Thursday, 7 May 2009

Ben's Decent Three Course Meal With Squirrel

My friend Ben took the plunge a few months ago, he's always wanted to work in a kitchen so he left London and moved to Dorset as he got the chance to work and train in a professional restaurant. It's a proper posh resturant with one of those Josper charcoal ovens and they do that sous vide slow cooking water bath thing that Heston Blumenthal does on the TV all the time.

Ben came back to London for a day to perform this special meal cooking for us. You could tell he'd been planning it and with some help from Ella, his girlfriend, we were treated to some proper well decent food.

The starter was quail. One bird per person was rubbed with olive oil, salt and pepper and then put in the hot oven for about 20mins to roast.

When they had roasted they were simply and brilliantly put on our plates and we ate them with our hands occasionally dipping them in garlic mayonnaise. "The perfect starter portion sized bird" Ben mentioned as we ripped them apart and threw them down our necks.

The squirrel came next as the main course. Ben had kept it a mystery to all as to what the meat was only hinting what it could be by showing us the hazelnut stuffing he was going to serve it with as a pun.

The Squirrel was braised for four hours by Ben during the day and he brought them round to mine in a tupperware box. The stock for the braising was a mixture of home made chicken stock and trotter gear, a pigs trotter based stock that St John chef Fergus Henderson invented.

To finish the meal the stock was reduced a bit, then the squirrels were added with some fried pancetta. I've added a picture of the pancetta being diced so you can see Ben's badass black ceramic knife that looks like some mythical demon blade.

Squirrel was served with Jersey Royals and savoy cabbage along with the puntastic hazelnut stuffing.

Squirrel smells like a game bird such as pheasant when cooking. Ben added star anise when braising and this kind of extended but also cleaned that smell making it more fragrant. We were only eating the legs and saddles so at first we all thought it was some small bird or frogs legs. The taste like the smell is similar to pheasant but stronger and darker. The texture of the meat to the eye looks like bird but it's a far denser meat which is closer to the taste and texture of rabbit meat.

That was not the end, more suprises were to come. The pudding was on it's way.

Ella made an incredibly decently sharp rhubarb jelly and put them in some cat moulds.

The Jelly was served with brown bread ice cream which was fucking sublime. All the decentness of a bread and butter pudding distilled into one substance. I ate fuck loads of it not willing to give in to the dark stomach pains of over consumption.

It was a truly amazing selection of things to eat.

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