La Terrine de ris de Veau

eating vincent price

(Terrine of Sweetbreads)

We made this at one of the Eating Vincent Price dinners in Chicago. Normally, I like my sweetbreads breaded and fried and served at Bayonne’s in New Orleans. However, this recipe is quite delicious and will make your dinner guests think you are a great golden god.

You can approach making forcemeat from a couple of angles. You can go the hipster foodie LARP route in which you pretend to be a French chef from 1831 who chops all the meat by hand until it turns into an artisanal version of hamburger, or you can just ask your butcher to grind that shit up for you. Or just buy it already ground. Quit being such a snob.

Terrine Tricks

A couple of tricks for making terrines. Air bubbles are your enemy, but gravity is your friend. After you load all the meat into the terrine, slam that fucker on the counter a couple of times. This will bust up the larger cavities. Then lay a foil covered brick on top. Its weight will slowly press all the meat into a solid loaf with no holes.


This recipe calls for truffles. If you haven’t read my previous articles about truffles, just do yourself a favor. Spend the money. Buy a real goddam truffle. Truffle oil and those shitty furry marbles you get from your favorite grocery stores taste like pig snot. Don’t do it.

How to do veau

As for sweetbreads, if you live in Chicago, contact a decent butcher. There are plenty. My favorite is Butcher & Larder because you can have a sandwich and watch them butcher a side of beef right in front of you. Bloody fun. I love Peoria Packing and Meat Mart on Lake. It’s huge, it has bulk chicken feet, pig skin, and all the cuts. Their prices are unbeatable and they know their shit. Wear a coat.

If you don’t know what sweetbreads are, then you need to get out more. They are the glands of a lamb or a calf, usually the thymus gland, though any of the glands qualify. I’ve only eaten ris de veau, as used in this recipe.

Traditionally, you soak the sweetbreads in brine, then in milk, then rinse and cook. Some cooks skip the milk part. I can’t tell a difference between milk soaked and water soaked. I say skip that step but if you’re a hipster or you prefer following tradition then do it.

La Terrine de ris de Veau
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: French
  • 3 pairs of sweetbreads
  • 3 large or 4 small truffles
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • ½ clove garlic, minced
  • ½ bay leaf
  • a pinch of thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • a little freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoon Madeira
  • 2 tablespoons cognac
Pork Forcemeat
  • 1 pound ground lean pork
  • 2 pounds ground fresh fat pork
  • 1 pound ground lean ham
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  1. Soak the sweetbreads in ice water for 45 minutes. Drain, cover with cold water, bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Drain and chill in ice water. remove covering membrane and connecting cords. Make small slits in the sweetbreads and insert small strips of truffles, using all the truffles. Weigh down with a dinner plate for 15 minutes.
  2. Heat butter in a skillet; add the onion, carrot, shallots, garlic, bay leaf, and thyme. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Arrange the sweetbreads on the bed of vegetables, sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  3. Add fry white wine, Madeira, and cognac. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove sweetbreads ad cook liquid in pan over high heat until reduced to half. Preheat oven to 350*.
Pork Forcemeat
  1. Combine pork, fat pork, and ham with salt, pepper, eggs and brandy.
  1. Optional: line terrine with strips of bacon.
  2. Line bottom and sides of terrine with A quarter inch layer of forcemeat. Sprinkle with some of the cooking liquid. Add a layer of the sweetbreads, add a layer of forcemeat, sprinkling each with the liquid until the terrine is filled. If you used bacon, fold it over the top.
  3. Cover terrine tightly and bake for 1.5 hours. Cool with a weight resting on the contents, then chill overnight before cutting and serving.


Gratin de Queues d’ Ecrevisses


[Crawfish tails in Sauce Nantua]

This is an exhausting dish originally created by Chef M. Hure. I mean that in the best way possible. It requires a lot of prep work, a lot of skill, and takes forever. But the result is delicious and the new skills of making crawdaddy butter and sauce Nantua will serve you well. However, if you like to spend all day prepping and setting up a meez and just getting nerdy in the kitchen, then welcome to your new favorite.

