Friday, November 11, 2016

Ris de Veau et Aubergine Sauté aux Pennoni Pâtes Allemande

     Sweetbreads and Eggplant Sauté over Pennoni Allemande!
     Gourmet offal entrées have been trendy in recent years.  During the Great Recession of 2007, many fine dining chefs offered modern interpretations of classic offal recipes.  This is because when times are tough, the elite members of the dining public view secondary cuts of meat as being en vogue.     
     The resurgence of offal entrées during the recession helped to revive interest in classic French preparations of offal.  Classic fine dining restaurants nearly always offer a few offal entrées on the menu.  Veal liver and sweetbreads are probably the two most common offal offerings and they are usually prepared with classic presentation styles that appeal to senior members of the dining public or  young members of the dining public that have an educated palate.
     Adding a little pizzaz to an offal entrée helps to increase the appeal, when targeting novice members of the fine dining public.  By introducing an offal item along with a popular food item, it is easier to coax a novice gourmand to give the entrée a try.  Pasta is a great choice for introducing something new.  
     The French style creative pasta trend peaked sometime in the late 1900's, just before the fusion cuisine trend began.  French chefs were making unique stuffed pastas and adapting classic French sauces to pasta recipes, with no regard for Italian pasta tradition.  Basically, French chefs reinvented pasta recipes during those years and "the sky was the limit" as far as creativity was concerned.  
     Today's recipe reflects upon the style of pasta that was served at trendy French restaurants in the late 1900's.  A classically prepared protein often was featured on pasta that was coated with a classic French sauce.  This simple combination was quite profitable back in those days, because the choice of protein determined which sector of the dining public was targeted.  For example, if chicken or prawns topped off the fancy French style pasta, then the entrée appealed to a broad spectrum of the dining public.  When something like sweetbreads topped the fancy pasta, the entrée appealed to a few gourmands and senior members of the dining public.
     Designing menu items that only appeal to the masses will result in alienating niche sectors of the dining public.  By offering a few items that feature offal, a fine dining restaurant will retain customers that seek such options on a long term basis.  Long term steady income is a real asset in the fine dining restaurant business, especially when time are tough.  Then again, when time are tough, offal entrées are en vogue, so items like sweetbreads definitely deserve a spot on the menu!
     There is much more to a classic sauce Allemande than simply adding mushrooms, cream and egg yolk to a chicken velouté.  For today's recipe, either pale veal stock (white stock) or a pale chicken stock can be used to make the velouté sauce.  White stock will still be required for one of the classic allemande sauce recipe reduction steps.      
     Many chefs poach sweetbreads in milk.  That is okay, but it is a waste of milk.  Milk actually dilutes and masks the flavor of sweetbreads.  Gourmands prefer the sweetbread flavor to be accented instead.  Nearly every French chef and German chef that I apprenticed with used a court bouillon for poaching sweetbreads.  A light court bouillon combined with the "cold start" poaching method allows the transfer of flavors to take place.  Sweetbreads do taste much better when they are poached in court bouillon.    
     There are four sweetbread locations on a young calf.  Good butcher shops place all four sweetbreads in one package.  Each sweetbread type tastes the same, but the connective membrane tissue strength can vary, especially if the sweetbreads were overcooked during the poaching process.  Overcooking will result in the sweetbread pieces separating like little nuggets.  Poaching the sweetbreads properly, till they are fully cooked yet tender, will result in sweetbreads that remain whole and intact when they are sliced and sautéed.         

     White Stock: 
     This recipe yields about 1/2 gallon of white stock.  (or optional pale chicken stock)
     Since today's recipe is for veal sweetbreads, white stock is also used to make the velouté.  If only chicken is handy, then a pale chicken stock can be substituted.  To make pale chicken stock, use chicken bones and scraps, instead of  veal bones and scraps.    
     Step 1:  Place 2 pounds of veal bones and trimmings in a large sauce pot.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped celery.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped carrot.
     Add 1/2 cup of chopped onion.
     Add 1/4 cup of chopped leek.
     Add 1/3 cup of chopped parsnip.
     Add enough water to cover the ingredients with 2" of extra liquid.  (About 1 gallon.)
     Step 2:  Add a sachet bouquet garni of:
     - 1 sprig of thyme
     - 6 parsley stalks
     - 8 black peppercorns
     - 1 bay leaf
     - 2 spice cloves 
     Lightly season with sea salt.
     Step 3:  Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Slowly bring the liquid to a gentle simmer.
     Step 4:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer for 2 1/2 hours.
     Skim any grease or impurities off the top.  Add water as necessary.
     Step 5:  Remove the large bones from the pot and discard them.
     Pour the white stock through a fine mesh strainer into a second large sauce pot.
     Discard the solids.
     Skim any impurities off the top of the white stock.
     Step 6:  Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Return the stock to a gentle simmer.
     Simmer and reduce till 1/2 gallon of stock remains.  Skim off any grease or impurities.
     Step 7:  Stream 3 whisked egg whites into the stock.
     *The egg whites will cling to any impurities and this will clarify the white stock.
     Step 8:  Pour the white stock through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
     Discard the solids.
     Step 9:  Cool the white stock to room temperature.
     Chill the white stock to 41ºF in a refrigerator.
     The white stock can be refrigerated for 7 days or it can be portioned and frozen for later use.

