This is my version of poulet demi-deuil, a classic French dish made by placing shaved black truffles under the skin of a chicken, resembling the veil of a woman in mourning. It seems that the appearance is only ‘half mourning’ because some of the bird’s white flesh is still seen; full mourning would be entirely black. Traditionally chicken in half mourning is braised, however I prefer the flavour and look of roast chicken, so this is my variation. While truffles are indulgent, a little goes a long way and you can buy a small one online starting at around $75 (with delivery) from Fish River Truffles near Bathurst. Enjoy it all with an elegant chardonnay such as Soumah Equilibrio. Serve it with some braised lettuce or baked honey carrots if you like. Bon appétit!
This is a great way to use the stock leftover from poaching chicken in dishes such as Hainanese Chicken Rice or Steeped Chicken with Spicy Slaw or take a short-cut with Maggie Beer’s excellent free-range chicken stock.
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Trussing a chicken, or any poultry, means to tie it securely with twine so that the wings and legs stay close to the body.
Trussing makes the bird more compact so that it cooks evenly and helps prevent the wings and ends of the drumsticks from burning. It also gives the cooked chicken a neater, more attractive appearance.
Use kitchen twine (also called butcher’s twine or cooking twine), a strong, unbleached cotton twine. It’s important to use cotton as synthetic twines may melt or burn.
Cut about 130cm of kitchen twine. Place the chicken on its back with the wings facing you. Place the twine underneath the chicken’s back then bring the ends forward between the body and wings (‘under the arms’) then around the outside of the wings and away from you to cross it under the tip of the breast, pulling tightly to secure the wings close to the body. Bring the twine over the tips of the drumsticks then cross it under them, pulling them together. Holding the twine tightly, flip the chicken over onto its breast. Twist the twine around the tail and knot it. Cut off and discard the excess twine.
Poulet demi-deuil is a classic French dish made by placing shaved black truffles under the skin of a chicken, resembling the veil of a woman in mourning. The appearance is only of ‘half mourning’ because some of the bird’s white flesh is still seen; full mourning would be entirely black.