Encornet farci de boudin Wednesday, May 15 2013 

Squid Stuffed with Boudin.

Get your squid stuffed here.

Get your squid stuffed here.

In a concerted effort to minimize the appalling waste generally (and unabashedly) generated by restaurants while expanding a culinary repertoire and practicing practical classical techniques, fish trimmings have been saved and with the addition of orphaned egg whites and lobster roe, cream, a few shrimp,  vegetables, starch (corn starch,  eventually bread crumb and possibly tapioca as a binder), busted up lobster knuckles and some effort produced a pleasantly plump, savory, harlequin (multicolored) boudin.  Essentially an emulsified silken seafaring sausage generated from scraps.  Resourceful, technical, efficient -and with a cost of $0.70 per 3oz link-  quite economical when supplemented by thrifty shellfish.

The Great Boudini.

The Great Boudini.

Many prototypes  were tested with the type and percentage of binder varying, offering different texture and firmness results though the other amounts of ingredients (fish, shrimp, egg white, cream, cooked vegetable garnish) remained consistent.  While corn starch made for a firm sausage (something our male readership might be able to relate to and what the female readers might yearn for in the morning after dreaming about this blog) bread crumbs seems like a more efficient and wholesome use of leftover bread baked in the restaurant.  Tapioca starch might relieve me of any guilt passed on to consumers by government subsidies to the corn industry which artificially devalues our nation’s food quality.

Visual approximation of squid size and purchase location.

Visual approximation of squid size and purchase location.

Rather than stuffing the boudin mixture into casing, I picked up some large squid (not pig rectum imitation calamari)  from the venerable Bestworld over in Mt. Pleasant  along with California asparagus and bulb onions; the hallmarks of spring.  Boudin was stuffed into the squid, roasted stove top in a cast iron dutch oven and basted with roasted lime.  Upon resting, the tubes were sliced and garnished with some manicured asparagus and spring onions glazed in olive oil.  The tubes were tender and the delicious boudin rendered pastel red from the cooked lobster roe.  Carrots, fennel, lemon zest, leek red pepper and dill provided additional texture, flavor and colorful contrast.  A later version found the boudin cut into thick coins, browned in olive oil and composed with the vegetal ingredients in larger forms as well as a particularly creamy Carolina Gold & spring onion soubise; the sublime, old timey French purée of butter, onions, rice, sour cream (blanched onion tops for a soothing vermillion color) which so nicely compliments the feathery light boudin.  Past and future versions include and are not limited to internal garnishes of tuna, cured salmon, striped bass belly, capers, green M&M’s, mermaid nipples and manatee peduncle.

Édition Spéciale Marché Gris: Viandes et Provisions Vaut la Peine. Monday, Jul 18 2011 

Special Grey Market Vendor Edition:

Worthwhile Meats & Provisions

Worth mine and your while.

Under the storefront nom de plume of Worthwhile Meats & Provisions, wares within this repertoire were placed for sale at the 3rd DC Grey Market in an effort to showcase the confident breadth of basement kitchen derring-do as well as gauge public demand and tastes.  Products were smoked wild king and sockeye salmon (18 ounces of each), boudin  blanc d’Avranches (24 links), leafy greens sausage (36 links), pâté en croûte (48 ounce pâté) and cauliflower agnolotti (150 pieces).  Epicurean bric-a-brac was not for sale, though complimentary tomatoes and pickles were well received along with the products.

You should see my lemonade stand.

All were sold within 3 hours with the help of a lovely assistant’s handsome signage and personable hawking talent; an indispensable asset to any would be vendor. Sales covered all shopping costs and fees, leaving just less than $40 to compensate 2 weeks worth of late night work.  Portion sizes were respectable (3, 4, 10 and 15 ounces for salmon, pâté, boudin and sausage) and modestly priced at $3, $4, $7, $7 respectively as well as $1 an ounce for the agnolotti which helped to ensure that the items would not be prohibitively expensive.

