Hidden Kitchen, Paris

We know we can count on our friend Jacque to know what’s going on in the food scene of Paris. I can barely keep up with the stateside blogs I read, let alone add a bounty of blogs from Paris. I do read David Lebovitz frequently, but cannot keep up with all his posts. So, anyway, we trust Jacque.

Jacque and her husband Jim come to Paris frequently and have been coming for most of October for three years. They rent apartments from Paris Address. This year we were invited to share their two bedroom in the first. So, we’re here for 10 days. Lucky us! Style guides won’t let me use more than one exclamation mark there, but they would be deserved.

Jacque tried to get into Hidden Kitchen last year, but things didn’t work out. So when we were planning our trip she got us reservations well in advance. It’s called a private dining club and the couple, Braden & Laura, host it in their home. The table for 16 takes over their living room for a couple of evenings a week.

When we arrived, Laura greeted us, took our coats and gave us a glass of Champagne that had pomegranate floating in it with some vodka in there too. It was delicious. We chatted up the other people there. Over the coarse of the night we found there were several people born in Ohio. We are many.

The ten courses and wine pairings are to the right. The food was innovative, interesting and very good. Standout courses for me were the agnolotti with sea urchin butter and the next course, the salmon.

This special experience was made more special by the fact that it was one of the hosts’ last. They’re opening a wine bar and restaurant down the street. It hasn’t been an easy process, but they’re due to open the wine bar this week. We’ll certainly drop in if we can.

The Menu
Amuse

Charred Onion w Wine Poached Medjul, Celery Root and Orange

2010 Dominae de Villargeau, 

Côteaux du Giennois

Red Cabbage Angliotti, 
Sea Urchin Butter, Mint, Caper

2009 Domaine La Soufrandise , 

Mâcon-Fuissé “le Ronté”

House Smoked Salmon, Cabbage,

Chilies, Buckwheat, Potato

2009 Domaine François Chidaine, 

Vouvray, “Les Argiles”

Palate Cleanser

Crispy Pork Belly
w Beet, Wild Rice, Endive and Olives

2010 Château de Coulaine, Chinon

Braised Beef Cheeks, Dok, 
Broccoli, Radish and Blue

2009 Domaine de l’Oratoire Saint Martin, Cairanne, “Réserve des Seigneurs”

Quince Sorbet 
w Chevre Custard and graham

2010 Château La Tour Grise, Ze Bulle

Chocolate & Chestnut Pave 

w Pears and candied Lemon

2006 Domaine La Tour Vieille, Banyuls

Mignardises

Restaurant Verjus
52, rue Richelieu
75001 Paris

Verjus Bar à vin
47, rue Montpensier
75001 Paris

www.verjusparis.com

Stretching, #CharcutePalooza month 10

I promised myself last month that I’d take on the harder challenge this month. I could have changed my mind, but that’s not usual for me. I make a plan and stick with it. So, I read and re-read the Chicken Galantine recipe in the book and forged ahead.
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The recipe starts with boning out a whole chicken. I’ve done a few times before, but always with a turkey. There’s a video online by the man I’ve probably learned the most kitchen techniques from, Jacques Pepin. I watched it a couple of times and ran it while I was actually doing it. What I so love about Jacques is how he makes everything simple, breaking it down into the essential steps. I won’t ever get to his espoused “couple of minutes” to debone a fowl, I can get it done in just a few. Well, less than ten anyway.

In Jacques video he’s going to leave the meat in place, put in a filling and cook. The book’s technique has you remove all the meat, freeze the skin and scrape away all the fat. I wasn’t particularly thorough about the scraping myself. I did clean the meat as directed, which includes taking the tendons in the legs. Jacques always has you use a towel during this kind of operation, which works fine, but I think my solution works better. I use a pair of hemostats.

UnknownI learned in college about this handy tool. Someone had figured out that they had uses outside the biology lab. Although, at that point we didn’t use them for cooking. They clamp closed and hold on, clicking into place. They’re perfect for pulling bones out of fish or tendons out of chicken legs. With all the meat cleaned up and trimmed to size, the breasts are heavily seasoned and seared. Some of the remaining meat is ground up, using much the same technique as the mousseline. You lay down half of the mixture, top it with the breasts and roll it all up.

This the the point where things went a little bit south. The skin didn’t completely cover. So, I took out some of the forcemeat. I was using butter muslin instead of cheesecloth. It’s much the same except it has much smaller holes, like using the double layer of cheesecloth the recipe called for. It ended up being bulging and weird looking.

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The crockpot was already up to the right cooking temperature filled with stock and I had set my controller to keep it at 165°F. In the galantine went. It poached for quite a while to come up to temperature. I checked it in several places and it had gone past the 160°F to 164°F.

It chilled overnight in the fridge in the liquid. I took it out, unwrapped it and immediately noticed “pinkness”. Even right under the skin. I cut into it and right around the breast filet in the middle was a pink gelatinous ooze. I’m still baffled what this is. The breast in the middle is fully cooked, so I know it’s not blood. I’m still at a loss.

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It tastes delicious, but I can say it’s not the most visually appealing dish. After the first day that pinkness turned to grey. I suppose that’s why it’s always served with a sauce. I choose my homemade plum chutney and my homemade Indian spiced tomato jam. Both were good, but the chutney went especially well with the galantine.

I’ve learned a lot this year, but something I didn’t anticipate getting into my noggin is how different people have very different tastes. Every month reading tweets and blog posts you get opinions from all over the map. Janis declared the galantine her favorite so far. Cathy raved about the hot dogs and mortadella. For me pancetta still is top of the heap. Merguez is close behind with duck proscuitto, pork pie, and mousseline rounding out my top five. But, I’m so glad to have all of the years’ challenges in my cooking arsenal.

Recipes in: Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing
By Michael Ruhlman & Brian Polcyn.

These comments are from the previous commenting system.

NIC

Looks good, but I agree some of these challenges are very difficult to make look good in photos!

Saturday, October 15, 2011 – 07:47 AM

MARDI@EATLIVETRAVELWRITE

Hmmm I swear I left a comment on this the other day – when I saw your rolling technique, I realise that my roulade is, well, “rouled” incorrectly…. Your galantine looks fantastic. That’s next on my list but after confit and roulade, it was enough meat!

Saturday, October 15, 2011 – 01:21 PM

MR BELM

Hemostats! Great idea, I’l never use a towel again.

Saturday, October 15, 2011 – 11:50 PM

MOSAICA

The top photo looks Very Tasty! And I love your hemostat idea for tendons; I tend (har) to pin the end of tendons to my wooden cutting board with my thumb, and then scrape the meat off, with varying degrees of success. So yes, this is yet another great alternate use for this lab tool.

Your last photo looks like a cousin to the intergalactic space-worm which was my rullpølse project several months ago: delicious, but with a visage that only its creator could love 😉

Sunday, October 16, 2011 – 05:31 AM

SCOTT

Thanks for the comments!

Thursday, October 20, 2011 – 07:35 AM