Chicken from Bresse with Truffles and Foie Gras Sauce
In France, chickens raised in Bresse are so renowned that they have their own controlled use of the name “Bresse,” and a special metal tag attached to the leg. The chickens are raised free-range, and are often corn-fed. For this dish, a Bresse chicken is dressed with truffles, trussed, and poached. It is served with blanched baby vegetables. This type of chicken dish is called “demi-deuil,” “half mourning,” because of the black color of the truffles slipped under the chicken skin. Lacking a Bresse chicken, start with the best free-range chicken you can buy. Serve the dish in its traditional manner: Bring it to the table whole with its poaching liquid and baby vegetables in a large silver bowl or tureen to show your guests, then return it to the kitchen, carve it, and return it to the table on plates garnished with the baby vegetables and sauce.
- Free Range Chicken - 1 whole chicken (about 3 – 4 pounds)
- Black Truffle - 1, shaved into slices
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Chicken Stock - 3 quarts
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Chicken Stock - 2 cups
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup
- Foie gras - 2 ounces
- Unsalted Butter - 2 ounces
- Truffle Juice (optional) - 1/4 cup
- Baby Carrots - 8, tops attached
- Baby Turnips - 8, tops attached
- Baby Leeks - 4
- Baby Asparagus Spears - 4
- Baby Potatoes - 4
Place the chicken on a work surface and cut through the wings exactly at the shoulder joint to remove the wings. Cover your finger with plastic wrap or put on thin plastic gloves. Slip your finger between the chicken meat and skin, loosening the skin all over the body of the bird. Oil the truffle slices and slip them under the skin, studding the bird all over; the truffles will show through the skin. Truss the bird with cotton butcher’s string, tying the legs tightly into position against the body, and pinning down the neck skin flap. Season with salt and pepper.
Bring the stock to a boil in a large stockpot. Reduce heat to medium. Slip the trussed chicken into the pot, submerging it to allow the poaching liquid to run into the cavity, and turning it to moisten all sides. Poach the chicken for 45 minutes, basting or turning the bird to keep all sides moist. Lift from the poaching liquid and place on a baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.
To make the sauce: Put the chicken stock in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Skim any foam. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by two-thirds in volume. In another heavy saucepan, simmer the cream until reduced by one half. Whisk into the reduced chicken stock. Blend the foie gras and butter together. Whisk the foie gras mixture into the cream and chicken stock. Add the truffle juice and mix gently with a hand mixer or stick blender.
To make the vegetables: Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Add a ladleful of poaching liquid. Fill a medium bowl with ice water. Plunge the baby carrots into the boiling water and cook for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and drop into the ice water. Remove and drain on a towel; use a towel to buff off any skin. Repeat with remaining vegetables, one type at a time, cooking the baby potatoes for 3 minutes.
To serve: Remove the trusses from the chicken. Place the whole chicken in a large covered silver bowl or tureen with the vegetables and a small amount of the poaching liquid. After uncovering the dish at the table for guests, remove it to the kitchen and slice the chicken, giving each guest some of the pieces with truffles showing through the skin. Garnish each plate with a sampling of the baby vegetables and a pool of sauce.