Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Whisk Wednesdays—Pintadeaux au Chou (Guinea Hen with Cabbage)

Pintadeaux au Chou (Guinea Hen with Cabbage)For the next few classes, we're learning about different types of poultry. Cornish hen is on the menu this week (since I couldn't find guinea hen at the butcher). According to Wise Geek, the term "Guinea hen was used to refer to these small poultry servings but Cornish game hen has become more popular."

The Cornish hen is a plump all-white meat bird. Its original breeder was Alphonsine "Therese" Makowsky. Here is a video explaining the history of the Cornish hen.
"The Makowskys began cross-breeding the Cornish game cocks with various chickens and game birds, including a White Plymouth Rock hen and a Malayn fighting cock, to develop the Rock Cornish game hen — a succulent bird with all-white meat, large enough for a single serving." Link
There is another theory that chicken mogul Donald John Tyson created the Rock Cornish game hen by cross-breeding White Rock hens and Cornish hens in 1965.

Whoever created the Cornish hen made diners happy with this "charmingly upscale main course."

Cabbage and Other Vegetables
Again, this recipe calls for many pots. In Saucepan #1, the cabbage is blanched. Mon petit chou. I love boiled cabbage that's then drizzled with butter. Its subtle flavor is very comforting. In this dish, it's blanched and served along with the carrots and onions and plays its supporting role very well.

In Large Casserole #2, the onions are cooked until tender, and then the carrots are added. The cabbage joins the milieu along with a Bouquet Garni and 2½ cups of water and this mixture simmers for about 1 hour.

I rinsed and dried the Cornish hens with paper towels and then threw a garlic clove, a thyme sprig, and a bay leaf in each cavity and seasoned them with salt and pepper. After trussing, they were ready for Roasting Pan #3 and a 425˚F oven for about 30 minutes.

While the hens were roasting, I prepared the bacon. Although the recipe called for lardons, I used bacon strips. Using Twitter, I asked how people like to cook their bacon and got these answers:
Bake it.
Baking sheet in 400F oven. Nice and crisp and stays straight!
I do bacon on the broiler tray in the toaster oven - 12-15 min at 375
I like it broiled in the oven. Grease drips off, and makes it "slightly" healthier and usually comes out pretty crispy.
I always do it on a large sheet pan in the oven at 375 degrees F. Cooks a lot at once and turns out nice and crispy.
my vote is for in the oven on a cooling rack-lined sheet pan (i like crispy, tho, LOL)
you can also bake bacon too or make it in a non-stick pan without any oil once it's done just place it in a paper towel
sandwiched between a cast iron skillet and press
here's something I want to try!
I hate all of the grease, so I tend to wrap it in paper towels and microwave it. Not nice & crispy though if you need that.
george foreman grill
Since my oven was taken up with the roasting hens, I used the stove to cook the bacon this time. For this recipe, I cut the slices into 1-inch strips, blanched them in Saucepan #4 (but probably could have reused Saucepan #1 to save on one dish) in boiling water for 1 minute to take away the extra saltiness and drained them in cold water. Then, in Frying Pan #5 I fried them in some butter and oil until they were golden and almost crispy. [I'm not sure I really needed to use the butter and oil since bacon has enough fat on its own.]

Polish Sausage
Polish sausage from Butcher Boy Meats in Regina, Saskatchewan with some dill cream cheese and table water crackers was a staple when I was in university. I haven't been able to find Polish sausage that tastes as good as theirs yet. This sausage was tucked into Sauté Pan #2 along with the vegetables, bacon and hens, and cooked along with everything else for awhile. Once everything had finished cooking (about 20 minutes later), I sliced up the Polish sausage and dinner was ready.


Serves 6

Pintadeaux au Chou (Guinea Hen with Cabbage) mise en place
1 medium head green cabbage
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, sliced
¼ pound carrots, sliced
Bouquet Garni
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ pound slab bacon, sliced ¼ inch thick
2 guinea hens, 2 pounds each (I used Cornish hens)
2 cloves garlic
2 sprigs fresh thyme or ¼ teaspoon dried
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons softened butter
¾ pound Polish sausage

You can find the recipe for Pintadeaux au Chou (Guinea Hen with Cabbage) in the book Le Cordon Bleu at Home or a similar recipe here. To see how the rest of the Whisk Wednesdays group fared with their recipe, click here (or check out the sidebar) and then click on each blogger!

Cornish henTasting Notes
The mixed meat medley was nice. I liked the Polish sausage and bacon coupled with the Cornish Hens, which added extra flavor to this delicate meat. The Cornish Hens were tender and delicious. Because the hens are braised in the pot with all the vegetables with the lid on for the last bit, the skin got soft. Next time I would finish the hens in the oven instead and merge the two dishes at the table. Again, too many dishes to be practical, but tasty all the same.

