A while ago, Museum Willet-Holthuysen in Amsterdam dared culinary enthusiasts to cook a meal from one of the historical menus in their collection. One of my volunteers at eat!history, Marianne Radix, made this delicious recipe for Poularde Albufera and won the competition. She shares her recipe with you.
Poularde Albufera is a dish made from deboned, stuffed and poached chicken that was named after the Duke of Albufera. This royal title was created by Napoleon in 1812 and given to marshal Louis Gabriel Suchet (1770-1826). Albufera was the name of a lake in Spain. The new duke was given several patches of land, along with that particular lake.
Legend says that the French chef Adolphe Dugléré (1805-1884) made the recipe, but that is highly unlikely. The chef was only ten years old when the duke got demoted and lost his title. More probable is that Dugléré’s master made the recipe: the famous chef Marie-Antoine Carême (1784-1833).
The meal was a fairly popular dish with the elites in France and The Netherlands, as we can see by its presence on the menus of Museum Willet-Holthuysen. Georges Auguste Escoffier (1846 – 1935) put a version of the recipe in Le Guide Culinaire and Julia Child put it in Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961. Marianne used Child’s recipe as her base.
1 organic chicken, around 2 kg’s
3 spring onions
30 grams truffle
1,5 tbsp dry port of dry madeira
1,5 tbsp cognac
Freshly grounded pepper
Pinch of thyme
3 chicken livers
3 tbsp butter
1 small onion
200 grams of uncooked rice
1 glass of dry white wine
400 ml chicken stock
1 pinch of saffron
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter
The paprikas from the oven
2 glasses of dry white wine
500 ml chicken stock
1 bay leaf
6 sprigs of parsley
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp pepper puree medium
2 tbsp soft butter
1 sheet baking paper
4 tbsp butter
6 tbsp flour
An extra spoonful of pepper puree or cayenne pepper
250 ml whipped cream
Cut the paprikas in half and get the seeds out. Put them on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Drizzle some olive oil on top and put them in the oven at 200°C for 30 minutes.
Debone half of the chicken
Put the chicken on its back and make a cut in the skin over the sternum using a sharp knife. Pull the skin towards you so the fillets come out, starting on the side of the wings. Cut the fillets out, starting at the front. Repeat until they are fully removed. Continue along the ribs. Use your other hand to pull the meat lose while you’re cutting. Be careful not to cut the skin because this needs to be put back later. Using sturdy kitchen scissors, remove the upper half of the ribs and sternum until the tailbone, starting at the end.
Mince the spring onion. Slice the truffle in thin slices. Put the port (or madeira), cognac, pepper, thyme, spring onion and truffle in a bowl. Stir. Cut the fillets into long strings and add them to the marinade. Put it in the fridge. Put the rest of the chicken in the fridge as well.
Cut the livers into small cubes and fry them shortly in 1 tbsp of butter. Put them in a bowl. Mince the onion. Put the rest of the butter in the pan and fry the onions approximately 4 minutes. Add the rice and stir until the rice becomes a little bit see-through. Add the wine. Let the alcohol evaporate. Add the stock, saffron, bay leaf, pepper and salt and bring to a boil. Put the lid onto the pan and let it simmer for 15 minutes. The moisture needs to be absorbed completely. Take the bay leaf out and add the rice to the liver. Let cool. Whisk the egg and put it into the mixture. Put in a cool place.
Preheat the oven to 165 °C
Stuffing the chicken
Get the truffle and chicken fillets out of the marinade. Sprinkle salt on the in- and outside of the deboned chicken. Put the rice filling inside the chicken, put the truffle slices on top and end with the chicken fillet. Pull the skin over it and sew shut with some cooking rope or use cocktail sticks.
Making the sauce
Cut the carrots into slices and the onion into rings. Put them into a pan that will fit the chicken later, and fry them shortly. Puree the paprikas and put them into the pan, together with the wine, stock, herbs, and pepper puree. Bring to a boil and put the heat on low.
Put the chicken in the pan, breast up. Cover it with the cheesecloth. The chicken needs to be under the sauce for at least 1/3. Make sure the sides of the cloth are in the sauce, the non-covered part of the chicken will be moisturised this way. Spoon the molten butter over the chicken and cover with the baking sheet. Put it in the preheated oven and let sit for 1.5 hours. *
*check regularly if the sauce is softly bubbling. If not, you crank up the heat and if it is boiling too hard, you put it down a little.
Finishing the sauce
Put the cooked chicken in a different bowl and put it in the warm oven you turned off. Melt the butter on a low heat and add the flour while stirring. Add a big spoonful of cooking liquid. Stir well.
Continue like this until the sauce has the desired thickness. You can add salt and pepper to your own liking. If you would like to make it a little spicier, you can add an extra tbsp of pepper puree or cayenne pepper. If you would like it to be creamier, you can add some whipped cream.
Put the chicken on the serving plate and remove the rope or skewers. Drizzle the sauce over the chicken and continue until it looks shiny. Decorate it with fresh thyme or parsley. Put the rest of the sauce in a sauce bowl and serve alongside the chicken.
If the chicken is not cut on the table, show it to your guests and then take it back to the kitchen for cutting. Put the pieces on a nice bed of the filling.