There are six steps to this dish:

  • The fish stock
  • Cooking the crawdad tails
  • crawdad butter
  • sauce nantua
  • sauce hollandaise
  • presentation

The tails are no big deal. And you’ve made Hollandaise so, you know, show no fear.

You can buy fish stock. You can. But if you do you’re a goddam cheater. You’re going to go to your fish monger anyway to get the écrevisses so pick up some heads and bones while you’re there. Trust me, the look of mild respect on your fish guy’s face is worth it. HOWEVER, if your fish guy makes stock, then fuck it, pick up that stock. But don’t use the stuff from the store. It blows and making your own is fucking worth it.

You don’t have to live in Louisiana to get live crawdaddies. You can talk to these people who will ship you a crate full of wriggling, claw-fighting, angry delicious LIVE crawfish anywhere in the continental U.S. and maybe further, I don’t know, I don’t work for them.

The work in this dish comes from making the crayfish butter and the sauce Nantua. Sauce Nantua is béchamel sauce with crayfish butter added. How I have lived so many years without the knowledge such a divine thing exists, I’ll never know. It is a testament to the deprivation of my childhood and the depravity of my youth that I’ve managed to avoid Sauce Nantua. I would put it on everything. I would put it on grits, I swear to God.

Gratin de Queues d'Écrevevisses
Recipe type: Seafood
Cuisine: French
Serves: 4
Crayfish tails in sauce Nantua.
  • 2 pounds fish bones and heads
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon peppercorns
  • a few stalks parsley
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1½ cups dry white wine
  • 4 tablespoons white tarragon vinegar
  • 2 pounds (about 36-40) defrosted crayfish tails
  • ½ cup butter
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 6 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • ½ cup cream
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • crayfish butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cognac
  1. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes.
  1. Pop the tails into the stock.
  2. Simmer for 5 minutes.Remove the crayfish and cool slightly, then slit the tails with scissors or a knife, remove the meat, and set aside.
  3. Strain the stock, let it cool, and freeze for later.
  4. Save the shells.
  1. Crush the shells in mortar with the butter then put through a food mill to strain out the shells.
  1. Melt the butter.
  2. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper.
  3. Take it off the heat, add the hot milk. Return.
  4. Cook for about 2 minutes, until sauce is smooth and thickened. You know, like a fucking béchamel sauce.
  5. Stir in cream and the onion.
  6. Cook over low heat for an hour until the sauce is reduced by a third.
  7. Stir in the crayfish butter and set aside.
  1. In a small bowl, add the yolks, cream, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne.
  2. Set the bowl in a saucepan of hot water and beat well until the sauce begins to thicken.
  3. Bit by bit, add the butter until you have a gorgeous bright yellow sauce.
  4. Set aside.
  1. Add the tails and the shallots, salt, and pepper into a skillet of hot butter. Stir until the shallots are cooked and the tails are hot all the the way through.
  2. Add the cognac and light her up. Let it burn out.
  3. Strain the sauce Nantua over the tails and cook, stirring, until the sauce is hot and bubbling. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the Hollandaise.
  4. Divide into 4 au gratin dishes and brown for about two minutes under a hot broiler.


Gourmandise Brillat-Savarin

(fillet of veal with mushrooms)

Brillat-Savarin, the author of the historic Physiologie d’ Gout lent his name to this dish (and a baking pan), once served at Laserre. I don’t know if the dish Price enjoyed was the actual Gourmandise preferred by Brillat-Savarin, or a dish inspired by it. The recipe in the Treasury is not the original, as described by the famous gourmand.

In the Treasury, the dish is all about veal and a sugarless crepe. This is certainly a delicious and hearty plate, but to call it gourmandise is perhaps being overly generous. The term indicates a dish that has been elevated on every level. A dish where the highest level of genius has been applied to the selection of ingredients, to the construction of the recipe, to the execution in the kitchen, and to the presentation at the table. No aspect should be left to chance. This is the mindset Alinea and El Bulli are built on, the mindset every great chef aspires to.

There are many changes that have changed the environment of restaurants and the expectations of their guests since 1965. Portions are smaller, ingredients are likely more local, seasonal, and feature more prominently in the flavor profile. People don’t smoke in restaurants any more. They care about their health, they worry about their waistline. They have moved away from the rarer woodland creatures such as bear, thrush, and lark.