     Mushroom Liquor:
     This recipe yields 1 cup. 
     Step 1:  Place 1 cup of minced mushroom trimmings in a sauce pot.
     Add 1 quart of water.
     Place the pot over medium heat.
     Bring the liquid to a gentle boil.
     Step 2:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Gently simmer and reduce till 1 cup of liquid remains and the liquid is thoroughly infused with mushroom flavor.
     Step 3:  Pour the mushroom liquor through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
     Set the mushroom liquor aside or chill it for later use.

     Court Bouillon Poached Sweetbreads:
     This recipe yields 4 to 6 portions, depending on the size of the sweetbreads.
     Poaching all four sweetbread sections at one time best.  The extra poached sweetbreads can be chilled for later use.     
     Sweetbreads must be poached first, then cleaned and trimmed before slicing.  It is best to use the cold start method of infused poaching for sweetbreads.  The cold start method allows flavor exchange to occur.  Poaching at a low temperature will retain the desirable pinkish white sweetbread color.  Overcooked poached sweetbreads have a grayish white color.
     Step 1:  Place the 4 whole sweetbreads from 1 calf in a sauce pot. 
     Add 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped onion.
     Add 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped celery.
     Add 1/4 cup of coarsely chopped carrot.
     Step 2:  Add 6 Italian Parsley stalks.
     Add 1 crushed clove of garlic.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of whole black peppercorns.
     Add 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.
     Add 3 laurel leaves.
     Step 3:  Add 1/4 cup of dry white wine.
     Add 1/2 tablespoon of lemon juice.
     Add enough water to cover the ingredients with 1" of extra liquid.
     Step 4:  Place the pot over medium low heat.
     Gently simmer the sweetbreads till they are fully cooked and firm.  
     *The sweetbreads should be a light pinkish white color when they are fully cooked.
     Step 5:  Remove the pot from the heat.
     Allow the ingredients to cool to room temperature.
     Place the sweetbreads and poaching liquid in a container.
     Chill in a refrigerator to 41ºF till the court bouillon gels.
     Step 6:  Remove the chilled sweetbreads from the court bouillon.
     Discard the court bouillon.  
     Rinse the sweetbreads under cold running water.
     Step 7:  Use your fingers to carefully peel the thin outer membrane off of the sweetbreads.
     Pull or cut any thick rubbery membrane pieces off of the sweetbreads.
     Step 8:  Cut the sweet breads into 3/8" thick slices.
     Refrigerate the sweetbreads to 41ºF till they are needed.
     *Organ meat is easily contaminated by pathogens.  Keep the prepared sweetbreads chilled!   

     White Veal Stock Velouté:  
     This recipe yields a little more than 1 cup of velouté sauce.
     Step 1:  Heat a small sauce pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 1 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Add an equal amount of flour, while stirring with a whisk.  (The roux should be shiny, not caky.)
     Constantly stir till the roux becomes a golden color.
     Step 2:  Add 2 1/2 cups of the white stock.
     Raise the temperature to medium/medium high heat.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.  Whisk the sauce occasionally.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to very low heat.
     Add sea salt and white pepper to taste.
     Add a bouquet garni of:
     - Leek
     - Celery
     - 1/2 of a small bay leaf
     - 1 small prig of thyme
     - 1 parsley stalk
     Step 4:  Gently simmer and reduce till the sauce is a thin consistency that can glaze a spoon.      
     *The volume should be a little more than 1 cup of velouté sauce after reducing.
     Step 5:  Pour the sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
     Add 1 teaspoon of unsalted butter, while whisking.  (Monte au beurre!  This will prevent a "skin" from forming on the velouté.)
     Set the velouté aside or chill it for later use.   

