1 rooster, approximately 2.5 kilograms (5.5 pounds), cleaned and eviscerated
Fleur de sel
4 sprigs thyme, leaves removed from stems
10 black peppercorns, crushed
6 juniper berries, finely chopped
250 grams (8 ounces) lightly smoked bacon, thinly sliced
100 grams (scant 1/2 cup) Zinfandel or other full-bodied red wine
Zinfandel sauce and rooster breast
2 (750-milliliter) bottles Zinfandel or other full-bodied red wine
2 kilograms (4.5 pounds) chicken bones
95 grams (scant 1/2 cup) grapeseed oil
50 grams (31/2 tablespoons) butter
250 grams (8 ounces) shallots
1 head garlic, separated into cloves, skin on
110 grams (1/2 cup) Cognac
8 juniper berries
1 medium carrot, peeled, left whole
1 leek, white part only, about 4 inches in length, left whole
12 black peppercorns, crushed
18 grams (0.64 ounce) 70 percent dark chocolate (6 pistoles)
Red wine vinegar, to taste
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 sprig thyme
250 grams (1 cup) goat’s milk whey
125 grams (1/2 cup) water
115 grams (1/2 cup) whole milk
100 grams (7 tablespoons) salted butter
65 grams (scant 1/2 cup) coarsely ground cornmeal polenta
Pinch of cayenne pepper
150 grams (5 ounces) lightly smoked bacon, cut into lardons
4 small cippolini onions, cut in half vertically
150 grams (5 ounces) wild mushrooms (such as morels, candy caps, and porcini), patted dry
Freshly ground black pepper
Arugula leaves, for garnish
Remove the legs from the rooster. Cut out the backbone and separate the breasts in 2 pieces, leaving them on the bone. Trim off any sharp bone edges and set aside. Separate the thighs and drumsticks at the joint. Season the entire surface of these pieces with fleur de sel, thyme, peppercorns, and juniper. Wrap each piece in a slice of bacon. Place the thighs and drumsticks in a vacuum bag, add the red wine, and seal the bag at 80 percent pressure. Cook sous vide at 144.5°F (62.5°C) for 14 hours. Remove the bag and allow to sit for 15 minutes at room temperature. Then place in a coldwater bath for 15 minutes. Finally, place in the refrigerator in an ice-water bath for 24 hours, refreshing the water bath as needed. The next day, open the bag and remove the drumsticks and thighs, reserving the cooking juices.
Zinfandel sauce and rooster breast
Preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C). Bring the red wine to a boil and simmer to eliminate the acidity and alcohol. Remove from the heat. Caramelize the chicken bones in a large pot with 85 grams (61/2 tablespoons) of the grapeseed oil and 40 grams (scant 3 tablespoons) of the butter. Cook over high heat to extract all the juices from the bones. Add the shallots and the skin-on garlic and cook. Deglaze the pot with the Cognac, add the wine, and then cook over low heat, skimming any particles that rise to the surface. Add the bouquet garni, juniper berries, carrot, leek, and peppercorns; cover the pot and bake in the oven for 5 hours. Strain the cooking liquid, pressing down to extract as much of the juices as possible. Allow to cool. Marinate the reserved rooster breast in this liquid in a covered container in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
The next day, remove the breast, pat dry, and set aside. Return the sauce to a simmer, then add the cooking juices from the bag in which the leg meat cooked. Reduce the liquid to about 300 milliliters (about 11/4 cups). Stir in the chocolate, season with salt and red wine vinegar to taste, and set aside. Season the rooster breast with salt. Heat a pan with the remaining 10 grams (2 teaspoons) grapeseed oil and a small nugget of the remaining butter. When the butter starts to foam, add the breast, skin side down. Caramelize the skin to a golden color, then turn over the breast. Add the remaining butter, the crushed garlic clove, and the thyme. When the butter starts to foam, spoon it over the breast to complete the caramelization. The breast should still be a touch rare in the center. Slice the breast on the bone and set aside.
Combine the whey, water, milk, and half of the butter in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Slowly drizzle the cornmeal into the liquid while whisking continuously to prevent any lumps or sticking. Return to a simmer and reduce the heat. Cook slowly for 11/2 hours, stirring frequently to prevent scorching on the bottom. (If it starts to thicken too much, add a touch of water.) Once it’s cooked, stir in the remaining butter and adjust the seasoning with salt and cayenne. When finished, the polenta should have the consistency of porridge, and have the ability to flow if poured from a cup. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the polenta to prevent a skin from forming. Set aside and keep warm.
Sauté the lardons in a sauté pan set over low heat until the fat renders and the lardons get crispy. Remove from the pan, drain on a paper towel, and set aside. Heat a sauté pan with a thin film of grapeseed oil over medium heat and place the onions, cut side down, in the pan. Caramelize the surface of the onions. When they have good color, remove the pan from the heat, throw a tablespoon of water into the pan, and cover immediately with a lid or a piece of aluminum foil. The onions will steam through. When cool, separate the onions into petals and set aside. Heat a sauté pan with a thin film of grapeseed oil over high heat. Sauté the mushrooms until just wilted. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the pan, and set aside on a paper towel–lined plate. Slice the leg meat off of the thighs and drumsticks, and cut into bite-size pieces. Slowly warm the Zinfandel Sauce and place the breast and leg pieces in the sauce. Do not simmer, but rather gently warm the meat until just cooked and heated through. Remove the meat from the sauce, and slice the breast into bite-size pieces. Distribute the meat among 6 plates. Place a spoonful of the polenta on each plate and garnish with the lardons, onion petals, mushrooms, and arugula leaves. Spoon the sauce on and around the meat on the plate. Serve immediately.
Find out more about David Kinch here...
Manresa - An Edible Reflection
David Kinch with Christine Muhlke; foreword by Eric Ripert. Reprinted with permission from Manresa by David Kinch with Christine Muhlke, © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Publication date: 22 October 2013. To purchase online visit - www.randomhouse.com
Photography credit: Eric Wolfinger