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Poulet de Bresse


bobsdf
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The bird received it's kiss of gold last night. 

Looks lovely, bleudauvergne.

re bubbling liquid: no, that shouldnt happen. I think. my guess is that you are losing the juices/moisture. Maybe the bird got a little steamed inside. When I did it, I made a tight envelope so that the bird is completely covered with the salt crust. I am guessing your chicken is touching the bowl and the salt crust was more of a tight sheath draped over the bird instead of a tight envelope. Regardless, your results show that these things dont matter and are purely theoritical.

p.s. what is 'poivre long'?

I initially wanted to completely envelope it. However even with the amount of salt and flour, I still did not have enough to wrap the complete bird, so I felt well enough following this lady's advice. Thank goodness I happened into the discussion with her.

The bird measured 1.8 kilos, about.

The poivre long came from an expensive traiteur. I could not help myself even though I knew I was probably getting ripped off because everything was ridiculously overpriced. I think it smells great and throw them whole into stocks and have been using it more and more. The greatest and mysterious thing about it is that since I've been using it I have lost 10 kilos. :wink: Just kidding.

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  • 6 months later...

The time to have a "Chapon de Bresse" at Bresse ?

I always dreamed of having a chapon de bresse or Poularde de Bresse in some local resrautants in Bresse area . I read that chapon or poularde are usually available ONLY "around Christmas" - can anybody tell me the ( more ) precise time frame ? From end of November or early December ?

The famous George Blanc's current autumn menu shows Poularde in several dishes , so I guess they have access to Poularde already in October . That solves the poularde . But how about the chapon ?

Some web surfing showed the chapons appear in some restaurant's Xmas dinner menu . But does one really have to wait till then ? It is probably not a good idea to visit France in Xmas time .

I appreciate any ideas .

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  • 1 year later...

Here's a cooking-related topic that interests me. A year and a half ago, I had a special dinner to cook. So I bought a poulet de Bresse and cooked it in a sauce with trompettes de la mort.

But what was curious, despite the dish being pretty good, was that it didn't do justice to the fact that the chicken was a poulet de Bresse (i.e. 2 or 3 times the cost of a poulet fermier Label Rouge). I felt as though a simpler preparation - roasted, simply - would have brought out what makes that kind of chicken more sumptuous than a regular free-range chicken.

But then again, when the product itself is good, I like it almost completely brut. When making magret de canard, I eat it with salt and pepper (though I do make a sauce au poivre vert with cognac and shallots and crème fraîche for my sauce-loving bf). When I eat a darne de saumon I pan-fry it in a slick of olive oil and throw some sel de Guérande on it. End of story.

Does anyone have any thoughts about plain vs. dressed dishes? (Aside from cuts that need to be braised, etc.)

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I have yet to cook with Bresse Chicken, although I did try the Bresse Chicken at La Mere Brazier and have to say that the quality of the chicken makes a huge difference in the taste of the dish. I'm sure it would not have tasted as good with a generic North American factory chicken.

Having said that, your question is about whether a Bresse chicken is "wasted" by cooking it in a sauce. I think it really depends on what kind of sauce it is. If it was a curry sauce, ya, it would be a big waste of the expensive chicken since the main taste of the dish comes from the curry spices.

But say you were doing a mild cream sauce where the predominant flavor is still the chicken, I think using a quality bird makes a huge difference. Same goes for a simple poached chicken.

The chinese have the same philosophy towards using their best birds e.g. Rongkong chicken, featured in one of the old episodes of Iron Chef Japanese. We usually reserve to the simplest preparations with very mild seasonings when using the most expensive birds e.g. poached in a mild stock "white cut" style, mildly tea-smoked "great-grandfather" style. WOuld never waste it in a chicken fricassee with black bean sauce etc.

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I think the problem in this case was not the sauce but the trompettes-des-morts. A strong-tasting mushroom, sometimes on the verge of mouldy, which may easily ruin the balance of a dish.

There is nothing wrong with a sauce with Bresse chicken, to the contrary: because of its firmness, it really asks for a sauce. That is how it is prepared in Bresse, Lyonnais and Mâconnais.

The favorite ingredients are cream, garlic, cheese, butter, mild-tasting mushrooms, foie gras, truffles and white wine. A French-style, cream-based curry sauce is actually not a bad idea.

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You lost me there... How are trompettes de la mort more pungent than truffles?!

My sauce was shallot, white wine, trompettes, thyme & bay leaf, finished with cream. But... bof. (Too bad, it was to celebrate moving in with my boyfriend and opening a bottle of 1995 Pétrus.)

One of my favorite dishes recently has been chicken with riesling, foie gras, cream and some quatre épices. Mm.

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My experience with Poulet ou Poularde de Bresse has been dining in France including meals in the Bresse region. Sauce is universal, and is usually a cream sauce. Although the very best dish I had in the region was a Supreme de Poularde with a white wine sauce. Most recently I had a Poulet de Bresse aux morilles at Guy Savoy in Paris. The sauce was superior to the chicken, so somewhat overwhelmed the chicken. When I commented on this to a waiter's inquiry. the restaurant sent out a supplementary dish of the morels in sauce. The morels were the blond variety but I like the black better. It may well be that the poulet is not as flavorful as the poularde. While I've had excellent grilled and roasted chicken, an accomplished sauce chef can greatly enhance the flavor of chicken. Vive le saucier!