Next Week (March 4)
• Fricassée de Poulet à l'ail et à la Sauge (Chicken Fricassee with Garlic and Sage) pages 324-325

My Favorite Dish
This week, Michelle from Big Black Dog, who is part of the Whisk Wednesdays group, suggested showing off our favorite dish. Since I started food blogging, food props have become a passion and more fun to shop for than clothes or shoes. Here is my favorite dish which was given to me by my mom. The snowflake dish represents some of my first photos, which were taken on the snowbanks on my back deck last Spring.

Snowflake PlateGifts
Michelle from Big Black Dog, who has an amazing list of chef's tips ready to share, set up a little swap among the participants in Whisk Wednesdays. Here is what I received from Jessica from Have We Met? who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. I have been eyeing this slate cheese plate at our local bookstore for quite some time and she must have read my mind. The heavy cheese knives are lovely too with their crackled look. Thank you, Jessica!

Cheese Tray and Knives. . . . . . . . . .

Running total: $1,110.03 + $11.01 (hens) + $8.95 (other ingredients) = $1,129.99
($3.33 per serving)

Butter used so far: 9 pounds, 22 tablespoons

. . . . . . . . . .
::Whisk Wednesdays::
We're cooking our way through a cooking school curriculum using the Le Cordon Bleu at Home cookbook. The "classes" are based on the Le Cordon Bleu curriculum found online and used as a guideline. Not all the items in the curriculum are in the cookbook, but most are. Where the items are not in the book, we try to find a suitable substitution. Find out more here.
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    Elle said...

    What a wonderful post! The Hen with Cabbage looks beautiful and delicious. I'm also in love with your snowflake plate and cheese plate--they're beautiful!

    Anonymous said...

    Wow, I just discovered your blog, looks amazing!
    Wonderful idea, and the execution is great.
    The bird looks delectable!

    Michelle said...

    I'm glad you also like this recipe. I'm not sure I'd make it again but it sure was good!

    The cheese plate is actually a piece of slate? Wow, it must be nice and heavy! I have a marble cheese plate but I'd much rather have the slate! Love the cheese knives rustic looking!

    I have snowflake plates too, but mine are red with white veins. I forgot about them until I saw yours!

    vibi said...

    Beautiful pintadeaux and surely delicious, yes... but! How lucky are you, woman! Such nice gifts you got! WOW!

    Michelle said...

    Are the handles on the cheese knives wooden? I just love them!

    I don't have any cheese knives and now I'm thinking I might need some...LOL!!

    Anonymous said...

    What a nice post Shari! That food looks delicious and thats a neat idea incorporating the twitter feed!

    Melissa said...

    Great dinner! I love your plate and gift! Those will be really snazzy to plate with!

    Thistlemoon said...

    WOW. This looks amazingly good. I love all the photos and the way this is prepared is just delicious!

    Jessica said...

    I'm so happy you liked the gifts; I figured you had just about everything and really enjoyed shopping for you.

    Great job with this assignment!

    Maria said...

    Love your dish!! SO beautiful!! I love your whisk wed. posts!

    pam said...

    When I saw the first picture I thought it was two chickens and that you had a really big cast iron skillet!

    Irene said...

    And I always thought they were called "Cornish" hens because they came from Cornwall... In the immortal words of SNL, I'm feeling sheeeeepish...

    They look totally delish!

    Anonymous said...

    I love the extra information on the game hens. And, I had already taken the license to cook those little birds separately. I adore that snowflake plate. What a beautiful picture. I LOVE the cheese knives.

    Anonymous said...

    yum! i love cornish hen but my husband doesn't so i never cook it! i 'll have to make it just for myself sometime :)

    Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

    These guines hens looks fantastic! A delicious combo! Delectable...



    Anonymous said...

    The Guinea dish looks amazing. You did a great job, I can smell them from here.

    Lori said...

    Beautiful food! It looks so good. I could so see this on my table for a Sunday dinner!

    Unknown said...

    that is one amazing dish... thanks for sharing... :)

    Anonymous said...

    Oh yum! This looks fabulous! I can't WAIT to do this tonight! Hmmm...mustn't play in the garden too long if I intend to cook for a couple of hours. Love your plate too!

    Anonymous said...

    Hen with cabbage is a great idea. Looks so good!

    Anonymous said...

    Awesome photo.. Looks like a regular chicken but the "8" on the skillet gives you an idea of how big it really is. Very well thought out and composed :)

    Treehouse Chef said...

    Recipe looks delicious but also enjoyed reading the post. Great info.

    Anonymous said...

    I looked at the pot count, knew I did not have time for this dish, and thought "sometime other than now" as it looked delicious. It looks even more delicious in your photos. I must remember to come back and try it. Love your swap you, so very you! The snowflake plate is beautiful. I can think of a million times I would use one like pretty.

    bathmate said...

    i am enjoy your posting. thank you very much