Philip Harben the first TV chef, was obviously quite a character; his personality comes bursting off the page of his little 1946 Cooking Quickly book. I wrote yesterday about how he instructs the reader to deal with an old boiling fowl – simple really, according to him, simply take a surgical scalpel, take out the bones of the bird, turning it inside out and leaving the skin intact, then marinade it with herbs, garlic and oil and vinegar… sadly at the time he write his book, just at the ned of the war, there was no olive oil available.
So having marinaded the old bird, this is what you should do next:
The next step is to make a good strong chicken stock out of the bones and carcass. beak them up small, and set them to simmer very slowly for at least an hour with carrots, onions, herbs and seasoning.
A good farce or stuffing must now be made, and this can be done while the stock is simmering. For a bird which weighed 4-5 lbs after plucking, you would need about 1½ lbs of this stuffing, consisting of say 1 lb good sausage meat, ¼lb minced streaky bacon, and ¼lb any cooked meat scraps you may have. Alternatively tinned American ‘pork sausage meat’ (with the fat removed) makes a particularly fine basis for stuffing. In this case, since the American product is pure pork meat, 2 or 3 cups of breadcrumbs may be added. To the stuffing add a teaspoonful of mixed herbs, a teaspoonful of mixed spice, 2 piled teaspoonfuls of dried egg (mixed to a smooth cream with a little cooled chicken stock) and plenty of salt and pepper should be added. This farce must be very thoroughly mixed and it must be as smooth as possible – pass it through the mincer again if necessary.
Now you are ready to build up the galantine. Lay a clean pudding cloth on the table, and on it lay the boned chicken, skin side down. On this spread a layer of stuffing, and then some of the marinated strips and pieces – the strips of bacon and chicken should run the long way of the chicken, not across it. repeat until the stuffing and pieces are all used, Now carefully bring the edges of the chicken skin together and sew them carefully, so the bird resumes something like its original form. Being the edges of the cloth over and tie it all up into a neat tube-shaped parcel.
The galentine is now ready to be cooked in chicken stock. Choose a vessel which will contain it, so that it needs as little stick as possible to cover it. Put it in with the stock boiling, just make sure that the liquid covers it; then reduce the heat until it is just below simmering point – there must be no actual ebullition. Keep it like this or a time reckoned as 20 minutes to the pound of galantine.
When the galentine is done, take it out and set it to cool under gentle pressure – enough to firm it, but not enough to squeeze all the juice out. When it is quite cold, remove the cloth and it is ready to carve. To carve it, cut it straight across, like a breakfast sausage. The slices from the middle are best, and present a delightful pattern made up of areas of pure chicken meat and areas of stuffing flecked with white (marinated chicken breast) dark (liver) and red (bacon).
carefully carved, a galantine will yield 20-30 good portions.
Ebullition, by the way, means the actual state of boiling… I wonder if a Nottingham jar would be a useful pot in which to kook without ebullition, a galantine of chicken?