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Ducasse's Grand Livre De Cuisine


MobyP
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As several members will no doubt be getting this book, I thought we should start a thread.

One of the qualities that distinguishes the cuisine of Ducasse is his uses of Jus, rather than traditional reduced-stock sauces, so I was very glad to see in the Basic recipes chapter at the end, a selection of jus methods. For those familiar with the 'Quick Sauces' of Keller, the method for these is very similar, though uses the central protein rather than the bones or carcass. Also, there's a strong use of butter fats to add to flavour.

So, focus the maillard flavours of a protein by sauteing it in fat over very high heat until well browned (and as you won't be eating the meat afterwards, you can encourage a much greater degree of browing than usual); add liquids (water or light stock - though interestingly, not wine), and deglaze. Reduce to a syrupy consistency, continue to cook in the fat (developinjg the flavours), and then add more liquid as before. Repeat this a third time, and you're left with an extremely intense reduced jus to drizzle over plates. This doesn't posess the gelatinous quality of jus with bones, but has a wonderful seductive syrupy-ness.

Anyway, as tomorrow I'm cooking lamb, today I brought back a few pounds of lamb shoulder (Herdwick breed), and am following the intructions for the jus. I find this kind of cooking extremely relaxing - the repeptitive nature, the developing flavours over an afternoon.

As this is my first recipe from the book, I'll fill you in on how it goes.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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I only thought to start taking pictures half way through.

So, here's the jus on the third reduction (using light chicken stock)...

gallery_8259_153_52238.jpg

And here it is once reduced and strained.

gallery_8259_153_18446.jpg

I have a picture of it on a plate, to give you an idea of consistency, but for some reason I'm not able to upload it.

So - all the colour comes from the deep browning. There's no wine. The flavour is very full, without being cloying as you get with over-reduced bone stock. I'll certainly be trying this method with other meats.

Edited by MobyP (log)

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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The Jus technique sounds similar to the one in the Spoon book. One thing that struck me about this approach is the multiple reductions in relatively small amounts of water. Also the fact that the meat and aromatics are browned in peanut oil (in the Spoon recipe, at least) after which the oil is poured off and replaced by butter.

None of the steps are exotic, but I'd never seen them combined in that particular sequence. The results are so good, especially with the poultry jus, that this has become a standard technique for me.

Can't wait 'til my Grand Livre arrives.

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Yes - exactly the same. What's interesting is the way the butter affects the flavour. It really fills it out. But because you're boiling the juices around it, you're separating the elements - solids and fats. So it's not the same as mounting at the end.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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how do you all like the book is it worth the hefty price tag? informational or lots of reciepes? i love background information on technique and product, is there a lot? how would you compare to FL or elbuli?

The complexity of flavor is a token of durable appreciation. Each Time you taste it, each time it's a different story, but each time it's not so different." Paul Verlaine

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This method is strikingly simlar to the one employed by Bernard Loiseau as described in The Perfectionist by Rudolph Chelminski:

"He sacrificed prime cuts of each sort of meat by cooking them separately in a big sauteuse and removing the grease before deglazing them with water. He then transferred the sacrificial meats to a second receptacle and continued cooking with water and aromatic herbs until they had rendered up everything they had to give in the form of a rich syrupy essence or jus."

Moby - what happens to the butter at the end of the process according to Ducasse - do you skim the jus or is it emulsified into the finished sauce as for a jus gras?

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Moby - what happens to the butter at the end of the process according to Ducasse - do you skim the jus or is it emulsified into the finished sauce as for a jus gras?

The butter should emulsify into the sauce. If it doesn't something went wrong.

Actually, the process is entirely counter-intuitive (at least to me). When following the Spoon recipe, which I assume is fairly similar to the one here, the initial boiling-down of the first reductions produces a cloudy, milky-looking mess. Exactly what one would hope to avoid in making stock. I like to think of this technique as the "anti-Keller" stock. (With all due reverence to chef Keller). If Keller says "skim! skim! skim!", then Ducasse seems to say "reduce and caramelize, be bold in your reduction".

In reading the Spoon recipe, I honestly would have dismissed it out-of-hand were it not for the source. Given that it's Ducasse we're talking about here, I was certainly willing to give it a try, all skepticism aside. After forming a mucky, cloudy mess, the jus sorts itself out into a surprisingly clear amber liquid. There's a minimum of skimming (again counter to theory) - indeed, the Spoon recipe says nothing of skimming at all. And yet if one follows the procedure the results are marvelous.