The better kind of “sell out”.

The Grey Market provided an excellent opportunity and barometer of sorts for budding entrepreneurs to test the viability of they hobbies, passions, visions, etc…despite the somewhat remote location, awkward  placement of vendor tents and little to no advertising (contrary to the 1st and 2nd markets) –the last 2 liabilities resting squarely on the frumpy, strung-out shoulders of the untrustworthy promoter whose aggrandizing self titled culinary rank (the hallmark of kitchen insecurity) was hopelessly dubious and confirmed by the tasteless choice of chili pepper motif shorts.  Exhaustive intertron research has failed to produce any real meat & potatoes credentials relating to the alleged 2 decades of success, much less any evidence of culinary bona fides.

WorthWhile Meats & Provisions can be reached at worthwhilemeats@gmail.com

ETA:  The Washington Post food editor deemed my wares and ambitions worthy of front page ink.  Still, there remain skeptics whose pretzel logic concerning food safety illuminates the hopeless depths of their ignorance with respect to food safety and the effects of inspections/regulations.  For those, consider the FDA recall list from FDA-regulated products.  Then consider how many home kitchens are inspected and whether such cynics have ever been sickened from eating a meal prepared from an unlicensed kitchen in the form of breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch, dinner party, birthday party, Thanksgiving, Christmas, bbq, picnic, etc…and whether or not they were concerned about food borne illnesses.  The paranoid fantasy is hyperbolic and unfounded.  It suggests that a price tag is enough to contaminate.

While my personal home kitchen is not officially licensed, it is sanitary, empty for 12-16 hours a day and does not have more than 2 hands or feet in it at any time.  15 years culinary experience, a formality food handler’s license, common sense and the desire to replicate a savory, worthwhile product trumps the hallow assurance that industrial facilities or restaurants are guaranteed to prevent illness by virtue of  occasional health inspections, biannual at best for latter that do not immediately require changes for 100% compliance with food safety codes.


Red Chief Boudin Blanc. Monday, Jan 25 2010 

Boudin Blanc aux Lentilles Rouges

The third in a series (beta, 2.o)of emulsifexperiments.

From India with pork: The other Lenten meat.

Some New Year’s day tubesteak.  An original pork boudin blanc prototype with the  obligatory 5% starch filler comprised of red chief lentils cooked in pork fat & butter sweated onions, rosemary, dried chili and water rather than a bread and milk/cream panade.  Pork was ground not twice, but thrice (pushed through the grinder with the help of pages from Rhulman’s otherwise worthless charcuterie book) and puréed in the robot with the lentil panade and 20% iced water.  Piped into hog casings and simmered in seasoned water for 40 minutes or so.  Once chilled the things were removed from the casings and browned in pork fat and olive oil.  Served with green lentils cooked in water with smoked pork jowl and aromatics, carrots and diminutive onions.

Too many Snookies in the hot tub.

Potomac Shore Sausage Party: The stubby little things were a knock-out, though a bit on the heavy side, likely due to the paste-like properties of the lentil panade, but well tasting nonetheless.  Future trials might require augmenting the water and fat content slightly.  Texture was smooth, meat was properly seasoned and the boudin were moist.

Boudin Blanc d’Avranches, 2.0 Monday, Oct 12 2009 

Boudin Blanc dAvranches 2.0
Boudin Blanc d’Avranches 2.0

Upon discussing the textural concerns of the original Boudin endeavor with a technically savvy disciple of the esteemed Antoine Westermann, the decision was made to freeze the twice ground boudin forcemeat and then blitz it in the food processor, making a garage equivalent of the $4500 Pacojet. Of course?! The blades would reduce the frozen meat to dust and the resulting boudin would be smoother than me at a club on roller skates. It is unlikely that the folks at Cuisineart had anticipated their machine be used to grind frozen ground meat into (hopefully) dust. Rightfully so. The clumps of frozen meat spun around dizzyingly, and did little more than chill the forcemeat while dulling the blade. Bummer.

