Mousses lend themselves to an infinity of combinations—among themselves and with other elements as well—that are not only flattering to the eye but, through the juxtaposition of similarly smooth textures that are sharply different in their flavors, are very exciting to the palate. The following recipe is a case in point.
A mousse may often provide an interesting method of using up leftover boiled or roast poultry, but none of the supple succulence of a chicken freshly roasted and only half cooled can be achieved from cold cooked flesh.
Note that in the following recipe you will need about 1 quart of firm meat jelly and 1 pint of heavy cream in all.
Roast the chicken, seasoned and basted with butter, for about 45 minutes or until the legs are only just done (the point at which, if the thigh, at the thickest part, is pierced with a trussing needle, exudes a transparent juice) and leave to cool until only warm. Remove the skin from the legs and breast and scrape the bones free of the flesh (this should leave a good pound of flesh—the remainder of the carcass and the cooking juices may enrich a pilaf). Pound the flesh in a mortar (or purée it in an electrical robot cutter), adding in small quantities at a time about half of the meat jelly (melted, but not hot). Season (only a suggestion of nutmeg, freshly ground) and put through a food mill (the cooked flesh offers too much resistance to be passed by hand through a sieve), work in the remaining jelly, beating the purée vigorously, and, finally, incorporate the cream, half whipped (if whipped until stiff, the mousse will have a dry, cottony quality). Spread into the bottom of a glass or crystal bowl designed to throw into relief the bands of rose, pale green, and white of the tiered mousses and refrigerate.
Spread the sorrel mousse over the surface of the firm chicken mousse and refrigerate again until it, in turn, is firm.
Cook the chopped onion gently in butter for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft and lightly yellowed, add the white wine, reduce over a high flame until nearly dry, add the tomatoes, sugar, and seasonings, and cook at a simmer for about ½ hour, stirring occasionally. Then add half of the meat jelly, reduce the mixture by half at a rapid boil, stirring, pass it through a fine sieve with a wooden pestle, and stir in the remaining jelly. Place the bowl over cracked ice and stir the contents until they begin to turn syrupy; then, just before the jelling point, fold in the cream, half whipped. Pour over the surface of the sorrel mousse and return to the refrigerator to set completely before gently pouring over a layer of liquid, room-temperature meat jelly. Leave to set for several hours or overnight before serving.
Copyright © 1974 by Richard Olney. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.