No. 17. French Forcemeat Called Quenelles


This is a peculiarly light and delicate kind of forcemeat, which by good French cooks is compounded with exceeding care. It is served abroad in a variety of forms, and is made of very finely-grained white veal, or of the undressed flesh of poultry, or of rabbits, rasped quite free from sinew, then chopped and pounded to the finest paste, first by itself, and afterwards with an equal quantity of boiled calf’s udder or of butter, and of panada, which is but another name for bread soaked in cream or gravy and then dried over the fire until it forms a sort of paste. As the three ingredients should be equal in volume, not in weight, they are each rolled into a separate ball before they are mixed, that their size may be determined by the eye. When the fat of the fillet of veal (which in England is not often divided for sale, as it is in France) is not to be procured, a rather less proportion of butter will serve in its stead. The following will be found a very good, and not a troublesome receipt for veal forcemeat of this kind.

Rasp quite clear from sinew, after the fat and skin have been entirely cleared from it, four ounces of the finest veal; chop, and pound it well: if it be carefully prepared there will be no necessity for passing it through a sieve, but this should otherwise be done. Soak in a small saucepan two ounces of the crumb of a stale loaf in a little rich but pale Veal gravy or white sauce; then press and drain as much as possible of the moisture from it, and stir it over a gentle fire until it is as dry as it will become without burning: it will adhere in a ball to the spoon, and leave the saucepan quite dry when it is sufficiently done. Mix with it, while it is still hot, the yolk of one egg, and when it is quite cold, add it to the veal with three ounces of very fresh butter, a quarter of a teaspoonful of mace, half as much cayenne, a little nutmeg, and a saltspoonful of salt. When these are perfectly beaten and well blended together, add another whole egg after having merely taken out the specks: the mixture will then be ready for use, and may be moulded into balls, or small thick oval shapes a little flattened, and poached in soup or gravy from ten to fifteen minutes. These quenelles may be served by themselves in a rich sauce as a corner dish, or in conjunction with other things. They may likewise be first poached for three or four minutes, and left on a drainer to become cold; then dipped into egg and the finest bread-crumbs and fried, and served as croquettes.