastic wrap to help and pinch and hold both sides while rolling the galantine away from you. This should tighten your wrap job. Once you think it’s tight enough, tie off both ends and roll it once more in plastic wrap, then again in tin foil. Place in a big tub of simmering water (you never want the water boiling) until a thermometer poked into the center of it reads 165*. Once done, place on a sheet pan and throw in the fridge to get cold.
The pate was even easier. We sauteed some quartered mushrooms with oil and garlic and set aside. We ground up some pork butt (shoulder meat) and in a separate bowl combined the two pieces of minced bread with the crusts removed, an egg and enough cream to moisten the bread. This is also known as a panade. We added the ground pork to the panade along with an 1/8 teaspoon of TCM to keep the pork staying pink while cooking. We folded in our mushrooms and then placed into a terrine that was coated with plastic wrap. We covered the terrine with tin foil and placed in a hot water bath then put them in a 350* oven for 30-50 minutes depending on how hot your oven in. The temp should read 150* when done.
It was a long few days in the kitchen this week but they were so much fun as well. I can’t wait to experiment with different flavors and combinations when it comes to making either of these dishes. I hope everyone runs to the store to try out any of the things discussed today. Have a fantastic week and I hope to hear about any dishes made!