concert menu suggestions

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Joey, a Marengo is quite a simple stew. You can use veal or replace it with chicken or even turkey. As always, you can add any personal touch. There are as many stews as there are cooks.

Veal Marengo

Recipe for about 4 persons; 800 gr vealshoulder cut in pieces/ 1 onion/ 2 handfulls of champignons/ handfull of fresh baby "silver"onion/ 2 tbsp flour/ 200 ml dry white wine/ 1 tin peeled tomatoes/ 4 slices white bread/ cresson(small watercress)/ butter/ oil/ sugar/ laurel/ thyme/ s&p

Note; I always use fresh baby onions. They are also available frozen ànd peeled already; can't imagine peeling these for 75 people!

Season meat with s&p. Sear in hot oil/butter mixture (50/50). Add chopped onion. Add flour stir and let cook for a while to eleminate the flourtaste. Add white wine and tomatoes. Add laurel and thymesprig. Cover pan and let simmer 90 minutes.

Peel baby onions. Sweat in only butter this time, season with s&p, pinch of sugar and a dash of water. Cover and let simmer until done.

Quarter champignons and fry in butter. S&p.

Add onions and champignons to the veal.

Cut breadslices in 4 diagonal pieces and fry in oil to make croutons.

Serve stew on plates with croutons and cresson.

Chicken Marengo

Same procedure, but, leave thyme out, use fresh tarragon instead. Cooking time depending of the use of dark or white meat. Just check.
 
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Chris, thanks for the recipe...i can almost smell it!...i will be using boneless skinless chicken thighs and will make it not so stewy, more of a braised dish...bigger vegetable pieces,and i like the thyme in it over the tarragon, so will keep that in. i didn't notice any booze in your recipe however. i'm thinking a nice amontillado sherry would be a good addition.....

BDL...do i really have to flute the mushrooms? and why exactly would that be fun?  that's alot of mushrroms to flute for 75 people....was thinking i could just use whole button creminis...told you it's an adaptation!  thanks for looking around your garage for pelleprat's recipe...i just ordered 'modern french culinary art'  through Amazon, for get this, $3.61....unbelievable!  seems like an important book to have anyway.  oh, the argentinean composer is Piazolla. any thoughts on the sausage type?  thanks again to you both...

joey
 
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Be thankful you only have to flute mushrooms (where do you think all those mushroom trimmings the French guys call for come from).  You have to tourne your garnish instead.

Personally, I don't think you can call it a marengo unless you have an egg garnish. Traditionally it's eggs 'poached' in oil. I'm ambivalent on the crayfish.
 
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Marengo is a very specific dish, created by his personal chef (whose name I can't remember), "served for the first time" on the Marengo battlefield to Napoleon to celebrate his victory there earlier in the day.  To keep it Marengo, you have to stay very close to the original -- which includes fluted mushrooms -- otherwise, it's just a lighter, Provencale take on a chasseur.  It's the extra detail and care which make it celebratory.

But that's my take, there's no reason it should be yours.  You and I have very similar cooking styles, but they're certainly not identical.  You're freer and more creative, I'm more technical and academic, and so what?  Also, you typically cater for larger groups than I did.  I have nothing but good things to say about your food, and you already know it.  Is it worth fluting 10 lbs of mushrooms for presentation and authenticity?  Who's to say?  I trust you.  Napoleon isn't even around.

Sausage:  Will you be buying or making your own?  If buying, get whatever's the best you can get locally.  If making and going French, something with quatre epices.  Perhaps Jane Grigson's "Alsatian" sausage.  There are a zillion great German sausages. A good, fresh Bratwurst is always welcome.  

