Monday, May 31, 2010

Petite Marmite Henry IV and a ditty

"Seventy Five Pickles at 15 Roux, (like a street)
Half a chicken and knuckles 2 (1 of each knuckle)
300 Carrots?
Half turnip, half beans (that means half of 300, each, or 150)
A leeky heart half a lemon squeeze ( 1 leek, one heart of celery, half a lemon)
50/50 mustard salt and cheese
half a piece of french bread please
100 creamers, and chicken stock 2? (100 cream, 2 lt. stock)
Now we've got some Marmite Stew."
—Susan Whetzel from She's Becoming Doughmesstic
In November, when I was studying for the final exam for Basic Cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu, I tweeted my frustration at having to memorize 12 recipes. One of these recipes would be part of our written exam and worth 10% of the mark. We also had to know all 12 since one of them would be the recipe for the practical part of the final exam. A blogger/twitter friend felt my pain, and she sent me this ditty for Marmite (pronounced mar-MEET). So sweet and helpful!

Susan, from She's Becoming Doughmesstic, is an amazing woman. She's an artist with icing, makes amazing looking cakes, and writes the most entertaining posts. We "met" each other through Tuesdays with Dorie, but we both got busy and couldn't keep up with the weekly baking. But am I ever glad I met her, and that she used her creativity to help me memorize these recipes. It turns out she's illustrated some children's books too. I think she should write some!

Bon d'economat
The Bon d'economat is a blank form that lists out the units and ingredients for a recipe in a specific manner. It's used for ordering ingredients. After walking into the exam room, we each picked an envelope, and inside the envelope was a note saying which recipe we needed to write out. I was thrilled to get Marmite, since this ditty stuck in my head.

Marmite, the recipe
Marmite was part of Lesson 19, which was all about Poaching. Much like consommé, marmite uses both chicken stock and beef meat in it. It is a type of pot au feu served in its own cooking vessel and usually made from beef, chicken, marrow bones and various vegetables. This combination is slowly cooked in water, producing a rich broth that's served with grated cheese as the first course accompanied by the bone marrow, which is spread on toast. The meat and vegetables are then served as the main course.

The concept of Chicken Pot au Feu or Petite Marmite has been around as long as people have been cooking over an open fire in iron pots. It is a dish that suited the practice of having a pot simmering on the back of the stove all day, using the residual heat of the old iron cook stoves. The dish is thought to have originated in France about the time of the revolution in 1789. A special iron pot or cauldron was usually used to create pot au feu. This cauldron, or stockpot, or pot-au-feu, provided an ever-changing broth enriched daily with whatever happened to be on the menu for that day. It is said that the pot was rarely cleaned out except in preparation for the meatless weeks of Lent.

In these days of fast food, take-out food and the availability of frozen TV dinners, the idea of serving a meal that literally simmers for hours on the stove seems quaint.

"If the meat and vegetables are julienned in a refined fashion, then the dish gets elevated with the name "Petite Marmite Henri IV."
Practically Edible

Marmite, the pot
A marmite is a large covered earthenware or metal cooking pot that usually has two handles.

It's also pictured on the Marmite jar.


Serves 4

Chef's Petite marmite Henry IV

.5 pc chicken
1 pc beef knuckle
1 pc veal knuckle
2 litres white chicken stock

300 g carrots
150 g turnips
150 g green beans
1 pc leek

To accompany:
.5 pc French bread
75 g pickles
50 g Dijon mustard
50 g Gruyère cheese
50 g coarse salt

Optional sauce:
15 g roux
.5 pc lemon, juice
100 ml cream

Prepare the beef knuckle by removing the silverskin and fat and then pat dry.

In a marmite, add one-third of the chicken stock and cold water to cover the beef knuckle. Cover and put on stove. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes, skimming often. {You don't want the liquid to boil; essentially, you're creating a consommé so you need to keep it simmering, not boiling, to keep the liquid clear.}

Meanwhile, prepare the veal knuckle by removing some of the silverskin leaving some to keep the veal from falling apart and then pat dry.

