Culinary Arts Project

Like Skin off a Duck’s Back – Duck, Chicken Galantines and some Meat Glue – Day 51


  • When roasting butternut squash – consider adding honey, it really elevates the taste.
  • You can use meat glue (Activa) to ‘glue’ lamb and scallops together and get an amalgamated surf ‘n turf.
  • Don’t be afraid to use bread crumbs in ground meat and charcuterie – they act as a binder, but also ‘lighten’ up preparations. Sometime charcuterie can be a bit too ‘heavy’.

Every two weeks, there is a charcuterie buffet done by whoever is in charcuterie class. Next week we have ours, so we have to start thinking about the display design, which has to be pre-submitted. I asked around about what gets eaten up at these buffets, and clearly the duck galantine and chicken galantine are the big hits. They certainly were one of my favourites at the last one. (the least favourite was the head cheese – surprise surprise!).

Chef John demoing skinning a duck
Chef John demoing skinning a duck
Skin off a duck's back - literally
Skin off a duck’s back – literally

Duck galantine is made by taking a duck ‘stuffing’ of ground duck meat, liver, foie gras, shallots, mushrooms and spinach, and rolling it up in duck skin. Conceptually this sounds reasonably easy, however you have to take the skin off the whole duck in one piece to get a coating big enough. This is definitely not easy. Starting with the whole duck, you have to first cut off the wings at the knuckle, cut the skin around the end of the legs, and then carefully peel the skin off the body, and untuck the wings and legs (sort of like getting a shirt hanger out of a tight shirt). Spencer and I were sharing a duck, he managed to get this half ‘peeled’ without making a hole in the skin, I didn’t do as good a job.

The duck forcemeat in its own skin...wrapped....
The duck forcemeat in its own skin…wrapped….
....and tied
….and tied

Once the skin was off, we could remove the duck meat, grind it up with the liver, and mix in the rest of the ingredients. Because the final product is going to be cooked, we had to sauté a small piece of the mixture to taste for seasoning. More salt! (what else is new!). Once the seasoning was right, next came the meat glue – Activa!.. which is a transglutaminase and acts as a binder. It is apparently naturally occurring, but doesn’t really sound like it – I thought it was a yogurt. Anyway, you add some Activa into the meat so it will hold its shape, then roll up the mixture in the skin, and ‘glue’ it closed with some more Activa, and tie it up with twine. Next we sautéed the ‘sausage’ till nice and brown on all sides, and then braised it in duck stock, sherry, shallots, garlic and thyme. The pot smelt really nice – unfortunately we can’t taste the final product until the buffet. It is served in a reduction of the braising liquid.

...and braised.
…and braised.

We also did a chicken galatine. This was done in a similar way, except that is bound with a panada (a paste of flour, cream, brandy, egg, spice). There was also Madeira. This aroma instantly brought back memories of the delicious dessert sabayon from Level 1 which I can still taste.

It was meatless Monday’s so there wasn’t as much commotion as usual in the family meal section of the kitchen. The highlight for me was Terrence’s roasted squash (secret ingredient: honey).

Meatless monday
Meatless monday
Meat Glue - Activa
Meat Glue – Activa

Grabbed some bread from the bakery kids, and off home to write out tomorrow’s recipes – chorizo and hot dogs!!!!

1 reply on “Like Skin off a Duck’s Back – Duck, Chicken Galantines and some Meat Glue – Day 51”

Considering that I can’t debone or quarter anything without mutilating it, I was delighted to see that I could skin a bird and get the whole thing in one piece. I can do 1 piece fine but 4 pieces and it looks like it was shredded. I have a lot of that duck ballotine in my freezer. It tastes like the sausage-chicken giblet-bread stuffing that my Mom put inside the turkey every Thanksgiving before we learned that it would kill us. We served it in our buffet with a sour cherry sauce, but I think a fresh cranberry sauce would be just as good. I ate 2 slices on toasted school-bread with the last of the cherry sauce for breakfast yesterday.

I did the puff pastry for the pig-in-blanket casing that we wrapped around the hot dogs on buffet night. The hot dogs taste so bad after their first cooking, but then when they are heated in the oven, they are so good, everyone will love them.

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