My favourite bit of cooking is trying out new ideas. Writing up my thesis tends to leave my creative urge a little unfulfilled so I end up overcompensating for it in the kitchen. I aim to try a couple of new things each week and on occasion, like last night, three new things happen at once.
The centerpiece of last night’s meal was something I adapted from an idea I got from Freya. After my last attempt at poultry (the chorizo stuffed guinea fowl) she mentioned that she’s stuffed the skin of a chicken with mushrooms and truffle paste.
I decided that I didn’t have the funds to justify buying truffle paste, but i loved the mushroom idea and thought it would be perfect with a nice, delicately flavoured poussin. So I took some chestnut mushrooms, sliced them and sauteed them in butter with garlic and parsley before using them to stuff the poussin skin.
Poussin Stuffing in Progress
Then I slipped some serrano ham in between the mushrooms and the skin, hoping the flesh of the poussin would pick up the flavour of the garlic and mushroom and the skin would pick up some smokiness from the ham.
My carb accompaniment was a cross between a dauphinoise and a boulangere partially inspired by Trig’s latke’s. I saw these and suddenly got a craving for potatoes and sour cream and so this was born
This is potatoes layered (like a boulangere or dauphinoise) with onion and paprika. I poured over a mixture of sour cream with a little chicken stock mixed in and baked the potatoes for about an hour and fifteen at gas mark 5.
Finally, my vegetable accompaniment was shredded brussel sprouts stir fried with butter and pancetta, which, once they’d cooked, I made into a little nest for the poussin
So the verdict for my three experiments was this. The poussin was awesome. The mushroom and garlic flavours were very noticeable in the meat, whch had stayed very moist. The skin was perfectly crisp and had gained a little flavour from the addition of the ham, although it wasn’t as much as I had hoped.
The potato dish was very good, like an exciting version of dauphinoise. While it didn’t have the luxurious richness of dauphinoise, it was a pleasant and interesting change. The sprouts were fine. They were nothing to write home about, but still tasty, and I think they’d be a good way of converting a sprout hater.
Also, the three dishes complemented each other reasonably well and the combination of sprouts, paprika and cream gave the whole meal a slightly Eastern European feel.
I wish I felt this inspired more often!