A posh picnic for a point to point (part 1)

An old client has hired us to make a posh picnic for their visit to the “Penshurst Point to Point” meeting tomorrow  in Kent. Today we started the laborious task of boning out a selection of birds to create a classic old fashioned French dish called a Galantine.

Guinea Fowl, Deli Truck

The Final Result – Guinea Fowl out of the oven and glazed with a mixture of highly reduced meat jus and apricot preserve.

Photo2: We boned out a Guinea Fowl and two small poussin and after discarding the carcasse we reformed the birds into their original shape with the help of a forcemeat stuffing made up of lean pork meat, chicken breast, mushroom and duck breast strips. The forcemeat is traditionally herbed with tarragon and chicken stock and Brandy.

Forcemeat, Guinea Fowl, Deli Truck,

PHOTO 2. The boned out bird looks a bit odd without any of it’s bones, but it means it can be stuffed with wonderful forcemeat.

The start quality of this dish is that at the table the bird looks normal but it can be carved without concern for bones. This dish isn’t produced much these days because of the boning out process which takes time and skill. When the bird is finally boned out the skin cannot have any puncture marks in it, or it will leak forcemeat and look terrible. So the art is in the boning and for a bird as small as a poussin – this amounts to very careful micro surgery.

Guinea Fowl, Deli Truck

This is a close up of the cross section of strips of Duck Breast and very fine forcemeat that forms the centre of this bird. This runs right through the centre of the bird from front to back.

Even though this dish does get a mention around  the time of the French revolution in the 1790’s – this dish was at its apogee during the 1890’s to the 1930’s, when it was seen on the plates of European plutocrats and aristocracy.   In those days the forcemeat was usually a very finely minced lean veal, which was whipped over a bowl of ice to bind the proteins, with as much cream added as the minced veal could absorb when super cold – which was a lot.  It was then herbed usually with tarragon and the forcemeat typically would have been formed around a block of Foie Gras before it was inserted into the bird. This is just way way to rich for todays modern palettes. Our lighter forcemeat is held together by the addition of a very reduced stock made up of all the discarded carcasses. This produces a very rich jelly which helps binds the meats together. I also use this rich savoury jelly, mixed with apricot preserve to glaze the top of the birds.

deli Truck

Guinea Fowl ready to be stitched up for baking

Guinea Fowl, Stuffing, Deli Truck,

Guinea Fowl stuffed and trussed sitting on a bed of onion ready for the oven

The guinea fowl beside its much smaller Poussin. All glazed being chilled for tomorrows picnic at Penhurst.

The guinea fowl beside its much smaller Poussin. All glazed being chilled for tomorrows picnic at Penhurst.


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