Monday, November 23, 2009

TGRWT #20: Pumpkin and Cooked Chicken

Since I've blabbered on about TGRWT so many times before, if you don't know what it is, go HERE. This is not a competition, nor is it for chefs and professionals, so if you're ever inclined, jump in and give it a go.

This month's event was hosted by old time eG friend Docsconz. I say friend, but spirit guide is more accurate. He has guided me to so many amazing restaurants and culinary experiences that I owe much of my current success to him. Doc chose pumpkin and cooked chicken. I won't get into the mental anguish this led me through debating what cooking method (BBQ tastes very different from boiled), or chicken breed (Wal-Mart steroid chicken v. happy free-range clucker). I'll cut to the chase and say that leading into the holidays I just wanted to get this done in a proud, but easy manner.

The idea came to me immediately - this had to be a molé. Normally I do my TGRWTs very goofyish, but I enjoy making molés and my customers enjoy eating them. I started with chile negros that I brought back from Oaxaca. These were lightly toasted in a dry skillet then softened in boiling water for 30 minutes.

Next, I sautéed a half an onion and dried pumpkin seeds until softened.

That went in a blender with 2 cups of cooked pumpkin meat, a dash of clove and cinnamon, a T. of Valrhona cocoa, a nugget of dark muscovado, black pepper, a small pinch of oregano, and 4 C. of chicken broth. In a large stock I melted 2 T. of lard then strained the blender contents through a chinois and fried for about 10 minutes. I adjusted the broth to get the right consistency and let it simmer for two hours.

For the chicken, I wanted a pure "cooked chicken" taste so it was pressed and sous vide cooked unseasoned. I plated with a piñon tuile.

So the question is always, how well did they go together? This was a can't lose combination, so naturally they went great. I purposefully kept the pumpkin toned down so it didn't feel like a savory pumpkin pie, but that squashiness was very complementary to the chicken. For lunch the next day I took the scraps and threw them into a grilled pita with some goat cheese and had a very nice meal.


Tri2Cook said...

Nice take on the pairing Rob. I didn't even realize a new one had been announced until I saw this post so thanks for getting it done early and giving me a headsup!

racheld said...

That looks SCRUMMMMM-SHUS. What's the binder/flavor of the tuile? Is it spread on a form, cut out, or cut out apres bake?

Gfron1 said...

The tuile is egg white with a bit of salt and a slight pinch of sugar. I poured/spread it into a ring mold, chilled and baked. Easy peasy.

Dennis said...

Like the molé idea. Simple and looks very nice with that tuile.

Great blog btw, have added you to my links.

Claudia said...

I've never tried making a tuile, it plates nicely with the mole. Great idea.