April 2024

Truman's Dinner

serves 6


Chicken Fricassee à la Plaza Hotel + Upside-down Truffled Rice
served at Truman Capote's
legendary Black and White Ball

For the Chicken Fricassee à la Plaza Hotel

1 oven-ready, free-range chicken, about 3 lb 8 oz
3 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 tbsp butter
2-3 springs oregano
2-3 sprigs thyme
2 unpeeled garlic cloves
1 cup vegetable broth, hot
3 tbsp dry sherry

For the quenelles
2 1/4 oz day-old white bread without crust
3 tbsp milk
3 1/2 oz cold-smoked salmon
1 shallot
9 oz well-chilled chicken breast fillet, skinned, without sinews
5 tbsp chilled double cream
1 tsp grated zest of an organic lemon
1-2 tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf

For the vegetables

9-10 oz sugar snap peas
9 oz shiitake mushrooms
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vegetable bouillon

For the hollandaise sauce
3 1/4 sticks butter, cold
5 small egg yolks
salt and white pepper
cayenne pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice

For the Upside-down Truffled Rice
1 1/4 cups risotto rice
1 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper
2 cups vegetable broth
7 oz dry white wine
1 tbsp heavy or double cream
1 tbsp butter, softened
1 small truffle


Heat the oven to 375-400 degrees. Wash and pat dry the chicken, then cut it into serving portions. Season with lemon juice and salt and pepper. Melt the butter in an ovenproof Dutch oven. Add the chicken, and quickly fry all over. Add the oregano, thyme, and the crushed garlic cloves and their skins. Cover and cook about thirty minutes in the oven. Add the hot broth and the sherry, then cook uncovered twenty-five to thirty minutes until the chicken is tender and the juice run clear when tested with the tip of a knife. Remove and discard the herbs and garlic. To make the quenelles, cut the white bread into cubes and soak in the milk. Finely chop the salmon. Finely chop the shallot. Chop the cold chicken breast fillets and puree in a food processor together with the chopped shallot. Add the cream, a little at a time. Stir in the soaked bread and the salmon, then season with the lemon zest and juice, salt, and pepper. Set aside. Bring a saucepan of salted water to boil Using two moistened tablespoons, shape the mixture into quenelles. Let them drop in the water and add the bay leaf. As soon as the quenelles rise to the surface, take the pan off the heat, cover, and set aside. Meanwhile, cut the sugar snap peas into thin strips. Cut the stems off the shiitake mushrooms. Add the sugar snap peas and the shiitake mushrooms to the foamed butter with the bouillon powder and stir until the vegetables are tender, but still firm to the bite. Keep warm. To make the hollandaise sauce, cut the butter into small pieces. Heat a water bath until simmering, then reduce the heat. In a large metal bowl, stir together the egg yolks and one and a half tablespoons of water until smooth. Stir in one tablespoon of the butter pieces. Place the bowl over the water bath and beat everything until the egg and butter have bound. Continue until all the butter has been added. Season the thick, creamy hollandaise sauce with cayenne pepper, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Note: the fricassee is faster and easier to prepare if you use three double chicken breasts (on the bone and unskinned). This reduces the cooking times: roast the chicken breasts for twelve to fourteen minutes, and braise them for ten to twelves minutes until tender and the juices run clear when tested with the tip of a knife, If you prefer, use snow peas instead of sugar snap peas, which have a milder taste. For make the truffled rice, peel and finely chop the shallots. Rinse the rice in a strainer and drain. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the rice and the shallots and sauté briefly. Gradually add the broth and the white wine and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and leave to simmer until the liquid is almost completely absorbed. Cover the rice and leave it to swell, five to ten minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease four metal molds (about 2 1/2 inches in diameter) with the butter. Beat the cream until stiff, then fold it into the rice and season with salt and pepper. Shave the truffle into thin slices an place them in the bottom of the molds. Put the rice on top, patting it down lightly. Transfer to the oven for five minutes to heat through. Take out, unmold, and serve alongside the fricassee. To serve the fricassee, arrange the braised chicken with the prepared vegetables and the drained chicken and salmon quenelles. Spoon over plenty of the hollandaise sauce. If you like, pass the braising gravy round separately rather than spooning over the dish.

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