BTW, how did the lamb turn out, MobyP? I noticed that you included carrots in your jus preparation. The Spoon recipe is very minimal - just the meat (whatever is appropriate) plus shallots and garlic. I think that the idea is to keep the jus relatively neutral since it might be used in a variety of dishes. I'm guessing that you augmented you jus with ingredients appropriate to your intended dish. Or does the GL recipe include more ingredients than the one in Spoon?

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I know there are some around, but at the moment I can't find any pictures of his plating. When he uses jus, it looks almost broken - drifts of oil and dark gravy together in the same liquid. It is, as pointed out, the anti-Keller sauce. If you look at the reduced picture of the jus in the saucepan, however, you can see how glossy it is. That's the leftover fat from the butter emulsified into the sauce by the reduction. It split when I let it cool. Ducasse writes in his 'Flavors of France' book that you should remove the solidified butter the next day. He doesn't say what to do with it in the GL.

Edsel - yes, I shamefully added the carrots. I wanted to add that caramelized flavour to the jus. I ended up using the juices from the roast lamb (and roast shallots, a head of garlic, and a branch of thyme, deglazing with some white wine, reducing, adding the intense jus from above and a little water, reducing again to sauce consistency, and then mounting with a little butter.

Incidentally, I didn't get that broken feel to my jus as Ducasse does, even though I didn't skim the butter off, and I'm not sure why.

Also, there are plenty of typos in the book, some really sloppy. In the Veal Jus, at some point, out off nowhere it mentions returning "the duck bones" to the pot. In other words, whoever was putting the book together was cutting and pasting the same paragraphs into different recipes, and then forgetting to make all of the required changes.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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how do you all like the book is it worth the hefty price tag? informational or lots of reciepes? i love background information on technique and product, is there a lot? how would you compare to FL or elbuli?

I think as a document of French haute cuisine over the last 20 years, it might be irreplaceable. Not that it's definitive in the least. It's a book for advanced cooks, or chefs though. Not really for the home market, there's too much information missing. And it seems that you can buy a copy on Amazon for less than I paid.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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... even though I didn't skim the butter off, and I'm not sure why.

Also, there are plenty of typos in the book, some really sloppy. In the Veal Jus, at some point, out off nowhere it mentions returning "the duck bones" to the pot. In other words, whoever was putting the book together was cutting and pasting the same paragraphs into different recipes, and then forgetting to make all of the required changes.

In the French edition, there's no mention of butter in the jus d'agneau. And after a quick scan through many pages, I couldn't find a recipe where a sauce based on jus was mounted with butter.

????

Edited by Boris_A (log)

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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My guess: When protein liquid reaches a temperature between 60C and 100C, the proteins coagulate into tight little balls which are insoluble in water, hence, clumping.

When protein reaches somewhere between 150C and 300C, maillard reactions happen and the tight bonds between protien molecules break down into essentially fond which CAN be dissolved in water which is why it ends up so glossy.

Personally, I have been extremely puzzled with the love/hate relationship chefs seem to have with scum/fond. If you think about it, they are essentially the same thing, only in different states, yet one is reviled while the other is revered.

PS: I am a guy.

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... even though I didn't skim the butter off, and I'm not sure why.

In the French edition, there's no mention of butter in the jus d'agneau. And after a quick scan through many pages, I couldn't find a recipe where a sauce based on jus was mounted with butter.

????

No, but I think there are sauces to which jus is added which you later mount with butter - which is what I did for lunch. I combined the reduced wine/maillard meat juices with the jus from the day before to make the sauce. It was a family style meal, and I needed a greater quantity of liquid than the first jus gave me. (i.e. I wasn't plating the food, but sending it out in platters, and a sauce boat).

As to the other point - yes. For some reason, the lamb jus is the only one in the GL which doesn't use butter - compared to the other jus recipes it's quite austere. Then I looked at his jus recipe in the Flavors of France book, which does contain butter (1/2 a pound to every 4.5 pounds of meat - although I didn't use that much), not to mention carrots, celery etc. So - I averaged out the two recipes to my own taste.

Why do you think the GL refrains from butter in the Lamb jus? I'm not sure. But I wanted to see how the flavour would be affected.