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I don't think so. So tell me, please, if you think trompettes de la mort are not appropriate with chicken, why. Truffles don't taste anything like morels, either, and both are excellent matches with chicken.

And as a lover of trompettes de la mort (and hater of chanterelles/girolles, esp. from Hungary... but that's another story), whyever would you say they have a "rotten" taste?

Edited by sharonb (log)
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I don't think so. So tell me, please, if you think trompettes de la mort are not appropriate with chicken, why.

Certainly, but I already did in my first post of this thread.

I can also add that you did write that you cooked your chicken with a sauce, but the only ingredient of the sauce you mentioned was the trompettes. Hence I assumed that your other ingredients were more commonplace (cream, white wine, etc.), and that there could be nothing wrong with them. I mean, it is not only a matter of chicken. If you write that you want to bring out the true flavor of anything and then add "I cooked it with trompettes", I think it is only natural that you get the answer: "Well, remove the trompettes then."

There is another element that I forgot to mention: not all Bresse chickens are created equal, and the label does not guarantee that you will have a superior chicken every time. I have had wonderful Bresse chickens and average ones, some of them inferior to a supermarket Poulet Jaune des Landes or Poulet de Janzé (which show a more constant quality). It all depends on the breeder. So it may also happen that you do your best to bring out a distinctive flavor that just isn't there. To be fair, I also think that trompettes do not put all the chances on your side, but there may be that other aspect to be considered first.

Truffles don't taste anything like morels, either, and both are excellent matches with chicken.

What is important here is considering all the elements involved: a poulet de Bresse from which you want to get the true flavor, and the trompettes. Both morels and truffles are indeed excellent matches for a good chicken because they never compete with it (which is precisely why so many Bresse chicken recipes include them). Trompettes are a totally different ingredient, which can be nice if you gather them yourself and have them very fresh, and quite dreadful if you buy them on a market and they're already too old. Even when they're fresh they can be overpowering, so I'd use them on their own, or in an omelette, or sautéed with vegetables, or with a less delicate meat or poultry, etc., but if the idea is to support and enhance the flavor of a high-quality, superior chicken or fish, I'll just choose another ingredient.

And as a lover of trompettes de la mort (and hater of chanterelles/girolles, esp. from Hungary... but that's another story), whyever would you say they have a "rotten" taste?

I wrote "strong-tasting, sometimes on the verge of mouldy", and likely to "ruin the balance of a dish"; I did not write "rotten" (though they do rot quickly too). I was probably too laconical in my previous post and I'm sorry, but I really did not want to insult you by reminding you that you cannot compare trompettes and truffles, of course not because of their price, but because their use and effect in cooking are of an absolutely different nature.

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Not sure about the complete disparity between truffles and trompettes! And more information is always less insulting than less (if there is even a question of being insulting; hopefully I have enough sense not to take culinary questions of knowledge or ignorance as a personal attack; hopefully you are not looking to personally shame anyone).

This thread has made me reflect on the use of trompettes de la mort, in any case. You are right that my sauce was basic: shallot, white wine, thyme and laurel, finished with cream. And it sucked.

Maybe it was the chicken itself.

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Not sure about the complete disparity between truffles and trompettes!

(...)

Maybe it was the chicken itself.

I realize that you're teasing me. :hmmm:

But seriously, if you still do not grasp the difference between trumpets and black truffles, maybe it is simply time that you begin cooking with truffles and see for yourself.

There is a book I co-wrote with Pierre-Jean Pébeyre (the best French expert on truffles), which will tell you a lot about that subject. The introductory text is not very long but all the basics on the aromatic specificity of truffles are there. Unfortunately I think the book is currently unavailable but it should be reissued shortly. In any case, I can still recall the basics here.

Clicky.

Edited by Ptipois (log)
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... if you still do not grasp the difference between trumpets and black truffles, maybe it is simply time that you begin cooking with truffles and see for yourself.

Thanks for the link, Ptipois, which I will follow.

I have quoted this, though, because I think it's the root (or fungus) of the problem - and the reason this thread is now turning in circles. The point has never been defined.

What is the "difference" between trumpets and truffles? Of course they are drastically different. A radish is very different from a carrot. But they are two root vegetables, and if I make some remark about their "similarity", it's not because I think radishes taste like carrots, or can be prepared in similar ways or work in the same kinds of dishes. But they have a few points in common. That is all.

So when you note that I "do not grasp the difference between trumpets and truffles" - I have to ask: what difference? What aspect of them?

I have cooked with truffles. I have made poularde demi-deuil at my friend's house in Villers-sur-Mer. I have made omelets with truffles and gratins of potatoes.

