"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Panfried Pressed Poussins

Those of you in the cooking world may have come across the technique of flattening poultry to cook it. No, this does not involve running it over with your riding lawnmower, you cut out the backbone and then do some fancy poultry origami moves, tucking the legs and wings into special slits that you cut into the skin so it can be squashed flat and cooked.

I had read about this notion, but it was all academic to me until last night when I cooked Panfried Pressed Poussins.

Now you're talking to a girl here who has had to pound on lobsters with a hammer, so I was a little apprehensive about cutting out poultry backbones with kitchen shears. They did just fine, though--a few snips and that bird was ready for the origami treatment.

By the way, if you're scratching your head about "poussins", that is French for "small chickens that you can only buy in NYC".

The recipe has you panfry the poussin (game hen for me) in a skillet, with a weighted skillet on top. I was searching the pantry for the right combination of tomato cans and pickle jars to weigh it down when I realized I had half of a 5 lb. jar of honey. Perfect! (why, you may ask, does one buy a 5 lb. jar of honey? Well, why not.)

I must say, as a technique for cooking poultry this works extremely well--the idea is that you're flattening the meat into one compact plane so it cooks evenly. And it does. AND if you like the idea of eating something that looks like it's been run over by a steamroller in a Roadrunner cartoon, this is the recipe for you!

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