     Pennoni Pasta Preparation:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.  
     The cooling method in this recipe is the best way to cool pasta!
     Step 1:  Cook 1 portion of Pennoni Pasta in boiling water over high heat till it is al dente.
     Step 2:  Place the pot under cold running water.
     Drain the excess water off of the pasta as it cools.
     Step 3:  After the pasta cools, use a colander drain off the water.
     Set the pasta aside.
     *Keep a pot of water boiling on a backburner, so the pasta can be reheated later in the recipe.   

     Allemande Sauce:
     This recipe yields 1 generous portion for pasta.  (About 1 1/3 cups)
     Allemande sauce should be made shortly before it is needed.  This sauce is difficult to reheat without breaking the sauce, because it is tightened with egg yolk.
     Step 1:  Place 1 cup of white veal velouté sauce (or chicken velouté sauce) in sauce pot.
     Add 1/2 cup of white veal stock.
     Add 1 ounce of the mushroom liquor.
     Add 1/2 cup of cream.
     Step 2:  Place the pot over medium/medium low heat.
     Bring the sauce to a gentle boil.
     Step 3:  Reduce the temperature to low heat.
     Simmer and reduce the sauce till it is a thin consistency that can coat a spoon.
     Step 4:  Add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice while stirring.
     Mix 1 large egg yolk with 1 ounce of cream in a small mixing bowl.
     Add the egg yolk cream liaison, while constantly stirring with a whisk.
     Step 5:  Remove the sauce from the heat as soon as the egg yolk starts to tighten the sauce.
     Add 2 teaspoons of unsalted butter while stirring.
     Add 2 pinches of minced Italian Parsley.
     Place the allemande sauce in a ceramic cup.
     Keep the cup warm on a stop top or in a 135º bain marie.

     Ris de Veau Sauté:
     This recipe yields 1 portion.
     Step 1:  Place 1 1/4 cups of flour in a mixing bowl.
     Lightly season the flour with sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 pinch of crushed dried thyme leaves.
     Mix the ingredients together.
     Step 2:  Dredge 4 1/2 ounces of the prepared sweetbread slices in the seasoned flour. 
     Step 3:  Heat a sauté pan over medium/medium low heat.
     Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of unsalted butter.
     Allow the butter to turns a golden color.
     Place the coated sweetbread slices side by side in the pan.
     Sauté the sweetbreads on both sides, till they are a golden brown color.
     Step 4:  Remove the sweetbreads from the pan and set them them on a wire screen roasting rack over a drip pan.  
     Keep the sweetbreads warm on a stove top.
     *Use the same pan for the eggplant sauté!

     Petite Aubergine Sauté:
     This recipe yields 1 garnish portion.   
     Step 1:  Place the sauté pan that was used to cook the sweetbreads over medium heat.
     Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the butter that remains in the pan.
     Add 1/2 cup of Parmentier cut eggplant.  (Parmentier is the French precision cut name for 1/2" dice.)
     Sauté till the eggplant starts to become tender.
     Step 2:  Lightly season with sea salt and black pepper.
     Add 1 small pinch of thyme.
     Continue sautéing the eggplant till it tender and golden brown.  
     Use a perforated spoon to place the sautéed eggplant in a container.
     Keep the sautéed eggplant warm on a stove top.

     Ris de Veau et Aubergine Sauté aux Pennoni Pâtes Allemande:
     This recipe yields 1 pasta entrée.
     Step 1:  Place 1 portion of prepared Pennoni Pasta in a pasta net and reheat it in a pot of boiling water.
     Drain the water off of the pasta.
     Step 2:  Place the pasta in a mixing bowl.
     Add enough of the warm Allemande Sauce to generously coat the pasta.  (About 1 1/4 cups)
     Toss the sauce and pasta together.
     Step 3:  Mound the pasta on the center of a plate.
     Pour any excess sauce over the pasta and onto the plate.    
     Step 4:  Sprinkle the sautéed petite eggplant pieces over the pasta.
     Arrange the sautéed veal sweetbread slices on top of the pasta, so it looks nice.
     Sprinkle 1 pinch of minced Italian Parsley over the pasta entrée.
     Garnish with a sprig of Italian Parsley.  

     Viola!  An elegant pasta entrée that is perfect for a chilly evening! 

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