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

Posted by inspiredbywolfe in Chicken, Duck, Wolfe recipe.

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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