The bird received it's kiss of gold last night. Even if I might not have done it just right..
At the market, the producer also brought his daughter. It's the Lyon producers market on the square at Perrache station. This is an interesting market because it takes place in the middle of the week, at the end of the day. And people are only allowed to sell their own product here. There have been vendors at this market that I see on the Quai St. Antoine, so in that way I know they are direct producers. You can usually tell who's a local producer and who isn't. The producers tend to be less showy and only have what's in season, of course. But the products are the freshest.
The birds are tagged with a bracelet, a special metal thing that identifies them as part of the federation, a hand written number, PLUS the stickers and tags.. The guy offered me all his extra feet without me even asking this time. Wasn't that nice of him?
Poulet de Bresse sous la croute de sel
This is all you need for this dish:
1 Poulet de Bresse
Salt about 600 grams
flour about a 800-900 grams
pepper (I chose three kernels of poivre long)
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (which I clipped from a plant I have)
2-3 poultry livers. I had the liver from the bird I bought, and also a pintade liver that the vendor had for sale.
Heat the oven to 150 C or about 300F (?).
What you do is mix the salt and flour and some water to make a thick homogenous dough. You don't want it too gooey or soft. I made the mistake of a too gooey dough and it sagged down and began to get holes, so had to peel it off the bird and add flour to it. It's got to be really nice and thick.
This was too gooey and I ended up adding flour to it.
Put the rosemary, bay leaves, peppercorns, and livers inside the bird's cavity.
You then push the dough all down flat and layer it on the bird and seal it up in areas that look like they might break and around the edges. I used a pastry brush to poisten certain parts and pinched it and prodded it a bit. I also put on two layers to make sure there weren't any holes.
This is the bird with the good dough on it. It's not very pretty...
Then you put it in the oven. The recipe I used said to do it for 1.5 hours. This was where a mishap occured. While I was kneading the dough on the table, my husband went poking around and thought I'd left the oven on by accident. He fiddled with the knob and then turned it back when he realized I'd had it on for a reason. However with my new fangled German oven, the oven automatically sets at certain temperature depending on the type of air circulation you choose. SO, instead of 150, it was automatically reset to 220.
At about an hour, things started smelling quite delicious and I could swear it was done by the lovely aromas coming out of the kitchen. I was suprised, and checked and realized just then that it was on the high temp. I have rotied birds at this temp so I wasn't too concerned, but the croute was not as golden and uniform as it could have been. In fact it was slightly burned. There has got to be some way for a little air to escape otherwise the thing will explode, right? On the right side you see there was just a little place where some liquids bubbled up to the top. But I think that's normal. Is that normal?
Oh well. We cracked the croute off the bird and saw it was just fine. Very steamy and juicy!
Thank goodness I stuck my nose in the oven and checked it.
We know the French usually eat with silverware but last night we ate with our fingers. The meat was infused with a hint of rosemary, was soft, juicy and quite frankly, delicious. The juices were out of this world.
I dressed the salad with a vinaigrette of some of the cooking juices and a hint of common red wine vinegar, plus the fois, with a little white pepper ground on top.
The recipe was inspired by Joel Robuchon's recipe but I added the poivre long, an extra bay leaf, and instead of completely wrapping the chicken as he instructs, I sealed it into the pan. This idea came from a conversation with a lady on the bus on the way to the market from work. She said that to seal it in made it easier to open afterwards. I can see that since it was hard as a rock and took a bit of effort to pry off.
Anyway. Delicious and easy and I encourage anyone to try this. I think the fricasee with the fois gras sauce was the best so far but this comes a close second, and due to it's ease of preparation, I would actually rate it higher than the fricasee in terms of taste payoff and good use of the bird.