Mushroom and Gesier Bouchee
This is probably the first of several experimental recipes using gesiers - what the British call gizzards, part of the giblets that go into a good chicken stock. They are a speciality here in South West France and I have just opened a 5 kilo tin!
My neighbour taught me how to confit gesiers by salting overnight, rinsing and drying, then simmering in duck fat for ¾ hour before being packed into glass “Kilner Jars” covered with duck fat and then sterilised. They become tender and packed with flavour and can be kept in a cool place for several years.
You will frequently find them as a starter served warm on a bed of lettuce so if you see Salade de Gesiers on a menu, take the plunge, it is a delicious experience.
- 150g puff pastry
- 100g gesiers, finely sliced
- 200g mushrooms, finely sliced
- 1 tbsp duck fat
- 1 tbsp flour
- ¼ pint milk
- salt and pepper
- pinch thyme
Set the oven to 220°c.
Roll the puff pastry to roughly ½cm thick and cut a rectangle 15cm long by 11cm wide. Cut another rectangle 1-2cm inside, giving you one large rectangle with a whole in the middle, and a smaller rectangle. Now roll the small rectangle again, until it’s the same size as the large one. Wet the edges and stick one on top the other.
Cover and put in the fridge until the oven has reached temperature, prick the base, brush with a litte beaten egg and cook for 15 – 20 minutes.
Fry the mushrooms and gesiers together with a tablespoon of fat from the gesiers and a pinch of thyme. Saute until the mushrooms are tender, sprinkle the flour over the mixture and cook it for a couple of minutes whilst it absorbs the fat, to make a roux, (the basis of a classic bechamel/white sauce).
Take the pan off the heat and stir in the milk, return to the heat and cook until the sauce thickens, adjust the consistency with more milk if required. The finished sauce is quite thick to support the mushrooms and gesiers.
Pile into the pastry case and serve immediately.
The idea came from a favourite vol au vent recipe “Bouchees a la Reine” which are individual cases filled with poached chicken or turkey instead of gesiers. The meat is poached and the resulting stock replaces the milk in my recipe and creaminess is added with a dollop of creme fraiche stirred into the sauce. If the idea appeals you could always buy ready made pastry shells. Eating them feels like a minor celebration, fit for a Queen.
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