All of these reasons and sure more I haven’t considered account for the disappearance of this dish from the modern menu, and certainly account for the changes Price affected when including it in his collection.

Oreiller de la belle Aurore

Here are the ingredients, as reported by Cuisine a la Francais, given without order or volume, the infamous L’oreiller de la Belle-Aurore, (the pillow of the beautiful Aurora) a dish Brillat-Savarin dedicated to his mom.

  • one veal cutlet
  • one pork cutlet
  • chicken livers
  • partridge
  • mushrooms
  • duck
  • rabbit saddle
  • chicken breast
  • blanched sweet breads

All of these are baked together in a crepe pillow. That Brillat-Savarin named this dish for his mother indicates it must have been very, very good. You don’t name a dish after your mom unless it exceeds all the other dishes you’ve ever enjoyed by a good mile.

I think this dish could be adapted for the modern plate by constructing it on a smaller scale, instead of a pillow you can rest your head upon, perhaps something you might place beneath a piece of jewelry.

Here is the recipe from the Treasury.

Gourmandise Brillat-Savarin


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 fillet of veal
  • Filling
    tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped shallots
  • 3 mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup dry sherry
  • salt and pepper
  • Presentation
  • Buttered ramekin
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 unsweetened crepe


  1. In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of butter and in it sauté 1 fillet of veal, about 1 inch thick and weighin about 6 ounces, for six minutes, or until browned and almost cooked. Set aside and keep warm.
  2. Filling
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet, sauté shallots and mushrooms, for about 3 miniutes Add sherry and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes. Dash of salt and pepper.
  4. Presentation
  5. Spread half the mushroom mixture in the center of the crepe. Place the fillet on top and cover with the remaining mushroom mixture. Fold the sides of the crepe over to enclose completely. Place into buttered dish. Dot with 1 tablespoon of butter and Parmesan. Bake for 5 minutes.
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La Sole Fourée au Fumet de Meursault

(stuffed Sole poached in Mersault)

Treasury of Great recipes
Treasury of Great recipes

Another complex dish with instructions that are perhaps not entirely relevant for today’s home cook. In the image above, the entire first paragraph tells you how to filet a sole for stuffing.

Of course, if you are an aspiring amateur chef, or just want to be a kitchen badass, then learn how to do this because it is masterclass skill. Sole’s are flat fish so their spine is located on their side, not dorsally as one would expect. Removing the spine, then fileting for stuffing, is a gigantic pain in the ass. Chefs leave it to staff and a lot of houses have just one guy who does all their fish work. This guy is a manic genius who can gut and filet a sole with their goddam eyes closed. You are not that guy. Ask your fishmonger to do it for you.

However, the recipe in the treasury makes one thing clear: this is an impressive dish. it’s worth all the trouble. Sole is one of the most delicious fish in the ocean. It is delicate and flavorful and when paired with quality ingredients, it manages somehow to offer their flavors in a swoonful marriage of taste while standing on its own.

La Sole Fourée au Fumet de Meursault
Recipe type: Seafood
Cuisine: French
Stuffed sole poached in Meursault.
  • One 12 oz sole per person
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 mushrooms, minced
  • 1 truffle, minced
  • ¼ pound raw sole
  • 1 small egg white
  • ½ cup cream
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • nutmeg
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • ½ cup Meursault (or a dry white wine)
  • ½ cup fish velouté
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup cream
  • lemon for squeezing
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • sliced truffle for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350•
  1. Filet one small sole per guest for stuffing
  1. Sauté mushrooms and truffle in a pan with butter, until the mushrooms are tender
  2. Roughly chop ¼ pound of raw sole, no skin or bones. Add to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
  3. Add fish to a pan over a bowl of ice, and slowly work in the egg white. Stirring comnstantly, gradually add cream, until you have a creamy mixture that will hold its shape when a half a teaspoon is dropped into simmering water. Season with salt, white pepper, and nutmeg.
  4. Stuff each sole with the forcemeat.
  5. Place the fish in a buttered baking dish, season with salt and pepper, add shallots, fish stock, and Meursault. Cover with buttered paper and bake for 30 minutes. Transfer to serving dish and keep warm.
  1. Reduce the liquid in the baking pan to half. Stir in the velouté.
  2. In a bowl, combine egg yolks and cream with a little of the hot sauce. Then stir that into the remaining sauce and cook, stirring rapidly, for 2 minutes.
  3. Hit it with some lemon juice, butter.
  4. Pour it over the fish, garnish with truffles.


