Squab and Cabbage Stuffed with Foie Gras
Squab is seared in goose fat and roasted, then served with a cabbage packet stuffed with mixture of foie gras and cabbage, and sauce with juniper berries. Chef Loiseau insists that the squab be killed for the table in such a way that no blood is lost, as the blood forms the basis of the sauce. One interesting thing to note about this recipe, and many other French recipes, is how few ingredients are used to create a great variety of tastes and textures.
- Cabbage Packets
- Cabbage - 1, Large
- Salt pork - 2 ounces, diced small
- Unsalted Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Goose Fat - 2 tablespoons
- Onion - 1 large, minced
- Salt to taste
- Squabs - 4
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Goose Fat - 2 tablespoons
- Squab carcasses (above)
- Water - 1/2 cup
- Juniper berries - 8
- Medallions Foie Gras - Four, 3/4-inch
- Fleur de Sel (coarse, mild salt) - 1 tablespoon
To prepare the cabbage packets: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Take off one layer of cabbage leaves, exposing clean leaves; discard these outermost leaves. Remove the next four large leaves of the cabbage and cut out the large stiff central rib. Put the leaves in the boiling water, weighting them down with a ladle or similar tool. Cook 5 minutes; drain and plunge into ice water to set the color. Remove and drain; press with paper towels to dry and set aside.
Core the remaining cabbage and cut in narrow strips. Sauté the salt pork briefly in a large skillet to render the fat. Add a tablespoon of butter and let it brown slightly. Add the cabbage and sauté until wilted. Heat the goose fat in a medium skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the onions until softened and beginning to color. Remove from heat and drain on paper towels. Add to the cabbage; adjust seasoning with salt.
Spread four sheets of plastic wrap on a work surface and place a cabbage leaf in the center of each. Put a large scoop of the filling on each. Draw up the cabbage leaf, folding it over and enclosing the filling completely. Lift the plastic wrap and tightly encase each cabbage packet. Twist the tops of the plastic wrappers and tie securely with cotton string.
Bring water to a boil in the bottom of a steamer. Place the cabbage packets on a rack above the water. Steam 5 minutes. Set aside off the heat.
To prepare the squabs: Preheat the oven to 400 F. Season the squabs inside and out with salt and pepper. Leave the livers inside the squabs. Heat the goose fat in a large ovenproof skillet and brown the squabs on all sides until quite dark. Do not pierce the skin. Put in the oven and cook for 5 minutes. The squab will not be finished cooking. Remove and carve the thighs and drumsticks from the birds. Slice the breasts from the birds. Reserve the carcasses for the sauce. Put the breasts, thighs, and drumsticks into a large sauté pan with 2 tablespoons of the butter and sauté until cooked through, about 1 minute. Set aside; keep warm.
To prepare the sauce: Put the carcasses in a saucepan with the water and smash with a heavy object until well broken up, releasing all the blood. Remove and discard the carcasses. Add the juniper berries to the blood. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 to 7 minutes, until slightly thickened. Do not let it come to a boil; stir occasionally with a whisk. Remove from heat and pass through a fine-meshed sieve. Set aside and keep warm.
To prepare the foie gras: Heat a non-stick sauté pan over high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the foie gras and sear on one side for 1 minute, until crisped; turn and sear on the other side. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.
To serve: Unwrap the cabbage packets and put one on each warmed plate. Pool sauce on the other side of the plates. Center a foie gras slice in each pool of sauce. Place two breasts and thighs on the sauce on either side of the foie gras on each plate. Lean two drumsticks against each cabbage packet. Sprinkle each cabbage packet with a pinch of fleur de sel.