From CHEZ JIM Books:
An EIGHTEENTH CENTURY VEGETARIAN COOKBOOK:
APRES MOI LE DESSERT - VOLUME II
and a history of the CROISSANT:
AUGUST ZANG AND THE FRENCH CROISSANT
18th CENTURY RECIPE: A meal for Marie-Antoinette - cold chicken and chicken blanquette with cucumber
The next to last item in the list of sixteen entrees for this meal is... cold chicken. If there was a special way of preparing this, no cookbook I've
seen so far mentions it. And so we move to the last item on the list: chicken blanquette with cucumber.
The only time I can remember having cucumber used in a sauce was either in Cameroon or in a Parisian housing project with some African friends. Either
way, the cucumbers in question were probably African. In our period, however, cucumbers (presumably the European kind) were frequently used in sauce and
appear in the names of a number of recipes.
The Dons de Comus refers all blanquettes back to veal blanquette (still the most common today):
Cut veal up very thin. Brown mushrooms. Dust them with a little flour and add bouillon. Simmer. Put in your veal, with salt and pepper. Bind the sauce with four egg yolks, parsley chopped fine, a little nutmeg, a loaf of butter if you have it. To finish, lemon juice, or vinegar, or verjus in the
While this recipe can be readily adapted to use with chicken, I have not seen any blanquette that also uses cucumbers. One approach would be to replace
the mushrooms in the recipe above with thinly sliced cucumbers. Another might be to make the following recipe with chicken, using egg yolks and butter with
the other ingredients above to thicken the cucumber sauce:
Slivers of duck chopped fine with cucumbers
Cut your slivers thin and then crosswise, to make the flesh more tender. Take cucumbers, peeled and sliced thin. Marinate with some onions, also cut
thin, salt, and some vinegar, a little water. Once sufficiently marinated, press them in a cloth, and brown them in melted lard until they begin to darken.
Then dust them with flour and pour veal juice over them, and let simmer. Finish with white veal stock. When this is well thickened, put in your slivers
without letting them boil. A touch of vinegar to finish.
This completes the list of sixteen entrees from the meal served to Marie-Antoinette for dinner (now our lunch) on Thursday, July 24, 1788 at the
Trianon. Bear in mind there are six other courses as well. But for a modern household without its own kitchen staff, the recipes covered so far should provide more than enough dishes for anyone who would like to offer guests a taste of what was served the queen.
I may yet be tempted to research some of those other courses. For now, we'll leave Marie-Antoinette to her upcoming moment of modern stardom.
"He, the uncouth object of such wide-spread adulation, the sitter at great men's feasts, the roc's egg of great ladies' assemblies, the subduer of exclusiveness, the leveller of pride, the patron of patrons,... the recipient of more acknowledgment within some ten or fifteen years, at most, than had been bestowed... upon all peaceful public benefactors, and upon all the leaders of all the Arts and Sciences, with all their works to testify for them, during two centuries at least--he, the shining wonder, the new constellation to be followed by the wise men bringing gifts... --was simply the greatest Forger and the greatest Thief that ever cheated the gallows."
Dickens, "Little Dorrit"
"We believe that God in fact is in control and indeed he does work all
things for good for those who love the Lord."
Ken Lay after his trial