Le Coquelet à la Moutarde

Lauren Parton's Chicken Mustarde.

(Roast game hens with mustard)

[Le] Coquelet à la Moutarde is a fantastic recipe. It’s simple. It’s quick. And I can tell you it is delicious. Lauren Parton cooked a version of this for our dinner at the Everleigh Club.

Your uppity food snob friend is going to to say “Using chicken is ok, I guess; but there’s a subtle improvement when the mustarde is paired with game hen.” Which is license for you to kick your friend in the balls because game hens are not some kind of weird pheasant. They’re fucking chickens and your friend is an idiot.

This is another comfort food recipe. It’s just so good, so filling, so perfect. You’ll never see it ganked up into some kind of weird amuse. It’s like meatloaf. It cannot be changed without a war.

Le Coquelet à la Moutarde

Le Coquelet à la Moutarde


    Game hens
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 ready to cook Cornish Rock hens, about 1.25 to 1.5 pounds each
  • butter for the pan
  • Sauce
  • 1/2 cup béchamel sauce
  • the yellow rind of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cream
  • salt
  • pepper
  • butter
  • Presentation
  • 2 to 4 rounds of bread
  • butter


    Game Hens
  1. Preheat oven to 400•
  2. Combine to a smooth paste: butter, mustard, salt and pepper.
  3. Spread this over the hens.
  4. Put the birds into a buttered roasting pan, then roast them in the oven for 1 hour, basting occasionally.
  5. When the birds are cooked, quarter or halve the birds, arrange them in a shallow pan and keep hot.
  6. Sauce
  7. Make 1/2 cup béchamel sauce
  8. Mince the lemon rind. Cover it with water and boil for 10 minutes. Drain ans reserve the rind.
  9. To the liquid in the roasting pan, add Dijon and cook, storring in all the juices. Add béchamel and salt.
  10. Stir in cream and bring the sauce to a boil. Add the lemon peel, pepper, and butter.
  11. Presentation
  12. Sauté the bread rounds in hot butter. Drain. Arrange the croutons on a serving platter. Turn and coat the hens in the sauce, then transfer them to the croutons. Strain sauce over everything.
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Le Poulet en Civet au Vieux Bourgnogne

(Chicken Ragout of Old Burgundy)

You’re gonna do what with my what?

Here is a dish born on the stoves of French mothers. I think most great food, most great recipes, probably started on a stove top of an old world mom who had sparse ingredients but no notion of what to do with them. Some mom ended up with a pot, a chicken, a handful of vegetables, and some old wine. This is what she created and, decade after decade, tweaked, handed down, and perfected.

This stew is simple in it’s preparation but the flavor is not simple. The flavor takes its time to marry all the individual colors of the palette of this dish, yet not lose them. You can taste each ingredient alone, yet you can savor them as they unite into a stew greater than their myriad selves.

My friend the food snob told me “The French use lardons, not bacon.” I punched my friend in the nose to explain that lardon and bacon are the same fucking thing. Lardons are just very thick slices of pork belly with a lot of fat, sliced about the size of a half a standard American French fry. Using bacon, as Price does in his version of this dish, is perfectly acceptable and as long as you use bacon that is good and fat, it doesn’t affect the flavor at all. However, if you are an idiot who chars their bacon, you will fuck this dish up to the nth degree. DO NOT BURN YOUR BACON. If you do, throw it away, clean the pan, and start over, you misbegotten savage. If you have a hard on for lardons then by all means  pop on your beret, hop on your adorable vintage bicycle, and go to your local French grocery store. They will give you bacon. Then punch you in the face. And steal your bike. Merci.

