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Duckling (poussin) in Flemish olive sauce July 27, 2011

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Chicken, Duck, Wolfe recipe.
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Once again, the Nero Wolfe recipes have surprised me. In this case, the balance of the dish was not what I was expecting. It was lighter and fresher than the impression I got from reading the recipe – which included large quantities of butter! While this recipe called for ducklings, I decided to use poussin (small chickens) instead, as I was only cooking for two.

I prepared the birds by brushing them both with lemon juice, and seasoning them with salt and pepper. I roasted them skin-side down, turning them over for the last 15 minutes to crisp up the skin. Meanwhile, I started on the sauce.

I melted butter in a saucepan until it was foaming, and added chopped parsley and shallots. I cooked them for a few minutes, until they were soft.

Once they were cooked, I added flour and stirred it until it thickened. Then I added 1 1/2 cups (!) of champagne – although I used a sparkling Australian rather than the proper French stuff. It frothed up in a most dramatic manner.

I continued to stir it and after about 5 minutes, it started to thicken. I took it off the heat, strained out the onions and shallots, and added some chopped olives. I was also meant to add some diced truffle – having none on hand, I minced a little raw garlic and threw a few tiny pieces in as a substitute.

I also cooked up some leeks and mushrooms in a bit of red wine vinegar (figuring we had enough butter in the sauce), and served the poussin on top of the leek/mushroom mix, and drizzled the sauce over everything.

This dish was a lot lighter than I was expecting! The sauce wasn’t at all heavy, even with the amount of butter, and the champagne taste came through strongly. I was concerned that the champagne would be lost in the mix, so I was glad that my 1 1/2 cups hadn’t gone to waste. The poussin itself was juicy and tasty, with the lemon juice permeating the meat.

When I read recipes, I get an idea in my head of how they will behave and taste. Based on reading this recipe, I was expecting something quite heavy and rich. While it was still very flavoursome, it was not overly rich or heavy and I found this very interesting. I do know by now to trust Nero Wolfe’s recipes, I was still pleasantly surprised by how this turned out.

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