BDL
 
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tincook, 

thanks for the view, but the whole poached egg thing just ain't gonna happen here...aside from the fact that i think poached eggs are so absolutely gross, it just won't work for this application...you might as well just pluck it out of the hen's arse, and wave them over boiling water as far as i'm  concerned...all that runny yellow...oh god, save me! as far as the crayfish..where does that even fit in that dish? napoleaon had just won the battle of marengo on the france/austrain border and very far away from any seafood, i think. i don't really know my euro history that well, so until i actually see a few recipes, i can't comment....

bdl.... allright already, i get it about the fluted shrooms...can i get a walk though, as its been awhile?...and please, already, yes, my knife is SHARP!!..for the sausage i was thinking 'don't cry for me argentina' sausage...that's why i was thinking blood sausage...we have a great local organic meat store that raises and processes ther own stuff, but they are awfully spendy.....maybe i'll just do brats to get the germans in...anyway, thanks again for all the thoughts..i will figure this out, thanks in part to you all and thanks in part to just being me...what part of ignorance is bliss?

joey
 
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heh, poached eggs are gross, but blood sausage is cool

Crawfish are freshwater, you get em from streams and rivers. The battle was fought near a river, and crawfish from it where among the items the foragers returned with.

I've had pretty good luck with french style garlic sausage. 5lbs pork butt or ground pork (you want around 25-30% fat), 1.5 oz by weight salt, 3T mince garlic, 1T fresh ground black pepper, 1c cold red wine.
 
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Joey, absolutely do use amontillado in the Marengo and anything that adds to a more creative and personal approach.

Also, I adore blood sausage aka boudin noir (sounds more appetizing doesn't it?). We love that in my country. Goes very well with caramelized apples as you know. However, you need to realize that a lot of people won't eat it, even when they have never tasted such a treat! Anyway, just for fun this fantastic recipe including a video. Easy to make 2 days before the party. Don't know wether it's fit for 75? Maybe for another occasion. Also, it's visually a recipe that will invite people to overcome their aversion towards blood sausage. To be served as a starter or part of a buffet's main dishes! This is NOT a dessert!

Tarte tatin with boudin noir

See the video here http://www.njam.tv/recepten/tarte-tatin-met-zwarte-pens

Translation of the recipe;

5 boudins noir in slices/ 6 Jonagold apples in chunks; use any sweet apple that doesn't fall apart when cooking / 150 gram sugar/ 100 gram butter / 1 sheet puff pastry

Heat the oven to 200°C. Butter a pan with heavy bottom. Add sugar and turn the pan to get it all over the pan surface. Put the apple chunks in as close to each other (they will shrink) as possible and press well. Put on low fire and caramelize the sugar a few minutes. Cover with the boudin noir.

Use the lid of the pan to cut out the puff pastry. Punch some holes in it. Cover the pan with the pastry.

Reduce the ovenheat to 175°C and bake the tarte tatin for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to roomtemperature. Important; put in the fridge for another 12 hours!

To serve; heat the pan on very low fire so the tatin detaches from the pan and turn upside down on large a plate (see the video!).

Other videos by this chef from both his pork and fish series; http://www.njam.tv/chefs/johan-segers?page=1

The first paragraph on this page says; "Elk experiment ontstaat spontaan. Als je niets forceert, komt de inspiratie vanzelf".

Or, "Each experiment is spontaneous. When you don't force it, inspirations finds itself". That's probably why he became a Michelin star chef. Traditionalists go nowhere.   
 
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interesting combo chris....thanks.....tinman, vas is das currywurst? is it what it sounds like? 

joey
 
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.tinman, vas is das currywurst? is it what it sounds like?
The curry in currywurst is from the sauce. It's essentially tomato ketchup plus curry powder.  Bratwurst should be ok for the sausage. Traditionally, it's a fried or grilled pork sausage served cut up without a bun, sometimes garnished with a sprinkle of curry. I eat mine whole on a bun.
 
 
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Currywurst is a popular excuse to drink more beer in Germany.  It's way up on their list of snack foods.  Perhaps, as they say in Germany, "numero uno."

It's true that any sort of blood sausage might be a little challenging for your audience, and probably best avoided for your gig. But apropos of nothing, I had soon dae for lunch.  A lot of people don't realize that soon dae is actually a traditional Luxembourg food, invented by the Brothers Schleck, Andy and Frank. 