At the end of this recipe, Price explains Civet is a French ragout thickened with the blood of the animal featured. In this case, you’d use fresh chicken blood. You can collect blood from your bird or ask your butcher for a small container of fresh blood. Covered, with a little vinegar mixed in, blood will keep for a day or two at the most–if you’re lucky. Better to use it immediately. Just swirl it in at the very last minute, after the stew has slowed past simmer to just being hot–just like you’re adding butter. Do not boil, it will gum up and turn into unappetizing clots.

This is another incident of Price making a clear distinction between Vincent Price the horror actor and Vincent Price the gourmand. How awesome would it have been to have a recipe in which Price extolls the virtue of fresh blood! Dammit!

And, yes, I believe this is essentially coq au vin. The only difference I can find is the inclusion of marc de Bourgogne or the use of blood to make it a civet.

The last paragraph also mentions how the classic French dish incorporates cooked kidneys and cockscomb. These are added a l’minute. I would think the best way to add the cockscomb is to braise it then use it as part of the garnish. I went over to Forager Chef to get what I believe is an authentic recipe for cooking these unusual chicken parts.

I look forward to your pictures.

Le Poulet en Civet au Vieux Bourgnogne


  • 3 strips bacon, diced (it's fucking lardons)
  • Medium onion. chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 3 pound chicken, quartered
  • 1/4 cup marc de Bourgogne or cognac
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups good red Bergundy
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 sprigs parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • Garniture
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 8 small onions, peeled
  • 4 large mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 slices bread
  • garlic butter
  • Optional
  • fresh chicken blood
  • chicken kidneys
  • cock's comb


  1. In a braising kettle put bacon, onion, and carrot. Cook over moderateheat until bacon is crisp and vegetables are lightly browned.
  2. Add the chicken and brown on all sides.
  3. Add Bourgogne or cognac and ignite. When the flame goes out, sprinkle in flour and stir until it's mixed well into the drippings in the pan.
  4. Add Burgundy, stock, salt, garlic, parsley, thyme, peppercorns, and bay leaf.
  5. Bring to a boil, then simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.
  6. Garniture
  7. While the chicken is simmering, crisp up the bacon.
  8. Boil the little onions until tender.
  9. Sauté mushrooms in butter until lightly browned.
  10. Set aside and keep warm.
  11. Toast the bread; trim; then spread with the garlic butter. Cut into triangles to make croutons.
  12. Presentation
  13. Check the seasoning of the sauce and correct with salt and pepper, if needed.
  14. Arrange chicken pieces on a warm serving platter and strain the sauce over them.
  15. Garnish with the onions, bacon, mushrooms, and garlic croutons.
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Vocabulary Lessons

Click to hear Le Poulet en Civet au Vieux Bourgogne in French.

  • Poulet=Chicken
  • Civet=stew
  • Vieux=old
  • Bourgogne=Bergundy

Guirlande de Suprêmes en Gelée

EVP-POSTE2In the introduction for this dish, Price tells us at the Hostellerie de la Poste they make it with quail, and garnish the dish with their heads, which Price sort of brushes off and claims he’d  “. . . sooner have it without the heads.”  Oh come on—you were in House of Wax and The Tingler. You put quail heads on everything.

This is the first truly complicated dish in the Treasury of Great Recipes. It covers an entire page, uses exceptional ingredients, requires you to make aspic and force meat and build an aspic ring top down in a mold.

It’s also one of the recipes where Price changes the ingredients and gives us a window into mid 20th century America where getting fresh quail may not have been as easy as trolling though the frozen poultry section at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

In Florida, where I grew up, we had Bobwhite quail. You could hear them in the morning, and their call really did sound like they were calling out “Bob White!?” incredulously, like they ran into him walking down the street and couldn’t believe it.

They were delicious.

My grandfather raised quail for a little while to sell to local bird dog trainers. He had a small green house with about 30 bobwhites and every morning it was a chorus of hailing, which woke up the dog (he had a blue tick hound named Champ) and pretty much everyone else in the neighborhood.

In Guirlande de Suprêmes en Gelée, Price swaps the quail for chicken breasts. I’m going to deliver the recipe as is but I strongly urge you to use quail instead. And if you get them whole, roast the heads a little and use them as a garnish. If you use quail, swap the cheesecloth for twine when you braise them.