Edited by MobyP (log)

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Interesting to note (fyi) this method is a step back in time, it's pre so called nouvelle cuisine.

Yes - if you have a look at James Peterson's Sauces book he talks about this

Originally Jus was just that - juices from the meat. But as it was uneconomical making a stock with bones and reducing it was invented as a sort of workaround - not quite as good in terms of flavour but much more parismonious.

As a whole the book is well worth getting. Even at the list price it is actually reasonable value for money when you think you are getting c750 detailed recipes (think... a usual cheffy book has, what, up to a 100 recipes if that? so its the equivalent of seven normal cookbooks at $30 a pop). Although admittedly half the recipes are a variation of protein + lots and lots of black truffle :raz:

Also in terms of the content and technique, as Moby has pointed out, the recipes are by no means run of the mill. Lots of interesting detail about the cooking - notable is the large amount of pre-cooking/sous-viding of the meat cuts

Shame there aren't any puddings...

Cheers

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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Why do you think the GL refrains from butter in the Lamb jus? I'm not sure.

For me, lamb and lamb fat has a tendency to be slightly sweet. I'd say he didn't want to sweeten the taste further.

For me, the most interesting thing with his recipes are the many sub-recipes which are helpful to create compositions of your own. Most recipes as a whole are way too complicated and labour- and ingredient intensive for a home cook.

I see this oeuvre as standard piece of work about a modern or maybe neo-classical, but not avant-garde cuisine.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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we will take a brown stock made with hips and knees and knuckles and reduce down to a half glaze then as we are butchering meats we sear the scraps in a pan with butter and reduce the glaze down to proper consistency. This works great from the chain on the filet and the other spare parts extracte from the loin and eye. The flavor is unparalleled by a classic demi. I haven't seen a classic demi in years, if you still butcher your own meats and make your own beef stock it is DEFINITELY the way to go. It seems that alot of places are making a single beef stock and reducing it down with just the original bones which is good but they reduce it to the point of glaze so they, in a sense create a tech of over reducing when the same flavor can be achieved with the addition of seared scraps while yielding a greater amount of more flavor full stock.a double stock if you will.

Thomas keller no offense is a little queer with some of his techniques, i personally think alot of his food is over-refined a step forward in looks but a step backwards in flavor.

skimming removes nothing but flavor and nutrients. technically speaking of course. i mean your gonna mount with buttter to finish the sauce anyway right? why not leave some of the original animal fat in the sauce and emulisify it to order with an immersion blender. with skill and practice this also produces a groovy froth.

The complexity of flavor is a token of durable appreciation. Each Time you taste it, each time it's a different story, but each time it's not so different." Paul Verlaine

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skimming removes nothing but flavor and nutrients. technically speaking of course. i mean your gonna mount with buttter to finish the sauce anyway right? why not leave some of the original animal fat in the sauce and emulisify it to order with an immersion blender. with skill and practice this also produces a groovy froth.

I do this when roasting a chicken at home. I cook it with some wine, a lemon, garlic and herbs. I strain the liquid at the end of cooking which now includes the roasting juices and fat from the bird, and blitz the whole lot with a stick blender. I some times add a little chopped tarragon right at the end.

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Dicovered typo Number 2:

Under the recipe for Brown Veal Stock:

"1 Quarts Red Wine (2L)"

Now - would this be 2 quarts red wine (which would be @2L), or 1 quart (@1L)???

Edit to add - And he uses salt in his stock! 2 grams of "coarse grey salt" per litre. Never seen that before.

2nd Edit - Sorry, this is too good pass up. His chicken Jus calls for "farm-raised chicken," and I just have to ask - as opposed to what? Wild chickens of the plains? Flippered-chickens from the great lakes?

Edited by MobyP (log)

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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. . . . .

2nd Edit - Sorry, this is too good pass up. His chicken Jus calls for "farm-raised chicken," and I just have to ask - as opposed to what? Wild chickens of the plains? Flippered-chickens from the great lakes?

MobyP, this is likely a translation issue. He probably refers to free-range chicken as opposed to chiken raised in the so-called farms, confined in the least possible space and fed with who knows what..

PedroEspinosa (aka pedro)

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Thanks Boris.

Pedro - Thanks. Yeah, I guessed. I'm entertained by the odd quirks in translation, much of which seems to have been done over-quickly.

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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