November 10, 2014
poulet au marmelade de épine-vinette
(chicken strips with barberry marmalade)
Is it the rectus femoris or the abductor magnus? According to Vaughan’s Notes on the Osteology and Myology of the Domestic Fowl from 1876, some anatomists consider the muscles to be the same and some consider them to be different. One friend thinks it may be the semimembranosus. I know it’s probably not the vastus externus since the muscle seems to be internal in the thigh. There's not that many muscles in the thigh to choose from, and this is close to the full list.
I find the muscle by placing the meat from a boned‑out chicken thigh flat on my cutting board so the skin side is down. I look for the muscle just off the midline that seems the thickest. Most of the muscle will be partially hidden behind another that is further lateral. If I carefully remove the muscle intact, I’m left with a the remaining thigh meat forming a more even layer. Plus, I now have a separate muscle which is both a perfect size for an amuse‑bouche and is easy to perfectly cook.
This posting started with me watching a video from Australia for what was described as a succulent cranberry chicken recipe. Although I thought there was some dried cranberries in the larder, I knew I still had a baggie full of dried barberries that a friend gave me a while back. So I decided that I would make a sauce out of these and serve them on the unidentified chicken muscle. There’s not much more to it than that!
chicken thighs
fine salt
20 g (14 c)
dried barberries
vegetable oil
35 g (14 c)
onion, diced in size to match reconstituted barberries
1 t
tomato paste
1 t
dark brown sugar
45 ml (3 T)
Aleppo pepper (see note)
1. Bone‑out the chicken thighs and harvest the muscle described above. Set the remaining thigh meat aside for other purposes.
2. Prepare a five‑percent salt‑water brine, and brine the muscles for 1 hour. Rinse the muscles, pat dry, and vacuum pack in a single layer. Cook the 12 muscles by the sous vide method at 60 °C (140 °F) until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Chill in a water‑ice bath.
3. Cover the barberries with water and hydrate for a few hours.
4. Heat a little vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium‑high heat. Drain the barberries and add them to the saucepan along with the diced onion. Salt lightly. Cook until the onions start to soften and the barberries look a bit haggard.
5. While the sauce is cooking, reheat the chicken, still vacuum packed, at 60 °C (140 °F).
6. Add the tomato paste, sugar, and 1 T of the vermouth to the mixture in the saucepan. Taste for salt, and add the Aleppo pepper. As the sauce thickens, add the remaining vermouth.
7. Thread the cooked chicken on individual skewers. Brush both sides with some of the liquid from the marmalade. Place the skewers on individual plates, and top each with a small spoonful of the marmalade.
Note: The Aleppo pepper I use is in the form of large, moist flakes, not ground.
Yield: 12 servings.

© 2014 Peter Hertzmann. All rights reserved.