Saturday, January 3, 2015

Poulet Roulade à la Walnut Madrigal Cheese Farci with Tarragon Persimmon Brandy Crème

     A Tasty Café Style Chicken Entrée!
     Today's recipe is a good example of a French café special du jour that is well suited for a chilly day.  Chicken that is stuffed with walnuts and fine cheese is comfortably rich, yet light enough to be part of a multi course dining event.  The winter fruit persimmon sauce tops off this theme.   
     Home kitchen cooks can find persimmon fruit paste, preserved persimmons and frozen persimmon products year round at good grocery stores.  Many of these products can be substituted for fresh persimmons when making a sauce.      
    I used fresh North American Persimmons to make today's sauce.  By mid winter, nearly all persimmons are ripe.  In the fall season, persimmons are usually as hard as a rock.  Persimmons take forever to ripen at room temperature.  Persimmons will ripen much quicker if they are refrigerated.  

     Brandied Persimmon Puree:  
     This recipe makes enough puree for 3 or 4 servings!  Any extra brandied persimmon puree can be saved for other recipes. 
     Persimmons ripen faster when placed in a refrigerator.  Persimmons are ripe when they become soft and the fruit skin splits in a few places.
     When persimmons are not in season, frozen persimmon fruit or persimmon paste can be used to make the puree.  
     Step 1:  Remove the small white core that is underneath the stem on 2 persimmons.  (If there is a core!  Some persimmon varietals barely have a tough core.  )
     Cut the persimmons into small pieces.
     Place the persimmon pieces in a small sauce pot.
     Add enough water to cover the persimmons with 2" of extra liquid.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 3 tablespoons of granulated sugar.
     Add 1 small pinch of allspice.
     Add 1 pinch of sea salt.
     Add 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 1 pinch of ground ginger.
     Place the pot over medium heat.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Gently simmer the persimmon fruit, till it becomes very soft.  (This may take more than one hour!  Add water if necessary.)
     Step 3:  Allow the persimmons and liquid to cool to room temperature.
     Puree the ingredients with a food processor, blender or blending wand.
     Step 4:  Press the thin persimmon puree through a fine mesh strainer into a second small sauce pot.
     Add 1/4 cup of brandy.
     Place the pot over low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the puree, till it becomes a medium thin puree sauce consistency.
     Keep the puree warm on a stove top.

     Chicken Breast Preparation: 
     Select a 6 to 8 ounce boneless chicken breast filet.  
     Remove the skin and fat.
     Butterfly cut the filet, so it is an even thickness.
     Place the chicken breast on a countertop, so it is sandwiched between 2 sheets of plastic wrap.
     Use a meat mallet to gently pound the chicken breast, till it is about 1/4" to 3/8" thick. 
     Chill the prepared chicken breast till it is needed. 

     Walnut and Madrigal Cheese Stuffing:
     This recipe yields enough stuffing for 1 chicken breast!
     Madrigal is a French cheese that is similar to Swiss Emmentaler (Swiss Cheese).  The flavor is rich with nutty sharp highlights.  Madrigal easily melts.    
     Step 1:  Heat a sauté pan over medium low heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter.
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced shallot.
     Add 1 tablespoon of bunioise diced carrot.  (Brunoise = 1/8" Cube)
     Add 1 tablespoon of brunoise diced celery.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of brunoise diced parsnip.
     Gently sauté till the vegetables become tender.
     Step 2:  Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped roasted walnuts.
     Briefly sauté till the walnuts become aromatic.
     Remove the pan from the heat.
     Step 3:  Transfer the ingredients to a small mixing bowl.
     Add 1/2 cup of diced stale French bread.  (Remove the crust.  Diced = 1/4" Cube.)
     Add 1 tablespoon of fine French bread crumbs.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of ground sage.
     Add 1 small pinch of thyme.
     Add 2 pinches of chopped Italian parsley. 
     Step 4:  Add just enough warm chicken broth to dampen the stuffing.  The stuffing should not be too dry or soggy wet.  About 2 tablespoons of broth is plenty.  
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of whisked egg. 
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Add 2 tablespoons of grated Madrigal cheese.
     Gently toss the ingredients together, so the stuffing is airy and it does not become too dense.
     Chill the stuffing till it is needed. 
     Walnut and Madrigal Cheese Stuffed Chicken Roulade:
     The sauce can be made while the roulade roasts!
     Step 1:  Place the chicken filet flat on a cutting board.
     Spread an even layer of the stuffing on the chicken, so it is about 1/4" to 3/8" thick.
     Roll the chicken and stiffing together as one, to create a long cylinder shape.
     Step 2:  Use butchers twine to truss the roulade, so it retains its shape.
     Place the roulade on a wire screen roasting rack on a roasting pan.
     Brush the roulade with melted unsalted butter.
     Season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Sprinkle a few pinches of Herbs de Provence or thyme over the roulade.
     Step 3:  Place the pan in a 325º oven.
     Slowly roast till golden brown highlights appear and the chicken is fully cooked.  (The center temperature should be 165º for 15 seconds.)
     Let the roulade rest for about 1 or 2 minutes, till it cools to a safe serving temperature.   

     Tarragon Persimmon Brandy Crème Sauce:
     This recipe yields 1 portion of sauce!  This is a simple reduction sauce that can be made in a couple of minutes.  
     Step 1:  Place 1/2 cup of cream in a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1/4 cup of the brandied persimmon puree. 
     Add 1 teaspoon of minced fresh tarragon.
     Refresh the brandy flavor by adding 1 ounce of brandy.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Add sea salt and white pepper.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce, till it become a medium thin cream sauce consistency.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of unsalted butter, while constantly stirring with a whisk.
     Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.  Add water or milk if the sauce becomes too thick.

     Poulet Roulade à la Walnut Madrigal Cheese Farci with Tarragon Persimmon Brandy Crème:
     Ladle enough of the tarragon persimmon brandy crème sauce on a plate to create a thin layer of sauce as a bed for the roulades.
     Remove the butcher's twine from the roulade.
     Bias cut the roulade into 3/4" to 1" thick slices.  (Bias slice = cutting at a 45º angle)
     Arrange the Walnut and Madrigal Cheese Stuffed Chicken Roulades in a circle pattern on the center of the plate over the Tarragon Persimmon Brandy Crème sauce bed.
     Garnish with an Italian parsley sprig.   

     This café style chicken roulade entrée has a classic flavor combination! 

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