Finally, its the first recipe in which there is a mistake, albeit a tiny one. In the steps for making the aspic, Price tells us to “Gradually beat in the cool chicken stock.” But the chicken stock has not been mentioned previously and I have no idea how much to beat in. Since it is supposed to end up as a quart, I guess I’ll have to add it in slowly and eyeball the damn thing.

Guirlande de Suprêmes en Gelée


    The chicken breasts
  • 3 whole chicken breasts, bone in (or 6 quail)
  • 6 tablespoons cognac
  • 6 tablespoons Madeira
  • Chicken forcemeat
  • 1 cup raw chicken meat
  • 2 tablespoons foie gras
  • 1 small truffle, diced
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash white pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 quarts chicken stock
  • Aspic
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 envelopes plain gelatin
  • 1/2 cup cracked ice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • dash of Madeira
  • 6 slices foie gras
  • 6 slices truffle
  • 6 slices boiled ham
  • Presentation
  • Watercress (and quail heads) for garnish
  • Apple and Truffle Salad
  • 1 apple peeled and diced
  • 1 large truffle, thinly sliced
  • 1 heart romaine lettuce, shredded
  • salt
  • pepper
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • Cool chicken stock (unknown quantity)


    Chicken Breasts
  1. Bone and skin the chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise. Remove the small muscle on the underside of each and set aside. Place each half between wax paper and pound them thing with a mallet or the back of knife. Trim each into a neat triangle, reserving the trimmings. Put into a ceramic dish with Madeira and cognac and marinate for three hours. Cut all the trimmings and muscles into small pieces and measure one cup to make forcemeat.
  2. Forcemeat
  3. In a food processor (Price says use a blender) mix the raw chicken, 2 table spoons foie gras, diced truffle, egg white, salt, pepper, and nutmeg until the mixture is smooth.
  4. Add heavy cream and blend for 20 seconds or until the cream is blended into the meat.
  5. Drain the chicken breasts, reserving the marinade. Spread each breast (or stuff each quail) with a layer of the forcemeat. Roll them up "like jelly rolls" and tie inside cheese cloth, tightly. Arrange in a skillet, add the marinade and enough chicken stock to cover. Bring to a boil, cover, and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Strain cooking liquid into a saucepan and add enough chicken stock to measure a quart. Cool. Cover breasts (quail) and chill.
  6. Aspic
  7. In a saucepan, beat egg whites, gelatin, and ice until the egg whites are frothy. Gradually beat in the cool chicken stock. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Check the flavor and correct with salt and pepper and a dash of Madeira. Strain through s sieve lined with cheesecloth. Cool to room temperature. This makes 1 quart of aspic.
  8. Pour a 1/4 inch layer of the cool, but still iquid, aspic into a 6 cup ring mold, and chill until aspic is set. Arrange foie gras slices with truffl in the center around the center of the mold (remember, you are working upside down so put the truffle down first, then the foie) then cover with a thin layer of aspic. Chill again. Place a cooked chicken breast (yeah, take it out of the cheesecloth) on each slice of foie. Add liquid to half the height of the chicken breasts and chill. Add liquid to just cover the breasts.
  9. Cut the ham into 2 inch rounds. Overlap them all around the mold (you're building the floor of the dish). Add aspic to fill the mold. Chill.
  10. Presentation
  11. When ready to serve, unmold onto a cold serving plate. Garnish with watercress (or quail heads) and fill the center with apple and truffle salad.
  12. Apple and truffle salad
  13. Combone apple, truffle, lettuce, salt, pepper and the juice of 1/2 lemon. Mix sour cream and cream, pour over salad and toss lightly.
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Sauce Américaine

It is not an American sauce. It is a French sauce created on the fly for an American guest at a Parisian restaurant cheffed by Pierre Fraisse, around 1860. A guest was in a hurry and ordered lobster. Fraisse didn’t have time to make the usual complicated sauce for lobster so he threw together this classic. Maybe. Or it was the sauce served to passengers aboard ships from France headed to America. Or it was named after Amorica, a region of Brittainy. Or it originated in America and Fraisse brought it back.

Nobody knows.

