Perfecting a galantine
February 3, 2014 11:30 AM   Subscribe

I was inspired by growabrain's Jacques Pépin a few days back, and spent a couple days making a turkey galantine for a party. The results were perfectly fine, but for the amount of time and effort I put in I was hoping for something closer to amazing.

And I think this could be amazing ... a "turkey roll" is so much easier to transport, carve, and plate than a full bird. Leftovers are even better: I can pull out the roll, cut off a slice, and I'm ready to go. I like that the messy part is done ahead of time. I want to get this recipe down (and turkey is currently $1 a pound, so the time to experiment is now!).

Here are the steps I took, and my early thoughts on what I need to do to perfect this:

1. De-boned a turkey. Not quite as easy as Jacques made it look, and my kitchen looked like a deleted scene from American Horror Story. Overall, though, this is something I thing I can get down.

2. Made stock in pressure cooker with bones and carcass.

3. Stuffed and rolled the bird. Stuffing was cooked turkey innards, ground pork, mushrooms, pistachios, and an egg.

4. Cooked bird-roll in the stock, along with one pig's foot. Brought to a boil, then simmered until inside was 160 degrees, which took a couple hours.

5. Seasoned and clarified the stock, then tried to encase the roll in aspic the next day. And continued trying into the evening. And again the next morning. This was a messy failure.

The results: A nice but unexciting dish. There are three elements I need help with:

- The stuffing. It was wonderful warm, but a little dry and under-seasoned when served at room temperature. I think all I need to do is up the fat content and the seasoning here.

- The flesh. It was evenly cooked, and had a nice firm texture and an attractive color. However, it was also a bit on the dry side. I want it to be moist and tender. Does simmering it in the stock dry it out? And would adding more fat to the stuffing baste it from the inside and keep it moist? Or, perhaps, this style only works with dark-meat heritage breeds, and not the factory-farmed supermarket birds.

- The aspic. Quel désastre. And I thought this would be the easy part. I have the flavor and texture down, if not the color. I cut some up into blocks to use as garnish, and they were like little jello-bombs of rich stock.

However ... every recipe talks about brushing the bird with the stock, letting it set, adding another layer, and so on. They make it sound so simple, and in my mind I can picture a beautiful result. This did not work out at all for me. I would spoon stock over the bird every fifteen to thirty minute, and let each layer set in the fridge. Often, when I did get a nice layer, it would completely fall of the roll.

I have found no useful advice on how to coat something in aspic. Is there anyway to do it, short of buying a jello-mold and hoping the bird fits?

Any and all advice is appreciated ... I really do feel that this has the potential to be a signature dish.
posted by kanewai to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
That forcemeat does sound lean - I def think fat is your problem. I also think a little liver might be nice. I'd look for a good country pate recipe and use that as the stuffing

Supermarket turkeys are tasteless - I would def splurge for at least a free range bird. Personally I don't think heritage birds make a difference. Also did you allow it to cool in the stock? That can help with moisture. Also it should really poach at a low simmer. Its totally possible to get a dried out boiled bird.

How stiff was your aspic? It needs to be really stiff. Like the dried cubes should almost bounce. Although what I would do is hold some of the stock aside for the decorations (Assuming they were as firm as your little jello bombs) and then juice up your remaining stock with gelatin.

Or you could actually really make it bomb proof by using Agar to jell - although I find the mouthfeel is not as good at gelatin.
posted by JPD at 11:41 AM on February 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

How big was your turkey? For a bird that is fairly dry to begin with, and has a lower meat to skin/fat ratio than a chicken, simmering to 160F is going to be not so great. I would: brine or dry-brine your deboned bird to correct the underseasoning and the juiciness problem, and either poach the roll to barely done or braise it slowly and gently.
posted by peachfuzz at 11:44 AM on February 3, 2014

Well, there's Serious Eats' turchetta, which is similar (even the sous vide, deep-fried version). At the very least, it'll be one way to go with stuffing and roasting.
posted by supercres at 11:44 AM on February 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Agree with JPD about more fat in the forecmeat and letting it cool in the stock, and make sure the stock is seasoned, too. When we made galantine in culinary school we left it in the stock for days before eating it.