Add another one-third of the chicken stock and then add the veal knuckle. Simmer for about 50 minutes, skimming often. Salt a bit.

Prepare the chicken by removing any feathers, cutting off the fat, removing the wishbone, and trimming the wings. Then cut along the column to cut in half. Clean the glands.

Cool the liquid down with the last third of the chicken stock before adding the chicken piece. Simmer for about 45 minutes to cook the chicken, skimming often.

While everything is simmering, turn the carrots and turnips, trim the green beans. For the leek, clean it under running water. Cut off the green part. Cut the white part into two pieces. Rinse again and tie to keep it together. Put these two pieces into the marmite. Cover partially, and keep it simmering.

In a separate pot, bring water to a boil and salt until it tastes like salty water. Prepare an ice bath. Blanch, then dry the green beans.

For the celery, use the inside part (the heart).

Prepare the garnishes: slice the French bread, assemble the pickles, mustard, cheese and salt.

The meat is cooked if you can "crush" it, or squeeze it and it feels soft. Remove it from the pot along with a bit of liquid to keep it warm.

After the beef knuckle has been cooking for 1½ hours, add the celery, carrots, and turnips. Return the meat to the marmite.

Prepare a roux. Pass the cooking broth through a strainer and add this broth to the roux. Cook for 20 minutes.

Reheat the green beans.

Remove the chicken and cut into four. Keep the meat parts round, as natural as possible.

Cut celery into four. Cut leek on an angle. Pass the sauce through a chinois.

Finish the sauce by adding the cream. Whisk and drop in a bit of lemon. Pass the sauce through a chinois. Degrease the soup with a strip of paper towel. Finish plating.

Outside the kitchen/Inside the kitchen

Tasting Notes
This dish is really consommé with some meat and vegetables. It's a rustic dish that also includes some classic French techniques: roux, turning of vegetables, breaking down meat, sauce and consommé, which is why it's a typical exam dish.

It's also a cool dish to have simmering away on your stove all day. It's healthy (with all that marrow I suppose) so I'll definitely make it again especially since I know it off by heart! And if you've ever tried writing a ditty for a French recipe like Navarin or Côte de Boeuf, it's not easy and takes a special person. Thanks, Susan! You're incredible.

Pot-au-feu from La Tartine Gourmande
Pot-au-feu from Peter Hertzmann

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    Anonymous said...

    Wow! Susan sounds pretty amazing, adn the marmite too. Nice pics, love teh view outside the classroom, reminds me of my days as a student when I´d spend all day gazing out of the window.

    FOODESSA said...

    Hello again Shari...nice to see that you're doing so well.
    I really enjoyed the little history background on a similar meal I make kind of Italian style. I'm fortunate to have a home office, therefore, having a meal slow cooking in the kitchen is very comforting indeed.
    It does however also have a distracting effect ;o) appetite is very open by the time I get to sit at the supper table!
    Looking forward to your next post and flavourful wishes, Claudia

    Mary said...

    Great post! Glad you got the recipe you wanted for your exam. I remember trying to memorize the recipes for my CB exam, a long time ago, when it was on Prince of Wales, but I can't remember which recipe it was! I'll have to look in my old notebooks for clues.

    The Healthy Gourmet said...


    Thank you so much for creating an incredibly well put together posting. I came to your site because I was looking for an explanation of the term "bon d'économat" and you did that extremely well.

    I am planning future studies at Le Cordon Bleu Paris and would love to learn the cute song that Susan wrote for you, but I don't know the tune. I couldn't find it listed on her own blog. Could you please tell us what tune it's sung to? It might even be fun for your readers to LISTEN to you SING it, if you're not shy and want to embed an audio file in your blog!

    Best of Luck & je vous remercie mille fois !!!

    Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

    Dear "The Healthy Gourmet"

    Thank you for your comment. The "ditty" doesn't have a song to go with it. And you wouldn't want to hear me "sing"! lol

    As for going to Le Cordon Bleu Paris, that sounds amazing. Wishing you much luck!

    Thanks for dropping by.