The forcemeat was stuffed into casings and poached as per usual, then chilled. The boudin were removed from their casing and browned in duck fat. Turnips were turned and glazed separately in olive oil with a whisper of Ättika (21% alcohol Swedish vinegar) as were beveled carrots. Shiitake mushroom caps were sautéed in the same fat as the boudin with rosemary and once tender the boudin, carrots and turnips were added as well as enough chicken consommé to glaze all of that junks.

Boudin bonuses: The dish was enjoyed with the sister whilst throwing down tiles on the Scrabbs board and “Eastbound & Down” for ambient ambiance. Sister’s light Scrabble score was challenged by the lightness of the boudin which trembled under the distressed breaths of her awful tile choosery. There are plenty of acceptable words in the English vernacular to describe the serene sponge-like texture of the boudin, but she was not able to spell any with her left-handed letter draw. “The distinctive shiitake earthiness and assertive rosemary was a sober Ying to the otherwise delicate Yang of the other shit”, to clairvoyantly paraphrase Kenny Powers. It was indeed “tight” (to use current urban kitchen parlance) and the sweet root vegetables provided a pleasant seasonal textural contrast and the Swedish vinegar successfully subdued the otherwise rich nature of the dish.


Realité cheque:
In hindsight, the grating attachment would have been more effective in shaving the frozen meat, a coarser, more Neolithic version of what the Pacojet would offer.

Boudin Blanc d’Avranches Thursday, Sep 17 2009 

Boudin Blanc d’Avranches

White Boudin from Avranches

Boudin Blanc, Beta version. An emulsified chicken sausage with fatback, onions and a panade, poached and then browned in duck fat. Upon returning from a Labor Day weekend on what a generation ago was an entirely sustainable 275 acre farm in southwestern Virginia, 8lbs of industrial Purdue chicken-ish breasts and thighs were inexplicably acquired. In a desperate though epicurean effort to transform the offending burlap anthropomorphism of poultry into comestible silk, a resourceful boudin blanc recipe was developed based on traditional regional French varieties befitting of the cupboard and previous intrepid experimentations : Boudin blanc d’Avranches, from the northwestern Manche department in lower Normandie.

Measurements were made based on the weight of the suspiciously yellow lab-raised protein do determine proportions of fatback, onion and bread/cream panade (French boudin designation can not exceed 5% starch content). The onions were sweated in foie gras fat with chili pepper, salt and lavender until soft, then cooked uncovered to evaporate any remaining water. The dried bread was soaked in cream and the chilled fatback was diced. All was ground though the small die and then puréed with the help of water and cream*, seasoned, paddled and pressed into hog casings. The boudins were poached in seasoned water (salt, chili, bay leaf, lavender, garlic) for 40 minutes, which in hindsight may have been twice too long. They were left to cool in the liquid.

To serve, the boudins were removed from their casings and browned in duck fat with garlic and lavender. While not entirely unpleasant, the chicken flavor was muted, perhaps due to the inferior product used or the traditional fillers.

Initial shortcomings and screw ups: The cooked onions should have been moistened with a splash of sherry vinegar and some chicken glace to give a more pronounced poultry flavor.

*As for the texture, the forcemeat should have been ground twice through the fine die and then puréed without cream and more liquid (from the onions and panade) or whole milk to give a smoother final product as with the cervelas. The boudin’s texture was ever so slightly shamefully gritty, which may also have been a result of the cream breaking in the food processor. Eureka? In haste to find an authentic, vintage recipe, the properties to cream and modern technology were overlooked. Cream turns to butter in a food processor. The original recipe, which predated Pierre Verdun’s 1963 food processing gizmo –now generically dubbed the “Robot Coupe”, yet pronounced “Row-beau Coop”- called for pounding the forcemeat through a pedestrian sieve, just as generations dating back to Taillevent had done.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 41 other followers