For aspic, instead of using a brush, let the gelatinized stock cool just a bit until it's the consistency of motor oil. Put the bird-roll on a rack on a sheet pan, then in one slow smooth motion, pour the aspic from one end of the roll to the end. The excess will drip off onto the sheet pan and you can just scrape it back into the pot and reheat it for a second pass (after the first has set). Aspic is pretty flexible at reheating or cooling as necessary.
posted by hungrybruno at 11:46 AM on February 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

What hungrybruno said.

I really really really would not advise using agar to 'bomb proof' your aspic. Gelatine has such a pleasant mouthfeel because it melts at body temperature. Agar melts at a higher temperature, and you'll have a chewy aspic.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:47 PM on February 3, 2014

oh - to be clear - I don't rec the agar thing - just if you absolutely positively need it to turn out - it'll work. I actually hate the shattering agar thing.
posted by JPD at 12:52 PM on February 3, 2014

My mother in law (actually French) does this for holidays sometimes. The differences between her version and yours appear to be the following:

One, she uses very good chicken. Real chicken with lots of flavor bought from a farmer or a local butcher, not cheap grocery store crap. This makes a huge difference, and I imagine that cheap crap turkey is even worse than cheap crap chicken. I think she plucks the chicken herself, but that's a different story.

Two, She makes a stuffing out of veal meat (the pink kind, which I think is hard to find in the US?) and some pork, I think with a lot of fat, although I haven't actually seen it being made. There is also a big hunk of foie gras in the middle. So lots of flavor and lots of fat.

Three, the broth is made over the course of a day or two. I can't say that this is totally different than your version, but maybe?

Finally, there is no aspic. I'm even confused as to why there would be aspic. She does leave the skin on the chicken, though, maybe your recipe is trying to replace the skin with aspic? Try not doing that.

Anyway, it served with a simple gravy and a side of little potatoes and mushrooms browned slowly over low heat in either duck or goose fat, whatever's handy.

In sum, if you want to imitate my Gascogne mother in law: go all the way with a really good chicken, veal sausage stuffing with a big hunk of foie gras, and ditch the aspic. Good luck!
posted by ohio at 12:55 PM on February 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh yeah, Hungrybruno has a point. Those suckers usually stay in the broth for a long time at a barely simmer. I have to admit to not totally paying attention to how long, but I think I remember seeing them in the stock pot for at least a lot of the day before Christmas.

And since I seem to be dispensing old timey French country cooking tips, I'll add this gem from my dear father in law: most things, but especially soups, taste better with a spoonful of rancid lard added in. Perhaps not relevant to the galantine, but my mother in law did not deny it when he boasted that she added a spoonful of rancid lard to the garbure and cassoulet.
posted by ohio at 1:03 PM on February 3, 2014

Formidable! I'm going to keep experimenting with the store-bought birds; once I have this down I'll move on to imitating Ohio's Gascogne mother-in-law and start using the better ingredients.

Combining the advice, and after reading through the Food Lab site, I've got:

- Let the bird set in a dry brine for 8 hours to two days before
- Use more fat in the forcemeat
- Cook at a lower simmer, and turn the heat off when inside reaches 150
- Let the bird cool in the stock (this is new to me!)

I can't wait for the weekend so that I can try again.

I like my stock a lot. I wanted the aspic coating just for appearances sake, since I was serving the bird cold. The little coating I did manage kept the outside more moist.

As for the rancid lard ... yikes! Though my dad did used to keep a tin of bacon grease by the stove, ready to add to anything that was boiled.
posted by kanewai at 1:18 PM on February 3, 2014

« Older Twitter event recap template   |   Kid-Friendly Breakfast Spots & Activities in... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.