Galantine refers to a French dish made from deboned meat that is shaped or stuffed with forcemeat, poached in aspic and then coated with the aspic before being served cold. The exact recipe varies considerably as any variety of meat, fish or vegetable may be used to prepare the cold mold. Galantines may also be prepared only with forcemeat and stuffed into a cylindrical mold before serving.
Traditionally, deboning meat was considered to be very difficult. As a result, a deboned meat dish was considered to be elaborate or galant or urbane; giving rise to the name galantine. It is also possible that chefs used the cold aspic to make the meat stay in shape after deboning. Although the original inventor of the dish is unknown, food researchers do state that the chef of the marquis de Brancas first created the dish. Galantines then became very popular during the French Revolution that extended from 1789 to 1799. Another interesting legend states that the term galantine could have been derived from the French word garentine or galatina which meant jelly. As the meat was deboned and cooked in its own juices, the juices would gel resulting in a thick coating of the stock around the cooked and cooled meat. This could have been the origin of the word and the dish.
Ingredients and Preparation
Preparing galantine can take about a week depending on the size of the dish and the ingredients involved. Chicken is most commonly used to make the dish. The bird is skinned and deboned. The skin is usually retained to cover the bird during poaching. The deboned chicken is laid out and then covered with a forcemeat of chicken breast, herbs and spices. Several filling may be layered on top of the forcemeat. The bird is then rolled up along with the skin and then tied up with string. The entire package is then immersed in simmering stock. The stock may contain additional flavoring ingredients like spices and mirepoix. The galantine has to be immersed inside the stock during the cooking process to achieve the optimum poached texture. Once cooked through, the galantine is allowed to cool. It is then coated with thick aspic made from the stock it was immersed in during cooking.
The galantine is served cold with a fresh salad.
The preparation technique for galantine has not varied at all. However, the meats that are used along with the fillings may vary considerably. For example, pork may be used along with chicken to make the forcemeat and stuffed into a deboned chicken. Quails may be deboned and stuffed with a mousse made from mushrooms and nuts. Salmon or fish may be deboned and rolled around a filling made from bread, salmon flesh, egg whites, cream, salt and pepper.
During the nineteenth century, a dish called ballotine was also prepared which was very similar to the galantine. Prosper Montagné in the Larousse Gastronomique stated that the term ballontine should only be used to refer to meat that was deboned, stuffed and then rolled and served hot or cold. Galantines were the same dish but served only cold. Dodines were another variety of the same dish made with poultry and stuffed. These were roasted rather than poached and always served hot.