Of course you catch a break on fluting the mushrooms.  But just you. Everyone else has to.  Or else.

Congratulations on the knife.

BDL
 
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That's why they call blood sausage, black pudding or boudin noir, lol. Depends on your food ethics, I guess.
I had soon dae for lunch.  A lot of people don't realize that soon dae is actually a traditional Luxembourg food, invented by the Brothers Schleck, Andy and Frank.
/img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rollsmile.gif

It's been a while since I've had to (badly) flute a mushroom. Use a hawk's beak knife for that?
 
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It's been a while since I've had to (badly) flute a mushroom. Use a hawk's beak knife for that?
I used to have to do it A LOT, and, and found a "bec d'oiseau" (probably same knife you're talking about) too much of a PITA to sharpen, so used a sheep's foot parer.  Now, I use a petty.  Like most forms of peeling the trick isn't in the knife, which you hold fairly steady and by the blade, it's in moving the 'shroom.

I've never been a fan of small kitchen knives.  Few things have made me as happy as exchanging them for a petty.

BDL
 
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smack in the middle of dinner service last night it hit me...duh..not amontillado sherry but napoleon brandy..double duh! would that be authentically correct bdl, as i still havent seen a recipe other than CB'S..think you and tin are right about the sausages. even though this audience are world travelers, the grilled sausage or brat may suit them better.as always KIS...chris, just curious, does the whole dish take on a purplish color from the sausage being cooked with the apples? thanks again all...

joey
 
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Here's a copy of Pellaprat's recipe, and another of Mrs. Beeton's.  Beeton's give some evolutionary, non-French context, and some historical (or a-historical) remarks.  In any case, Beeton's is not exactly Pellaprat -- and with wine as an afterthought yet.  Clearly, styles change and there's no reason you shouldn't take the dish and run with it.  Pellaprat was a great modernizer and collector, and am sure he -- or whomever he caged this recipe from -- did.

Here's Beeton (ca 1861):
[h5]Poulet a La Marengo.[/h5]
INGREDIENTS.— 1 large fowl, 4 tablespoonfuls of salad oil, 1 tablespoonful of flour, 1 pint of stock No. 105, or water, about 20 mushroom-buttons, salt and pepper to taste, 1 teaspoonful of powdered sugar, a very small piece of garlic.

Mode .— Cut the fowl into 8 or 10 pieces; put them with the oil into a stewpan, and brown them over a moderate fire; dredge in the above proportion of flour; when that is browned, pour in the stock or water; let it simmer very slowly for rather more than 1/2 hour, and skim off the fat as it rises to the top; add the mushrooms; season with salt, pepper, garlic, and sugar; take out the fowl, which arrange pyramidically on the dish, with the inferior joints at the bottom. Reduce the sauce by boiling it quickly over the fire, keeping it stirred until sufficiently thick to adhere to the back of a spoon; pour over the fowl, and serve.

Time .— Altogether 50 minutes. Average cost , 3s. 6d.

Sufficient for 3 or 4 persons.

Seasonable at any time.

A FOWL À LA MARENGO.— The following is the origin of the well-known dish Poulet à la Marengo:— On the evening of the battle the first consul was very hungry after the agitation of the day, and a fowl was ordered with all expedition. The fowl was procured, but there was no butter at hand, and unluckily none could be found in the neighbourhood. There was oil in abundance, however; and the cook having poured a certain quantity into his skillet, put in the fowl, with a clove of garlic and other seasoning, with a little white wine, the best the country afforded; he then garnished it with mushrooms, and served it up hot. This dish proved the second conquest of the day, as the first consul found it most agreeable to his palate, and expressed his satisfaction. Ever since, a fowl à la Marengo is a favourite dish with all lovers of good cheer.
[I copied this from the University of Adelaide web site, and edited the spacing very slightly before pasting it here]

In my opinion, the story is more likely apocryphal than not. 

