Friday, March 4, 2011

A Jab at Jell-O - Ouefs en Gelees

There is a saying...  "Real men don't eat quiche."

This little tidbit of supposed wisdom has never made sense to me.  I have always assumed it was coined by someone with certain amount of prejudice.   After all, quiche is nothing more than scrambled eggs (albeit with cream) that have been baked in a pastry shell in the oven.  In essence, it is a scrambled egg pie.

News Flash!! Guys like pie.

With Chicken pot pie, Shepherds pie and Apple pie usually being the top picks by men the world over.

That being taken into account, scrambled egg pie (quiche) usually contains some form of meat... Not always, but I would say over 50% of the time the recipes include things like Sausage, Bacon, Ham, Clams or any combination of the a fore mentioned delights of the carnivore's diet. 

News Flash!!   Guys like meat.

Especially those having been preserved via copious quantities of nitrates & nitrites. (Oh yea!)

Thus, following this thought process, I am sure you can understand my confusion over the somewhat ludicrous statement that "Real men don't eat quiche"

There is, however, a "food" that I believe would have been a better fit in the "Real men don't eat...." concept.


This is where my own prejudices come into play.  I, personally, have never been overly fond of Jell-O or other gelatin based desserts.  Not even as a child attending Church potlucks.  I always avoided the pink and green CoolWhip/Jell-O salads along with the three tiered gleaming red mound with grapes suspended in the center... and don't get me started on the proverbial Lime Jell-O Marshmallow Cottage Cheese Surprise... (shudder)  If I am not going to eat sweetened fruit flavored Jell-O then why; Oh WHY would I want to eat meat flavored Jell-O?

Yes, it' sort of tastes like meat, and I DO like meat; but it's not really "meat".  It's more of a "delicate suggestion" of meat; the very essence of bridge parties, tea parties and "luncheon"; not lunch, not brunch... luncheon.  What the heck is a luncheon?  I am not really sure, but obviously there ain't no meat bein' served.

Be that as it may...  Real men face their fears head on.

Thus, after much soul searching, I resigned myself to face my own fear of said aspic by biting the bullet and making Ouefs en Gelee, which is a fancy French way of saying "Eggs suspended in meat flavored Jell-O" (it sounds more appetizing in French)  So, armed with a little left over consommé, a little fortitude and a tweeked Laura Calder recipe, the Gelatinous Journey began.

Ouefs en Gelees

2 Large Eggs, boiled or poached
1 3/4 cups Chicken Consommé (you can use stock, Laura Calder did on her show)
1 TB Unflavored Gelatin
1 TB Armagnac or Cognac
Fresh Tarragon leaves

Place 2 eggs (I did 4 cause I wanted to make a little egg salad too) in a saucepan and cover with cold water.

Place over medium flame and bring to a boil.

Remove from the heat and cover; allowing the eggs to sit for 20 minutes. Then drain and refrigerate.

This is why I held back a little of the consommé I made the other night.

Sprinkle gelatin over the consommé and allow it to bloom for 10 minutes. (I should have just done it in the saucepan)

Pour the consommé/gelatin mixture in a saucepan and set over medium low heat.

Add Cognac and stir the mixture until you can no longer see any gelatin granules (the mixture will be clear again)

Spoon a thin layer of gelatin into 4 ramekins and refrigerate them until it becomes slightly tacky but not completely set, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, peel your boiled eggs.

and cut them in half.

When the gelatin is partially set, remove the ramekins from the refrigerator and lay tarragon leaves in the "bottom" (remember, the bottom will be the top when they are unmolded, so lay the leaves vein side up)

Place 1 half of a boiled egg in each ramekin, over the tarragon, yolk side down.

Divide the remaining consommé/gelatin mixture between the ramekins, pouring gently over the backside of the egg half.

Return to the refrigerator for 45 minutes to 1 hour until completely set.
Run a small knife or small frosting spatula around the edge of the ramekin and unmold onto a bed of greens.


On the whole, it really wasn't THAT bad.  I have always loved egg and tarragon together, and the aspic had really delicate chicken/cognac flavor.  It's a texture thing though.  I mean, it didn't kill me to eat it.  I made it, so I ate it.  But it's not something I am going to be salivating for, any time soon.  My Aunt and Mother, however, were unequivocally enraptured.  LOL

So I reiterate....  Real men don't eat aspic.  But, for the record, one should at least be brave enough to try it.   LOL



Martha said...

I congratulate you on your adventure into aspic! I give you credit for being "man" enough to attempt it!
Even though my home town is the homeplace of the Jello Factory..... I must admit I can't get past the yuk factor. But what a work of art!! If you served this at a brunch or luncheon.... people would be so intimidated by the la-de-da factor of your presentation, that they would happily eat it and be too embarrassed to say "yuk"!
Nice job!

Patti T. said...

It is an absolutely beautiful presentation. If you presented it to me, I would eat it, would I every make probably not. I equate gelatinous foods with being sick or in the hospital. Not moments I want to recreate.

Amateur Cook said...

Interesting concept. I started Googling aspic after eating a dessert a family member had made and brought to our Christmas dinner last year. She served us fresh fruits suspended in a sweet tasting aspic/Jello/gelatin. When I pried the 'recipe' out of her it turned out simply to be the juice of tinned fruit salad mixed into the gelatin with fruit stirred in. Marvelous! (Well... At the time).