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Another month has passed and we’re sadly that much closer to the end of The Year of Meat. There’s no way I’m going to stop making any of these Charcutepalooza treats, but I don’t think I’ll be documenting them in quite as much detail. Usually when I’m cooking there’s fourteen other things (or just two little girls) vying for my attention and I don’t get a chance to make notes or pick up my camera—or make sure when I do pick up my camera I’m not getting schmaltz on it. However, this month’s challenge, as complicated as it was, was a huge amount of fun and I found myself constantly washing my hands (or pulling off the non-latex gloves) and taking a photo. I would go so far as to say, while I’ve enjoyed mostly all of the Charcutepalooza challenges, this one ranks up there as one of my favorites.
While many of the challenges are easily recognizable to the non-meat-obsessed, I’m willing to bet the photo above and even the caption “galantine” may not be as commonly known as say bacon, corned beef or even terrine. What you’re looking at there and in the many photos below is, from the center out, a boneless, skinless chicken breast encased within a chicken thigh & liver forcemeat (remember blended ground meat and fat), wrapped in chicken skin, poached in chicken stock and then chilled.
Now, you may be thinking, as I did, I love chicken skin and all, but I like it nicely roasted or fried crispy, not poached and then served cold. But trust me, the galantine is a thing of beauty. The key is to make very thin slices when cutting the final product. Don’t just take my word for it, here’s the conversation I had with my brother Andy when I unwrapped and served the galantine last week.
Andy: What is this you’re serving?
Me: A galantine. It’s chicken breast inside ground chicken meat wrapped in chicken skin.
Me: Trust me.
Andy: What the heck is this? (eyes the slice, picks it up and pops it in his mouth) Oh wow, this is goooooooood.
So there you have it, third party proof. And if there’s anyone who likes to give another person trouble and not let them think they did something right, you know it’s a little brother.
One of the reasons galantines may not be as common as a terrine or pate is because it is a bit of complex, time-consuming process to create. First you have to take the skin off a whole chicken, intact in one piece, something I had done several times in the past (did I mention I liked fried crispy chicken skin?). It’s not super difficult once you learn how to do it, it’s more a matter of time and patience. It was a plus having this challenge in October because some of the more gruesome horror movies can come to mind when doing it (Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs anyone?). Then you have to freeze the skin, scrape off the fat from the skin, butcher the chicken, sear the breasts, make the forcemeat (which is a whole Charcutepalooza challenge in itself), roll the whole thing up and tie off the ends, wrap it in cheesecloth and tie that, poach it in the stock to the proper temperature and chill it. On second thought, did I really mean this was one of my favorite challenges?
Truly it was, plus I had a good amount of forcemeat leftover that I put a delicious terrine together too. Before I close with the many photos of this process a mention should be given to Blackbird Farm (one of the many places I work with). We’ve begun raising chickens at Blackbird Farm. They’re Cornish Rocks, raised on pasture and supplemented with organic feed if they so desire. The birds are really beautiful to butcher and I couldn’t be happier cooking with them. So thank you Blackbird Farm for the chickens to do things with them that the folks at the farm never heard of, and, as usual, thank you to Cathy Barrow a.k.a. Mrs. Wheelbarrow and Kim Foster a.k.a.not The Yummy Mummy anymore for all the #charcutepalooza fun.