Chicken for DessertHome >> Experiences
One of the most popular desserts in Turkey is Tavuk göğsü, made with chicken breasts pounded with sugar, thickened with rice flour and dusted with cinammon. I immediately recognized this dessert as a long-lost relative of a European medieval hit. See how I cooked this dish following a 14th century French recipe during my week-end at Hattonchâtel castle in France.
Start by boiling a good chicken in a large pot water. Flavor with onion with a bay leaf nailed on with a clove.
Pound a pound of shelled and skinned almonds to a pulp in a mortar and place them in clean cotton towel inside a bowl. Pour two cups of the chicken stock on top and let steep for a few minutes.
Pull up the cotton towel and strain until all the juice is out. The water has turned white as milk, almond milk.
Pour the almond milk into a saucepan.
Add the chicken breast and thicken with a small glass of rice cream (equal quantities of water and rice flour). Add as much sugar as your taste will allow and mix.
As soon as the rice flour has thickened the pudding, pour it on the serving dish.
Try to keep a smooth surface on top.
Fry a few shelled and skinned almonds in a little butter until they turn pale brown.
Adorn the dish with the almonds. This is a simple dish with a 2000 year old ancestry so don't overdo it - simple is the way to go.
Cut a pomegranate open and spoon the seeds out.
Sprinkle the pomegranate seeds on top and serve.
Here you see a section of the dessert table we made at Hattonchâtel castle. Clockwise from the bottom left, Madame Cremel mirabelle tart, the medieval blanc-manger and the modern French-style blanc manger. I'll show you how to make that one next week.
Our dessert looked very appealing with the ruby-like pomegranate seeds and the crown of roasted almonds. You really feel like a piece of history is on the table. I told the guests The bishop of Verdun, whose house this was for 800 years, ate the very same blanc manger you are about to taste. This was a staple on the medieval table. They all came and tried this ancient novelty.
Don't do this at home - chicken and sugar do not agree with our 21th century palates. I made it so that everybody could see the long history of the dish and appreciate the unique dining experience in this thousand-year-old castle. Next week you'll see the modern blanc manger, a much better dessert altogether.
This dish lives in Turkey nowadays as Tavuk göğsü. The Turks kicked the almonds but kept it white with rice flour and chicken breasts. In upscale restaurants the pudding is cooked in a copper pot until a thick brown crust develops at the bottom. The dessert is very sweet and served sprinkled with cinammon. If you want to give chicken for dessert a chance, try it in Turkey. And please don't miss my article about really serious modern blanc-manger next week!