It isn’t too hard to make. Americans can get a decent lobster pretty much anywhere. Hell, you can pick up a live one in Kansas city, far from any ocean. So, you know, no excuse.

The sauce was originally created to go with lobster and usually the meat is steamed then married with the sauce just before it is served. But the Boule d’Or used it for their Quenelles Ambassade, a genius move the Prices loved and brought back to their home dinners in Los Angeles and New Mexico.

The recipe they published, however, is total bullshit as it is missing a key ingredient in Sauce Américaine—the fucking lobster.  I don’t know why the lobster isn’t part of the sauce. Every other ingredient is right. There are other lobster dishes in the book and even instructions for making lobster butter using the shell, so using the shell for Sauce Américaine doesn’t seem like a stretch for their MadMen audience of 1965. I’m baffled.

Below is the classic French sauce. (In the recipe for Quenelles Ambassade, I present the published version with loud reservations.)

Sauce Américaine


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound whole lobster, steamed and shells removed
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1 cup shrimp or fish stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper and pinch of cayenne pepper


  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a sauté pan. When it's hot, add the shells.
  2. Saute the shells for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they turn bright red.
  3. Add the shallots and garlic and saute for 1 minute.
  4. Stir in the tomato puree.
  5. Flambe the brandy.
  6. Pour in the shrimp stock and white wine.
  7. Season with parsley, salt, and pepper.
  8. Bring the liquid up to a boil.
  9. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and strain into a sauce pot.
  11. Whisk in the cream and bring up to a boil.
  12. Reduce to a simmer.
  13. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  14. Add in the 3 tablespoons butter.
  15. Season with the salt and cayenne.
  16. Read more at:
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Tournedos Masséna

(Beef fillets with Madeira and truffle sauce)

André Masséna

This recipe for Tournedos Masséna is from the Hotel Boule d’Or, in Chinon, a historic town in the heart of the Loire Valley, known as the garden of France. Masséna most likely refers to André Masséna, one of the original eighteen Marshals of the Empire, a hero of French military prowess. He was the only one of the great generals who did not receive formal training. He is considered a hero in France with everything from a graveyard to this dish named after him.

Tournedos are a small cut of meat, nearly always beef, taken from the most tender part of the animal and formed into a round steak. They’re usually about 3/4 to 2 inches thick and because they are very lean, are usually wrapped in bacon or suet. They’re small, only 5 oz. and are served as a pair, grilled or broiled in a shallow pan.

Because of their lack of marbling and fat, which always carries the most flavor of beef, tournedos are often served with highly flavorful garnishes and sauce, like in this recipe, which adds both Madeira and truffles to the sauce.

I recently dined at a nice little place here in Chicago, Ricardo Trattoria, and had my first true experience of fresh truffles. Ricardo’s serves risotto with summer truffles, which have a light, creamy colored interior under a dark skin. When the plate arrived, it was crowned with a lacy tiara of white truffle shavings. My first bite was revelatory–until that bite, I’d never really understood the impact of fresh truffle. Now I’m an absolute maniac. I’d put it in my coffee if I could figure out how.

Tournedos Masséna calls for finely chopped truffles but I’m going to tell you to shave them instead. You can pick up a good truffle knife at Northwest Cutlery in Chicago. Just do it.

Don’t cheat. Don’t go buy some truffle oil at Trader Joe’s. Don’t buy some of those cheap tiny Chinese truffles at the liquor store that look like furry marbles. Don’t. Sack up and buy real truffles. Go to Roederer and order a nice 4 oz black summer truffle. They’re expensive (though they can be much, much more expensive)1

This is also an example of Price referring to canned ingredients. However, this time I think it works. Artichokes are a pain in the ass to do yourself and you’ll never get the flavor you can get from the canned brine. Hell, I drink that shit straight.

