Chicken Quenelles with Gorgonzola
On Saturday, I got to combine two of my favorite foods: chicken and cheese.
One of my favorite places in the Levallois market is Maison Ferreira, a small family-owned shop which sells fresh farm-raised poultry. From chicken to turkey to game birds and even ostrich, they have top-quality food at very reasonable prices. I had bought some chicken quenelles from them a couple days before after hearing the owner wax poetic about her favorite recipe [in French] for them: a gratin of tomatoes, bacon, quenelles and gorgonzola.
Though a common dish in France, this was the first time I had ever eaten quenelles, which are a simple combination of ground cooked chicken, eggs, and flour made pressed into the shape of palm-sized American footballs or rugby balls. Alone the quenelles would have been bland, but the ingredients provided more than enough flavor. The recipe called for oil-cured sundried tomatoes and smoked pork (for which I substituted smoked turkey), which I heated in a pan with a handful of basil, cut in a chiffonade, and some whole cream (this is France, after all). I chopped the quenelles into bite-size pieces, put them in a casserole dish, then poured the sauce on top. The finishing touch was to dot the top of the dish with small creamy chunks of gorgonzola. Then, into a hot oven for eight minutes.
The next time I make these I’ll use less smoked meat and more sundried tomatoes as the salty meat was a little overpowering, but otherwise this was a fantastic dish. The cream, cheese, and quenelles made for an unctuous sauce that was a hit with the whole family.