Thursday, August 17, 2006

Poulet de Bresse and the Mystery Potatoes

There are always a million things to look at between home and the Perrache station. I strolled down the Quai St. Antoine where my morning market usually is and carefully looked at the stall numbers painted on the ground, and the trapdoors recessed into the pavement that held elecrical sockets for the vendors. Passing through, I imagined what it must be like to roll one's shop onto a numbered rectangle and plug it in. It was one of the rare occasions I found myself in that place when it was completely empty and clean. You'd never know there was a market there every day. Not a stain or piece of litter to be seen. I found it a bit strange to see the quai that way. It is just a riverside park with symmetrical rows of trees after all. Funny to think of the magic that a market can add to an otherwise normal place.

I stopped into Mafter's shop and could not resist a new instant read digital thermometer and a tub of glucose, something I have been looking for. Hmm. I sense some candy making in my near future. Of course the candy will be for others, gifts. I resolve not to eat it except for the requisite tastes.

Indeed M. Broyer the Bresse man was at the market and he had a selection of birds to choose from, at the regular price. I got one of the medium sized birds, and decided, once I'd gotten it home, not to roast it on the spit after all because it was too young and the tendons needed some more time and soft heat in order for the meat to let go of the bones. I rubbed the bird's skin with a drizzle of melted butter and sea salt, and put it in the cocotte on a bed of potatoes and shallots, topped it with a few leaves of tarragon, and splashed the potatoes with wine. I covered it tightly and let it roast for awhile. I seared the liver on both sides in the smallest pan I have. Bresse chicken liver turns a special creamy golden color when it is cooked. Loic left to get the bread and when he came back the liver was ready to spread on a warm slice fresh from the boulangerie. Les foies blancs de Bresse are a treat indeed. We see sometimes at the very best restaurants, terrines made with the distinctively colored livers that come only from the Poulet de Bresse. Loic and I shared it on toast as an amuse-gueule before dinner.

The bird was delicious. My only regret was that we didn't use more potatoes. Oh la la. Was it the bird's juices? Was it the potatoes, which I picked up, still covered with dirt, on a whim - just to try? I only bought three, so that's all we cooked. I'm having trouble remembering who sold them to me. When I was peeling them, I noted the firm crisp juicy flesh, they felt special in some way, different from the potatoes I normally use. I'll have to go back and find some more - and this time pay more attention to them. I think it was the combination of these spuds with the juices from a nice long roasted Bresse bird - but I also think that the potatoes were special in some way. If I were to roast a bresse chicken over enough of these babies to soak up all that lovely juice and then make a puree of it I think it could possibly amount to the best pureed pommes de terre - Ever. Now I must think. Where did they come from? Who? They could not have been expensive, I normally don't go for the pricey ones.

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Blogger wheresmymind said...

The vendors selling rotisserie chickens always made me so hungy when I was in France :)

7:51 PM, August 17, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your post is lovely, but is that a hand-shaped door knocker? That is a little creepy.

7:40 PM, August 19, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Creepy? No! I love it and am telling a friend (a sculptor) who is building a house for herself.

3:41 AM, March 11, 2008  

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