Over the course of the next week or so I will be sharing the recipes from our New Years Eve dinner party. I know I promised these recipes some time ago; life sometimes gets in the way of best intentions. We’ll start with the appetizer. And I apologize for the poor picture – the mousse looks a little grainy. It’s the fault of the camera, it was actually quite silky. You will need 4 1/2 cup ramekins or decorative molds for this dish. This dish can be made one day in advance and unmolded just prior to serving.
- 8 oz skinned and boned chicken breasts
- 1 large sprig fresh tarragon plus 1/2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 1 strip lemon rind
- 1/4 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 8 slender asparagus stalks
- 2 tbs dry white wine
- 3 tsp powdered gelatin
- 1 3/4 oz cream cheese blended with 1 3/4 oz heavy cream
- 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
- tomato and a green for garnish
- Place the chicken breasts in a sauce pan with the tarragon sprig, lemon rind, half the salt some pepper and 1/2 cup of water. Cover the pan and gently bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the chicken for 20 minutes. While the chicken is cooking, blanch the asparagus in a saucepan of simmering water until just tender. Drain the spears and refresh them under cold running water and place on paper towels to drain. Cut a 2 inch tip from each spear and set them aside. Rough chop the remaining stalks and set aside. Remove the chicken breasts from the pan and drain on paper towels. Strain the stock through a muslim lined sieve increase volume up to 1/2 cup by adding cold water if necessary. Stir the wine into the stock. To make the aspic, dissolve 1/2 tsp of gelatin in 4 tbl of wine stock. this gelatin must be completely dissolved. You can accomplish this by first mixing the gelatin and stock until the gelatin swells. Then place the mixture in a sauce pan over simmering water and stir until all the gelatin is completely dissolved. When a spoon inserted into the mixture comes out clean with no grains of gelatin the mixture is done. DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL! Boiling reduces the setting power. Pour 1 tbl of the gelatin mixture into each of the four molds. Leave the aspic to partially set in the refrigerator – about 5 minutes. Arrange two of the asparagus tips on the partially set jelly and return the molds to the refrigerator until the aspic is completely set, about 10 minutes. while the aspic is setting, roughly chop the chicken and process to a smooth paste in the food processor. Dissolve the remaining gelatin in the rest of the stock and add it to the chicken together with the cream cheese/heavy cream mixture and the lemon juice. Process briefly to blend the ingredients. Place the chicken mixture in a bowl and add the chopped asparagus, tarragon, remaining salt and pepper and mix well. Spoon the mousseline over the set jelly in the molds. Chill the molds until the mousseline is set, about 1 hour. To serve the molds, dip them briefly in hot water and unmold them onto the serving plates. Garnish them with the tomato and greens.
We all decided this dish, served with a cold soup, would be a great dinner on a warm summer day. It sounds so good I may have to make it again – soon!