At first this dish started out as a neccesicity because, there were requests for chicken. Just so you know trying to do modern food in Miami is difficult. Most of the clientele have the food that they are comfortable with and do not want to veer out and try other things. When Joel asked me to come up with the “Chicken” dish, we had already decided on using guinea hen. I thought for a few days how to make a chicken dish something up to the caliber of the food we are doing at Azul.
Don’t get me wrong, that we think we are above chicken whatsoever. I have had and made some of the most delicious dishes using chicken and one of my favorite things in the world is when Soraya (my wife) and I make a whole roasted chicken at the house for dinner. First we brine it for 24 hr. then air dry it in the fridge for 24 hr more. Then start the roast at 500F and after 10-15 min. we drop it to 300-325F. Then skin is like a cracker, and we use a fair amount of acid in our brine so it has a cracker like crunch an a touch of acid to cleanse the palate from the organic chicken fat.
In this Guinea Hen dish we receive local guinea hen whole (head and feet still attached). Just the butchering alone is quite a task. First the breast are removed skin on and then into the cryovac, individually with shallot thyme and olive oil. Cooked SV in a circulator and cooled. Meanwhile the remainder of the skin is removed from the rest of the Hen including the legs. After the legs have been skinned and cleaned they are cured whole in an aromatic salt for 1hr 15min. at room temperature and confit with citrus, vanilla, fresh herbs, and dried spices in duck fat for 1.5hrs., at 275F. The meat is cooled in the fat to room temperature and pulled and folded with the cooking fat, citrus rind, herbs, and sea salt. Once the meat is seasoned it is mixed with Activa RM and rolled inside the remaining hen skin, into individual roulades. These are crisped to order after a half hour stint in the water bath (58.5) to set the proteins of the skin.
An that is just the proteins! (excluding the full protein of black quinoa that is a garnish). Joel, Jacob, and I had been talking about Chowanmushi for a couple of days and I wanted to make an inverted chowanmushi for a more modern take on a japanese classic. Originally it is just a custard of dashi (dried bonito flakes, kelp, and water) mixed with eggs and cooked to a custard. I have taken this definition and ran with it. The “custard” is made from… The base is a soubise of butter, leek, shallot, vidalia onions, cream, and creme fraiche. They are all cooked together until the cream has caramalized and blended until smooth wit hon dashi and white shoyu. I can explain how rich and delicious this puree is. The puree is then hydrated with kappa carragenean, methylcellulose F50 and, xantham gum and using the sauce gun it is molded into pastry flex molds.For the plate they are unmolded to order and heated up in the C-Vap on the plate, the xantham keeps the fat from seperating while the methocel gels as well.
On top of all of this there is an underlying theme of dashi, white shoyu, and garlic through out the dish; The Hen Jus is made with toasted garlic slices, dashi, and white soy, The breast is sous vide with white garlic, the chowanmushi has butter poached garlic, dashi, and white soy, there are garlic flowers as a garnish, and the breasts’ glaze has dashi, white soy and black garlic.
Sous Vide Guinea Hen Breast, Leg Confit Roulade, Inverted Sweetcorn Chowanmushi, Legumes, Dill
The Components include:
Sous Vide Guinea Breast with, Roasted Corn Cob and Black Garlic Glaze, made with Hen Consomme steeped with roasted corn cobs and leaves, Black Garlic, Roasted Garlic, Low Acyl Gellan (what gives the shine while still keeping it clear)
Guinea Leg Confit, wrapped back in its own skin
Sweet Corn Chowanmushi
Legumes, Fresh Favas, Cranberry beans, Lima Beans
Dill Liquid Gel
Toasted Garlic Hen Jus