But of course I look forward to learning more about them and their uses and if ever I'm lucky enough to have a fresh one again, I'll keep on exploring.

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Okay. You are right to hit the nail on the core of the topic, which btw is no longer chicken (or only marginally so) but truffles. All the more since the book is now decidedly out of print, I may as well recall the main points here.

Truffles are not just a fungus. They are an aromatic agent whose field of action is very particular, going far beyond mushroomity. At early periods of truffle studies (early 19th century) it was even wondered whether they were vegetable, animal or mineral. Some wrote they were a little of the three. One biologist believed he got rid of the problem by describing them as "animalized vegetables". The truffle is very paradoxal. There is some sort of historical rule concerning the use of black truffle: the more pungent and spicy the diet is, the less truffles are used. When spices and fermented foods go down, truffle goes up. One part of the truffle paradox is that, although its flavor is strong, it may be easily destroyed by other assertive flavors. It is actually very fragile and is better off used with plain, mild ingredients, which it will support and reveal. Also, it is unlikely to overpower the flavors of other foods. As Pébeyre writes, "elle doit avoir un peu de vide autour d'elle", i.e. it should be allowed to perform in a blank space, and not be challenged. Hence its uses with mild fowls, foie gras, pâtés, potatoes, rice, cream, etc. Some strong flavors suit it well (garlic for instance) some do not. To illustrate that, it is interesting to notice that there is no traditional use of truffles in Provençal cooking or in Spanish cooking, although they are plentiful in upper Provence and eastern Spain. Whereas they are important in French Southwestern and Lyonnais cuisines: a quick study of those cuisines and their favorite ingredients will tell a lot.

Morels (tastewise) are actually closer to truffles than other mushrooms in the way that they accompany tastes without overpowering them, hence their traditional use with mild-flavored ingredients like first-rate chicken, fish, veal, cream, etc. Trumpets, as mushrooms go, and however much we may like them, are not so versatile and I'd even say they are at the bottom of the fungus scale regarding versatility. They do not really support and bring out flavors, they add something different, as do for instance cultivated mushrooms that are open and a bit on the old side. There is such a difference of nature between truffles and trumpets that you cannot put them in the same category.

Take for instance a gamey bird like a guinea-fowl. I'd easily prepare it with trumpets provided that they are fresh enough, but I would rather use a truffle on a milder bird. Not that I think a guinea-fowl with truffles would not be good. But I think the truffle would interact better with good chicken.

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Fascinating, Ptipois. Thanks for taking the time to post that.

Ample food for thought about the cultural penchant for bland or mild foods, considered somehow more noble than ones with pungent or pronounced tastes (sole vs. mackerel). In this case, truffles might then, in some sense, sublimate those classy mild foods by adding something more complex but which would be lost in stronger-tasting fare?

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Yoo Hoo! I like my Poulet de Bresse in a croute de sel, recipe on the Poulet de Bresse thread.. I also like to cut it into pieces and do a nice fricassee with a cream sauce and echo pirate and Ptipois's opinions about creamy sauces. If you are looking for good Bresse chicken recipes, why not pick up one of George Blanc's books? I have been happy with the one I have. One of my favorite recipes these days for cooking at home in which you can really use either rabbit or chicken Incorporates trompettes de mort and I have never felt that the taste of the mushroom overwhelms the dish. Perhaps there was something else in the sauce you prepared, Sharon, that brought out an overwhelming flavor? What kind of stock were you using? How else did you season the sauce? You might also consider that trompettes de mort are in season in the month of November. They won't last more than a day or two fresh picked even in season. Were you using dried mushrooms in the sauce? Often dried mushrooms can give an overwhelming flavor to a preparation.

Edited by bleudauvergne (log)
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I thought also of mentioning Georges Blanc. To me he is the emperor of poulet de Bresse and the man on Earth who treats that fowl the most fairly. He has a loving, delicate touch on all his products. I have fabulous memories of the poulet recipes he served me while I was working (successively) on two of his books. He learnt all about poulet de Bresse from his mother, la mère Blanc. I have to say the dish that impressed me the most was the simple poule au riz, with a cream sauce and morels, served at the Auberge.

There was also the "poulet G7" which is quite another matter, brings out the goodness of poulet de Bresse perfectly but the calorie overload was remarkable. It is made of cut-up poulet de Bresse sautéed in butter with whole peeled garlic cloves, then a sauce is made with fond de volaille (de Bresse of course), white wine, lots of cream and foie gras, truffle juice and vinegar, and poured over the chicken. Good but much too rich for me; definitely a dish for politicians.

There are some of his chicken recipes in his books, and his son Alexandre also created a great recipe for poularde de Bresse en croûte de sel. Basically he puts a half-head of garlic, half an onion and a bouquet garni inside the bird, and wraps it tightly into a layer of pâte à sel (1,2 kg coarse salt, 1 kg flour, 2 whole eggs + 4 yolks, 15 cl water, mixed and refrigerated overnight), then the whole thing is baked for 1 h 30 in a 175 °C oven, then left to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes before the crust is broken and the poularde cut up.

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