Dining In 1 minute 27 August 2018

Kitchen Language: What Is 'En Vessie?'

Wrapping meat in a pig's bladder before poaching ensures a moist dish that is infused with flavor.

A most unusual method of cooking, en vessie uses a bladder (most commonly that of a pig) to enclose meat like chicken and keep it from drying out. In fact, the term “en vessie” in French simply means “in bladder.” Rooted in early Escoffien French cuisine, one of the most well-known applications of this technique is poulet en vessie, a dish commonly associated with the late Paul Bocuse.

Why cook chicken en vessie?

It’s a technique that begins by enveloping the chicken breast in steam, before infusing the flavors of black truffle, foie gras and white wine inside the bladder. While this is happening, the chicken is slowly poached in chicken broth. This method allows the steam to seep into the bladder, making the chicken extremely flavorful as it is marinated with different kinds of ingredients that each adds its own distinct taste to the dish. Containing the meat in the bladder during the cooking process also ensures that the chicken emerges both moist and tender.
(Photo courtesy of Facebook/Fine Dining Restaurants.)
(Photo courtesy of Facebook/Fine Dining Restaurants.)

How to Cook En Vessie

1. Soak the bladders to restore their suppleness, enabling them to poach the chicken more effectively. Meanwhile, brine chicken in a saltwater bath for four hours.

2. After brining, place truffles under the skin of the chicken breasts. Truss the chicken and place in the bladder. Tie the bladder tightly and simmer it in a large pan of stock and vegetables. The bladder will start to inflate and rise to the top of the stock. Simmer for 40 minutes.

3. To serve, place the bladder in a bowl. Carefully break open and carve the breast out from the chicken before removing the skin. Serve with seasonal produce and jus from inside the bladder.

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