Tournedos Messéna


  • 2 fillets of beef, 5 to 6 oz each.
  • 2 canned artichoke bottoms
  • liquid from the artichoke's can
  • 2 three inch rounds of bread
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Madeira
  • 1/2 cup beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped truffle
  • 2 tablespoons butter


  1. Salt and pepper your beef.
  2. Warm the artichokes i their own liquid.
  3. Poach 8 slices of beef marrow in simmering salted water for 3 minutes. Keep warm.
  4. Sauté the bread in butter. Drain on paper towel.
  5. Cook the fillets in butter in a hot skillet for 5 minutes on each side until well browned but still rare. Transfer to a warm serving dish, placing each fillet onto the bread. Drain butter and fat into the pan.
  6. Sauce
  7. Add Madeira to the pan and reduce by half.
  8. Add the stock and chopped truffles. Swirl in remaining butter.
  9. Presentation
  10. Arrange an artichoke bottom on each fillet, put 4 slices of the poached marrow in each artichoke cup, and spoon sauce over all.
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  1. I’ve heard a rumor the restaurant subsequently let the truffle rot. Expensive compost.

Soupe à l’Oignon

The ingredients.

(Onion Soup)

These days, Taco Bell and Denny’s provide our go-to late night drunk meals[*. Unless you live in Chicago, where there are endless opportunities for post midnight rally meals, most especially the ten billion taquieras up and down Western ave]. But if you’re French or you live in 1954, some place that serves soup would be your first choice and if you’re cool, it would be a place that served onion soup, or, soupe à l’oignon.

Onion soup has few contenders for it’s fight to be the greatest soup ever. I’ll admit lobster bisque and gumbo are right up there1 but onion soup provides the most recuperating properties you’re going to need if you’re tanked.

I’m not saying you will only enjoy soupe à l’oignon when you’re drunk. But if you’re at the end of a beautiful night of revelry and libations with your friends and you’d like to pack something on top of all that booze to keep it from escaping, then may I suggest onion goddam soup.

First of all, SLO wins because it takes advantage of time. Gumbo and bisque don’t take half the time you need to make a proper onion soup. Sure, gumbo needs a few minutes for the roux, and you need a scuba license to make a decent lobster bisque. But still, they’re quickish.

Soupe à l’oignon requires two steps that take an entire fucking day: 1) making beef stock; 2) booking down the oignons.

Making beef stock should be like a religious experience. It is how we call down the angels who lay their hands on the bones and deliver magic to the process. It takes hours and hours and it makes your house smell absolutely edible. Cooking down onions is the same kind of thing. You just stand there with a big pot2, stirring and waiting as the heat breaks down the sugars in the vegetable and the whole mess of them melt into a brown sticky layer of pure saveur. Then you add the stock. Then you swoon.

Chicken soup will cure the common cold, of that I am convinced. But onion soup, made with love, made over time, will transport you to a place of magic and beauty, that will recharge your inebriated soul.

After a late night in Paris we used to go to Les Halles, the large outdoor markets, where could get steaming bowls of of savory onion soup to revive us. Late or early, this hearty soup is one of my all-time favorites.–Vincent Price”

Can you imagine being a butcher in Les Halles, walking to your booth with a half a cow on your shoulder, passing Vincent Price and his wife, a little buzzed from a night of fine wine and casserolets de la sole d’Laserre, laughing and eating soup amid the sanguine streams of lamb, chicken, pheasants, pigs, and fish?

Soupe à l’Oignon


  • 3 tablespoons bacon drippings
  • 4 large onions, chopped fine (I prefer them thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, mashed
  • parsley sprig
  • pinch of thyme
  • 1 quart beef stock or brown chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon cognac
  • 1 slice toasted French bread per bowl (you can also ask for day old bread and slice it)
  • Parmesan cheese (you may also use Gruyere and Parmesan together)
  • a little melted butter


  1. Heat the bacon grease in a deep saucepan.
  2. Sauté the onions until they are just soft.
  3. Add the flour, salt, and pepper, garlic. Cook until mixture is golden brown but not burned (or until they are caramelized)
  4. Add parsley, thyme, stock and wine. Simmer for 3/4 or an hour, then add the cognac.
  5. Presentation
  6. Serve in individual ovenproof bowls with 1 slice of toasted French bread in each (you can layer a couple of slices if you want a heartier bowl). Fill with the soup then top with the cheese and a little melted butter. Place under the broiler until the cheese melts and bubbles and forms a crust.
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  1. Fine. Gumbo is technically a stew and bisque is a fucking bisque, but they’re both served in a bowl and will be on the menu under soup.
  2. And a beer or six