Quenelles are made from any kind of force-meat, shaped in small balls or between tablespoons, making an oval, or by forcing mixture through pastry bag on buttered paper. They are cooked in boiling salted water or stock, and are served as garnish to soups or other dishes; when served with sauce, they are an entr©Â¥Â®


force meat


1. Dip 2 dessertspoons in hot water, and form oval shapes by filling each with the quenelle mixture.

2. Cover the first spoonful with the second.

3. Scrape the loose mixture from the sides.

4. Loosen each quenelle from the spoons with a knife dipped in hot water, and drop gently into simmering water or soup as required.

5. Alternatively, poach the quenelles.

6. As they are so delicate, quenelles are generally only added to soup or any other dish at the point of serving.

75 g (6 oz) butter
100 ml (4 fl oz) water; plus 900 ml (1 1/2 pints)
135 ml (9 tbsp) plain flour, sifted
2 eggs
450 g (1 lb) pike, whiting or brill fillet, skinned, finely minced twice and chilled
1 egg white
salt and freshly ground pepper
142 ml (5 fl oz) carton double cream
18 fresh unshelled prawns
150 ml (1/4 pint) dry white wine
227 g (8 oz) packet of frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 egg, beaten, to glaze

Serves 4

1. Make a choux paste: cut up 50 g (2 oz) butter and put into a pan with 100 ml (4 fl oz) water. Heat gently until the butter melts, then bring to a fast boil. Remove from the heat and immediately beat in 105 ml (7 tbsp) flour until the mixture is just smooth. Cool slightly and gradually beat in the eggs, keeping the mixture stiff. Cool and then chill.

2. Put the minced fish into a large bowl placed in a pan of iced water. Break up the egg white with a fork and beat into the fish, a little at a time, using a wooden spoon and keeping the mixture stiff. Steady the bowl with one hand to prevent any iced water splashing into it.

3. Gradually add the chilled choux paste to the fish mixture, beating well between each addition. Add 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) salt and plenty of ground pepper and beat into the fish with 60 ml (4 tbsp) cream, a little at a time until the consistency of a creamed cake mixture. Cover and chill the quenelle mixture for at least 1 hour.

4. Twist the heads off the prawns and discard them. Carefully ease the body shell and any roe away from the prawn flesh. Soften 50 g (2 oz) butter and pound the shells and roe with it until well mixed. Sieve to remove the shells. Cover and chill with the prawns.

5. Pour 900 ml (1 - 1 1/2 pints) water into a large frying pan and add the wine with 1.25 ml (1/4 tsp) salt. Bring to the boil. Using two damp dessertspoons, shape the quenelle mixture into ovals and push them gently out of the spoons into the simmering liquid. Add sufficient shapes to half fill the pan¢â‚¬â€Łthey swell on cooking.

6. Cover the pan and simmer very gently for 10-12 minutes. The liquid should just tremble. When the quenelles are well puffed up and firm to the touch, lift them out of the pan using slotted spoons. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper, then keep warm, covered, in a low oven. Shape and poach the remaining quenelles in the same way.

7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry to 5 mm (1/4 inch). Using a fluted pastry cutter, stamp out crescent shapes and place them well apart on baking sheets. Glaze with beaten egg. Bake at 220°C (425°F) mark 7 for about 12 minutes, or until well risen and golden.

8. Boil the cooking liquid and reduce to 250 ml (8 fl oz). Melt the remaining butter, stir in the remaining flour, followed by the reduced stock. Season, bring to the boil, stirring, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from the heat, stir in the remaining cream and whisk in the prawn butter. Reheat gently without boiling. Adjust the seasoning and spoon over the quenelles. Garnish with the prawns and serve with the pastry crescents.

What did you think?

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Quenelle variants
posted by I Seligman @ 12:28PM, 3/05/07
There are a few ways to make them, practice with whichever style will lead to success!

I make them by using two warmed wet spoons. I take up the "right amount" of forcemeat in one spoon, then "cup it" with the other to shape the quenelle into a losenge, or flattened football shape. It may take two or more turns of the spoons to shape it.

A classically trained French chef I've watched, makes them with one hand, one spoon. I think he's done this a few hundred times to get this down. If the texture is not just right, he uses two hands and two spoons.

Iti's best to see someone do it first, as technique can make all the difference on this-hard to put into words.
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