The flavour of truffles is something that you either love or hate and, personally I love it. Unfortunately, the price of fresh truffles is way beyond the pockets of most people but you can buy truffles in jars, which are not perfect, the flavour and aroma are less pronounced, but which are OK chopped up as an ingredient in a dish. You can also use them in sauces.
I had some Autumn truffles in a jar that I’d bought on holiday in Bergerac this Summer and I thought that adding a chopped truffle to a pork mince stuffing would be a good way of using one of them. The mixture was made from about 300g pork mince, a handful of chopped parsley, one minced garlic clove (I use a microplane grater for this), one finely-chopped truffle, salt and pepper.
The idea was to use this as a stuffing for a skinned, boned and opened out chicken breast that would then be wrapped in caul fat and roasted. There was clearly too much stuffing for this dish, so the remainder was made into two balls, flattened out to form burger-shaped pork mince patties and then wrapped in more caul fat. These are known as crépinettes in France and will make another meal, which I shall write about in a separate post.
To accompany the chicken, I decided to make potato röstis. These are pretty simple. All you need to do is parboil some peeled potatoes in salted water, allow them to cool and coarsely grate them. The potato flesh is then shaped into round potato cakes. These are then fried until they are crisp and golden on the outside. Some recipes suggest using raw potatoes, but I’ve tried it and it really doesn’t work. Parboiling is definitely the way to go.
You can fry them in butter, oil or duck fat, or a mixture of butter and oil, which stops the dairy solids in the butter from burning. I prefer the latter. They are quite tricky to turn, because they are relatively fragile, so you need to be careful. It helps if you use a low-sided non-stick pan, such as a crepe pan rather than an ordinary frying pan.
Anyway, to accompany the chicken and rösti I decided to do a carrot and parsnip purée and some green beans. I also made a simple sauce with some meat and vegetable stock and the roasting juices, which I reduced slightly and then thickened with beurre manié.
The carrot purée was made by cooking peeled and chopped carrots and parsnips (with the woody core removed) in salted water, with a sprig of rosemary until soft. This was then puréed, after removing the rosemary, with butter and milk and seasoned after tasting.