Thursday, October 18, 2007

I'm thinking of switching to an all truffled turkey blog

You first parents of the human race that ruined yourself for an apple, what might you have done for a truffled turkey? But in your earthly paradise you had no cooks, no fine confectioners.

I weep for you!

Jean Antheleme Brillat Savarin, The Physiology of Taste, 1825, Chapter XXVII.


  1. Well, here's how James Beard made it, at any rate. Savarin probably made it with crazy versions of all this stuff. Dipped in gold. Served by Circassians, on giant platters borne aloft by eagles, or something.

    8 to 10 pound turkey
    Truffles, as many as possible, fresh if available
    2 pounds ground pork
    1 1/2 pounds ground veal
    8 shallots
    Salt, pepper to taste
    3/4 cup cognac
    2 cups fine bread crumbs
    1/2 cup chopped parsley
    3 carrots, cut in fine julienne
    3 leeks, cut in fine julienne
    3 stalks celery, cut in fine julienne
    White wine
    Beurre manié
    Freshly ground white pepper

    The night before you plan to cook the turkey clean the bird, slice some truffles, and slip them under the skin. Slip several truffles into the cavity as well, wrap the bird loosely in foil, and leave in the refrigerator overnight.

    Next day, prepare the stuffing. Sauté the pork, veal and shallots in 8 tablespoons butter and blend well with salt to taste and 1/2 cup cognac. Do not cook completely — merely mix over heat and add the crumbs and parsley. Add seasonings to taste. Combine with the truffles in the turkey and stuff lightly. Sew up the vent and truss the turkey.

    Brown the turkey well in butter or butter and oil mixed and place the bird on a bed of the julienne carrots, leeks and celery in a large braising pan. Add the butter or butter and oil and 1 1/2 cups white wine and turn heat to high. Cover pan, reduce heat, and cook for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, basting the bird occasionally with equal parts of melted butter and white wine. When the bird is tender, remove to a hot platter and strain off the pan juices. Reduce the juices to 2 cups and thicken with beurre manié. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground white pepper and add remaining 1/4 cup cognac.

    Serve with potatoes Anna and braised celery. Drink a fine Château-bottled Médoc — a Château Latour or Palmer.

    (taken from House and Garden Magazine, 1965)

  2. I love the idea of the person who reads the story of Adam and Eve and thinks, "An apple? They lost their immortality for a piece of uncooked fruit?" And then goes on to imagine the food which would merit sacrificing your demi-god-like existence. Good pastry is evidently on his mind, as well as roasted turkey. "I'd risk eternal hellfire for, let me think . . . a slice of ganache-filled sponge cake, or maybe a peach tarte, or how about one of those things with the cream and the chocolate and the crispy layers . . ." To Brillat-Savarin, the Garden of Eden was like the diner diet plate: some folliage surrounding a sad little hamburger patty and maybe a few carrots and celery sticks. Who'd want to live forever on that?