…and now for something completely different: Phillipe Batton’s Cocotte Of Bacon And Country-Style Cabbage

So I wanted to do something slightly different but altogether satisfying.  Flipping through Iron Chef: The Official Book, I came across Phillipe Batton’s Cocotte Of Bacon And Country Style Cabbage.  The video of the battle can be found here:

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jsN1WdN0Zc%5D
See time indices: 7:53-8:20,9:13-10:00,21:30-22:15 (10 minutes left to go),30:48-31:42

From Iron Chef: The Official Book (p 38-39)

The original recipe was:

1 cabbage (very clearly a savoy cabbage in the video)
12 petite onions (I chose cippolini’s, white pearl onions were not available)
1 kg (~2 lbs) smoked slab bacon (uncut)
500g (~1 lb) girolle (button) mushrooms
1/2 lb of maitake mushrooms (commented on the show/video)
butter for sauteeing the mushrooms (I used rice oil here)
1 clove of garlic
12 small potatoes (I used mini yellow potatoes)
2 L (2 qts) of veal stock (4 packages of Strauss Veal Stock + 4 cups water)
100g chopped parsley (for garnish)
thyme to taste (assumption here is that it is for the bouquet garni)
salt/pepper to taste (I used 2 teaspoons 4:1 salt/pepper mix)
bay leaf (2 used here, as per Thomas Keller’s bouquet garni)
scallions (mentioned on the show/video, but I interpreted as leeks for the bouquet garni)
rosemary (mentioned on the show/video, but I interpreted its use for the bouquet garni)

cippolinis (I'll get pearls next time) and baby yellow potatoes

cippolinis (I’ll get pearls next time) and baby yellow potatoes

girolle (button) mushroooms, thyme, rosemary and leek

girolle (button) mushroooms, thyme, rosemary and leek

thick slab bacon from Vermont Smoke & Cure

thick slab bacon from Vermont Smoke & Cure

trussing the savoy cabbage for blanching

trussing the savoy cabbage for blanching

Because of the listing of scallion, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, parsley, I immediately interpreted that to mean that a bouquet garni was needed for the dish (in fact, you can see Chef Batton removing the herbs from the pressure cooker at the end of  cooking). So I chose to use a bouquet garni from Thomas Keller’s French Laundry Cookbook.

Bouquet Garni (a la Thomas Keller/French Laundry Cookbook, p. 63)
3 Green leek leaves
2 bay leaves
5 thyme sprigs
5 rosemary sprigs
5 parsley sprigs

Preparing the bouquet garni.  I only used two leek leaves here since the leek was so big)

Preparing the bouquet garni. I only used two leek leaves here since the leek was so big)

loading the bouqet garni

loading the bouqet garni

bouquet garni ready to go

bouquet garni ready to go

blanching the savoy for about 5 minutes

blanching the savoy for about 5 minutes

Bouquet garni to the bottom of the pressure cooker...

Bouquet garni to the bottom of the pressure cooker…

...followed by the potatoes and savoy

…followed by the potatoes and savoy

After I loaded the savoy cabbage in, I also loaded in the garlic and then added the potatoes.

blanching the cippolini's for about 2 minutes

blanching the cippolini’s for about 2 minutes

loading in the cippolini's

loading in the cippolini’s

One of the things that concerned me about the dish was the bacon itself.  Upon reading the ingredients, I discovered the bacon had been treated with maple syrup.   My wife helped out by

trying out a piece of the bacon

trying out a piece of the bacon

frying up a thin slice from the front and we both tasted it and it appeared the product was *not sweet*.   So we went ahead and cut up the bacon into ~2″ cubes.

Preparing the bacon for the pressure cooker

Preparing the bacon for the pressure cooker

The other thing I noted was the recipe from Iron Chef: The Official Book, was that the cooking time was specified to be 30 minutes.  In the video – it’s clearly noted that Chef Batton opened his pressure cooker with 10 minutes to go – suggesting the cooking time was more like 45-50 minutes.

sauteeing the button/girolle mushrooms

sauteeing the button/girolle mushrooms

Loading the bacon to the pressure cooker (yes, yes, I know it was in a different order than shown on Iron Chef)

Loading the bacon to the pressure cooker (yes, yes, I know it was in a different order than shown on Iron Chef)

Preparing the maitake mushrooms to be added to the pressure cooker

Preparing the maitake mushrooms to be added to the pressure cooker

Since I added 2 quarts of veal stock (that would be 8 cups of liquid), I added 2 teaspoons of 4:1 salt pepper mix to season this “stew”.  I sealed the pressure cooker, let it come up to pressure (2nd red ring on my Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker) and then let it cook for 45 minutes.

Opening the pressure cooker at the end of cooking

Opening the pressure cooker at the end of cooking

Upon tasting the dish, I was very skeptical because it *was* smoked bacon; I was worried it might be too salty

Getting ready to cut up the very tender savoy cabbage

Getting ready to cut up the very tender savoy cabbage

(or sweet because the bacon had been treated with maple syrup). I carefully removed the savoy by the string and transferred it to one of my revol dishes to be quartered for plating.  My wife and I were both shocked at  how well the dish turned out –  it was absolutely delicious!  The only major problems we found in  this dish was the fact I had used cippolinis.  These onions didn’t hold their form/shape in the dish (they probably broke apart during the cooking) – so white pearl onions it will be from now on.  I’m mighty glad I have another stew option with the coming autumn and winter weather.

Resources

Vermont Smoke And Cure Thick Slab Bacon    – Whole Food Market, Wellesley, MA
Strauss Veal Demiglace    – Whole Food Market, Wellesley, MA

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