This jellied chicken is an idea based on the French classic, jambon persillé. Two caveats: You have to like aspic, and you have to make it the day before you serve it. Then invite friends who’ll appreciate it—this is the quintessential labor of love. The upside is that once it’s made, it only needs unmolding, and the meal is ready. The terrine is delicious plain, or serve it with a dab of Plain Homemade Mayonnaise, a simple vinaigrette, or Herb Vinaigrette.
Remove the skin from the chicken legs. Put them in a heavy-bottomed pot with water just to cover. Add the white wine, bay leaf, celery stalk, garlic, coriander, peppercorns, and a good spoonful of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a gentle simmer. Skim off and discard any surfacing fat and foam. Simmer the chicken legs until they are tender, about 30 minutes. Remove the legs and set aside to cool. Leave the broth at a low simmer.
When the legs are cool enough to handle, tear the meat from bones. Return the bones to the simmering broth and cook the broth for another 30 minutes.
Roughly chop the chicken meat and put it in a bowl. Add the parsley, chopped celery leaves, tarragon, scallions, and capers. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Mix well, and transfer to a 2-quart terrine or deep serving dish and refrigerate. Strain the broth through a fine-meshed sieve, then put it in the refrigerator to cool completely.
When the broth is completely chilled, remove any congealed fat from the surface. Pour the broth (it will be partially jelled) into a pot. Be careful not to include the sediment that has settled at the bottom. Heat to just under a simmer. Taste for salt and adjust, then turn off the heat.
Soften the gelatin in the white wine vinegar and then dissolve in the broth. Allow the broth to cool to room temperature, then ladle it over the chicken. Cover and refrigerate overnight so that the terrine sets completely.
To serve, invert the terrine onto a large platter and unmold. Surround with leaves of butter lettuce and halved or quartered hard-cooked eggs.
© 2008 All rights reserved. Published by Workman Publishing.