Moving right along into the modern era, here's the Pellaprat recipe (ca 1915):
CHICKEN MARENGO

3-1/2 pounds chicken legs and breasts

2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

flour

1/4 cup olive oil or salad oil

3 tbs butter

1 cup chicken stock

12 small white onions, peeled

1/2 cup sliced green pepper

1 cup well-drained Italian canned tomatoes, or 4 peeled, seeded, and quartered fresh tomatoes

1/2 cup pitted black olives

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/4 pound sliced mushrooms

1/2 cup dry white wine

Rub chicken with 1 tsp of the salt and black pepper.  Dredge in flour.  Brown in 1/4 cup oil and 1 tbs butter.  Add the next 6 ingredients.  Cover and simmer in 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender.  Saute mushrooms in remaining 1 tbs of butter and add to chicken along with wine 5 minutes before cooking time is up.   Adjust .  Serve with rice.  Makes 6 servings.
[Very slightly edited for abbreviations]

CF The Great Book of French Cuisine, Henri Paul Pellaprat, Over 2000 recipes by the director of the Ecole de Cordon Bleu, Paris; Vendome Press, 1982; edited by Kramer and White, further adapted for the American kitchen by Day. 

N.B.   This and Pellaprat's Modern French Culinary Art are differently titled versions of exactly the same book... sort of.  The French original was L'Art Culinaire Moderne, originally published in 1915 and more or less constantly updated through Pellaprat's lifetime, and even afterward.  Various English editions are more complete than others, and if you're buying a copy, I suggest buying one with the most recipes and illustrations possible -- and not buying the Jeremiah Tower version which was heavily redacted with the idea of losing recipes which weren't sufficiently contemporary.  Too bad, because they not only provide a window into their time but why let Jeremiah make that decision for you?

My 1982 book better reflects the late fifties and sixties than the date of publication.  I think that's because the pictures were taken for and from an earlier, 1966 British edition (which I had and lost).  Pellaprat, as much as anyone else, taught me to cook.  But the recipes and presentations (go for the lavishly illustrated!) are stuffy and old fashioned.  Of course you can improvise and evolve.  He most certainly would have.  I'm not sure if I'd change anything here though, except for transubstantiating sliced to fluted.  Maybe cippolinis instead of pearl onions.  Otherwise, what's not to like?

I'm not sure, but I think my older book had a Chicken Marengo illustration.  This one, alas, does not.

I'm not sure who impressed the importance of fluting the mushrooms on me -- it's certainly not in this edition if it was in Pellaprat at all.  Probably the chef from a joint where I worked in the early seventies, who may have been the most rule-driven cook of all time.

BDL
 
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Currywurst is a popular excuse to drink more beer in Germany.  It's way up on their list of snack foods.  Perhaps, as they say in Germany, "numero uno."

It's true that any sort of blood sausage might be a little challenging for your audience, and probably best avoided for your gig. But apropos of nothing, I had soon dae for lunch.  A lot of people don't realize that soon dae is actually a traditional Luxembourg food, invented by the Brothers Schleck, Andy and Frank. 

Of course you catch a break on fluting the mushrooms.  But just you. Everyone else has to.  Or else.

Congratulations on the knife.

BDL
I spent 2 years in Deutschland and I don't recall needing an excuse to drink more beer nor did the locals seem to need it either!  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rollsmile.gif

And sorry about the above post.  Something went awry!
 
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just received my $3.61 1966 copy of pellaprat's 'FMCA'...no, it's not the jeremiah tower edition...so yes, his chicken marengo recipe calls for sliced mushrooms and his veal marengo recipe calls for whole mushrooms(i'm guessing buttons), to be added near the end, before it goes into the oven. one thing that never really made sense to me about the fluted mushrooms was why would they be fluted just for a stew...of course though, it was Napoleon. i think if i add the buttons i would first lightly saute them in butter and brandy. recipe calls for only white wine which i thought interesting as well, no brandy?...thought the green peppers an odd addition as well...viva la france!...thanks tin and bdl for going 'above and beyond"...really appreciate it!....

joey
 

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