I’ve been looking for a good recipe to make and write about to get back into the whole blogging thing…It’s been rough, but I think I found it. Basically, chicken galantine is essentially keeping a chicken whole, while removing all of the bones, then stuffing it, wrapping it all up, and cooking the sucker.
Now, I know what you’re thinking…chickens have bones?? The long answer is – yes.
I personally love the art and technique of butchering. I’ve always been intrigued by it, because it is an art and it’s pretty much not appreciated. Lately whenever I can, I like to buy whole chickens, and chop it up into it’s different parts, and I don’t know why, but there’s this more accomplished feeling, when you realize that one whole chicken, can produce so many components to the meal. Like in our dish for example – I used the remaining carcass to make a stock, and the scrap chicken to make the filling. Then I used the stock to make the gravy that went with the dish. It’s kinda like the circle of life, man…it’s super deep.
Whatever, philosophy class aside, I’m not gonna say this is an easy technique to do, but trust me when I say, that if I can do it, so can you. It does help to have a little bit of knowledge of what parts are what though. So without further ado…chicken galantine.
Ok, this recipe comes from the great Jacques Pepin, and he has a great Youtube video, which I recommend watching if you’re gonna venture into this. You’ll also have to excuse me for not having great step by step pictures.
One thing to know before going into this, is you know how chickens have “white and dark” meat? Well, in general, whenever an animal uses a particular muscle for longer periods of time, as opposed to quick bursts, the muscle will be darker. So for example – a chicken pretty much uses the muscles of its legs all day, when it sits, stands, walks, etc..so it needs those muscles constantly. However, a chicken doesn’t really use its wings all too often. Every once in a while, it will use them for a moment. The machinery needed to run these muscles are different, and that’s why they taste different.
(Quick science detour – You can skip this part if you want [but the rest you can’t!] – Basically, the muscles that are used for longer periods of time, need fat and oxygen in order to work, which it gets from the bloodstream in the form of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin then gives the oxygen to myoglobin, which stores it until the cytochromes are ready to oxidize it. The myoglobin is what gives these muscle fibers its dark red color [what’s interesting is, there are different configurations to myoglobin and depending on that configuration is what color the meat will be…ranging from purple, to red, and brown…but I digress]…anyway, with white meat, since the body needs the energy pronto, it doesn’t rely on the blood stream to deliver its nutrients, rather, the muscle has energy stored within it, in the form of glycogen, and converts that into energy without having to wait for blood to bring stuff. And while we’re on the topic, if you thought about it, you would understand why a duck is different than a chicken…it actually uses it’s breast muscle for long periods of time, and that’s why there’s no white meat on a duck, and why it’s freaking delicious…this is also why a tuna, and to a lesser extent salmon is different than bass or flounder…see where I’m going with this?)
Ok back to our chicken, one of the challenges in cooking this (or chicken in general for that matter) is cooking the white and dark meat to the right point, and since they both are done at different temperatures (white meat – needs to be cooked no higher than 140, and dark meat has to exceed 155ish in order for it to be melt in your mouth [that has to do with the connective tissue breaking down into collagen…more on that another time]), so we’re going to have to keep that in mind once we’re done with the whole carcass breakdown thingy…wait…it’s been like 6 paragraphs, and we haven’t even started cutting the bird??? Yeesh, this is gonna be a long post…I know, but it’s been a while…I have a lot to say.
Ok, Ok…let’s get cutting. First thing to do is remove the wish bone by making slits along the backside, and digging your fingers in, and pulling it out.
Then, lay the bird on the side, and cut through the skin along the spine. Then we’re going to separate the tips and the flat off of the wings to leave just the mini drum stick. (I know this is hard to describe without good pictures, but it was hard to take pics, so just do yourself a favor and watch the video)
All right, now the next part happens pretty fast, but the idea is this – All we’re going to be cutting from here on in is the knee and shoulder joints…the rest will be separated just by pulling everything apart (again, watch the video). Once you have both shoulder joints separated, you can basically pull the whole carcass down, and then you’ll be at the knee joint and will need to cut that also.
Once that’s done, this is what you’ll have -
The only bones left are two in each leg, and one in each shoulder.
To remove the leg bones, take the back of your knife, and gently scrape away at any meat clinging to the bone, and when you reach the actual joint, you’ll have to cut in order to separate (need I say watch the video again?)
Then to remove the bone, I pretty much whacked the ankle, to break the bone, and removed the bone through the thigh. For the bone in the shoulder, you can actually just push it out.
Ok, so now we’re ready to fill the pollo. I kinda went on a riff on our chicken crepes (which I’m sure still is emblazoned in your memory because it was so awesome), which is a big hit in this family.
I sauteed onions and mushrooms, and after they were good and soft, I added some flour, and stirred to combine. Then I added some of the stock and let that come to a simmer, and then added our reserved chopped up chicken.
Transfer to chicken, and fill the bird, making sure to stuff the filling into the legs and shoulders.
Then, roll it all up
and tie it like a large roast.
I then salted it, and placed it in the fridge over night. Leaving it in the fridge over night helps for two reasons. One I was able to go to sleep, because I was super tired. But mainly, it dries out the skin, which helps to brown the chicken better.
When you’re ready to cook, since we’re going to be roasting the chicken (ie – high heat, and uncovered), considering what we discussed earlier, we needed a way to figure out how not to overcook the wihte meat, while the dark meat continues to cook. One method I’ve used before is to pplace aluminum foil over the white meat for the first portion of cooking.
Now since there’s only so much more I can discuss, essentially there are three ways to transmit heat/energy and cook something, conduction, convection, and radiation. Without getting too much into it, placing aluminum foil on the chicken prevents radiation from transmitting energy, and thus eliminates part of what will cook the meat. Confusing? Great!
So I put the bird in at 400 for about 45-50 minutes, covering the white meat with aluminum for about 20 minutes of that.
And that’s it. Now you just have to cut it up.
I served it with a mushroom sauce (gravy made with the stock, along with sauteed mushrooms recipe here)
Well, I know the 9 days are coming, and my timing might not be the best, but you know what? I don’t care! Plus, as I’m sure you saw in the title, it’s my 3rd anniversary for this here li’l website. So go me…I’m not exactly sure what the accomplishment is, but hey, lets just celebrate.
I also hope to be able to blog more now that I’m officially unemployed (ie I finally am done with my residency, and I’m looking for a job), so here’s another empty promise that I write some more…but you know I’ll probably disappoint.
Watch Video here
Based on this recipe
- 1 whole chicken, deboned, but left whole
- salt and pepper
- 1 Small case of Mushrooms, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic minced
- leftover chicken from the last time you made stock
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 batch of mushroom sauce
- Debone chicken, watch Chef Pepin do it in video above
- Salt and pepper the insides of the chicken
- Sautee mushroom and onion, until soft, about 5-7 minutes
- Add flour and cook while stirring for another 2-3 minutes, until toasty
- Add garlic, and cook for another 30 seconds
- Add broth, and bring to a boil, and cook for another 7 minutes or so, until thickened.
- Add reserved chicken scraps, and stir to combine
- Take mushroom chicken mixture, and stuff chicken, ensuring to placed stuffing into legs and shoulders.
- Roll up chicken, and tie into a roast.
- Set chicken on a rack, salt and pepper the bird, and place in fridge over night (optional)
- When ready to cook, preheat oven to 400
- Place piece of aluminum foil over white meat, and cook chicken for 15-20 minutes, remove foil, up the heat to 450, and cook for another 15-20 minutes, or until ready (135 for white meat if using thermometer)
- Allow meat to rest before carving at least 30 minutes.
- Slice and serve with mushroom sauce