David Reamer
Foie Gras, Eel Pot-Au-Feu, Pears, Dumplings, adapted from Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird by Gabriel Rucker
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Foie Gras, Eel Pot-Au-Feu, Pears, Dumplings

Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird, Gabriel Rucker & Meredith Erickson with Lauren & Andrew Fortgang - December 24th, 2013

This recipe has been adapted from Le Pigeon: Cooking at the Dirty Bird by Gabriel Rucker & Meredith Erickson with Lauren & Andrew Fortgang―a book featured in Word-to-Table Cooking, Food Arts' yearly roundup of chef-authored cookbooks.

“While working at Paley’s Place, I learned how to make oxtail consommé, something so flavorful yet so clear that it’s possible to see all the goodies in it on the bottom of the bowl. I then decided to try making a grilled eel consommé to use as a light base for an Asian-influenced pot-au-feu. Because this is Le Pigeon, you can guess that it didn’t turn out to be your standard pot-au-feu. It’s carrot-less and bouquet garni-less, and it includes fruit (Bosc pears to be exact).”

Serves 4

Eel consommé:

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsps. tomato paste
  • 1 piece unagi (freshwater eel), about 12 oz. (375g), skinned and shredded
  • 1 cup (250ml) dry Sherry
  • 1 1/2 Tbsps. Sherry vinegar
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup (11g) bonito flakes
  • 4 cups (1L) chicken stock
  • 2 cups (500ml) fish stock
  • 1 cup (250ml) water
  • kosher salt
  • 4 oz. (126g) ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup (35g) onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup (40g) celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup (40g) carrot, diced
  • 4 lg. egg whites
  1. Sauté the onion, chopped celery, garlic, tomato paste, and unagi in large pot over medium heat 5 minutes, stirring to avoid sticking; add Sherry and vinegar; cook 3 minutes; add thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, red pepper flakes, bonito flakes, chicken stock, fish stock, water, and 1 tsp. salt; bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer; cook, tasting occasionally, until it tastes like eel dashi (about 1 hour); strain liquid, discarding solids; reserve in refrigerator.

  2. In food processor, combine ground chicken, 1/4 cup onion, diced celery, and carrot; season with 1 Tbsp. salt; in large bowl, whisk egg whites until starting to foam (almost at soft peak); gently fold chicken mixture into eggs.

  3. Combine eel broth and chicken mixture in large pot over medium heat, stirring to combine; warm to gentle simmer, stirring occasionally, until raft forms; poke 1” hole with wooden spoon; do not stir; continue simmering 20 minutes, or until consommé in raft is clear.

  4. Using fine-mesh strainer lined with cloth napkin, create larger hole in raft with ladle; ladle liquid into strainer, avoiding raft; reserve.

Foie glaze:

  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. Sherry vinegar

Whisk ingredients until smooth; reserve.

Sautéed mushrooms:

  • neutral oil
  • 4 oz. (125g) beech mushrooms, cleaned
  • kosher salt

Heat oil in sauté pan over high heat; add mushrooms; season; sauté until cooked through (about 3 minutes); reserve (keep warm).

Eel dumplings:

  • 1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 3 Tbsps. bonito flakes
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) whole milk
  • 1 piece unagi, 1 to 2 oz. (30g to 60g), skinned and shredded
  • neutral oil
  1. Combine flour, baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt in mixing bowl; melt butter with bonito flakes in small saucepan over medium heat; add flour mixture and milk; add eel; stir to make a loose dough; refrigerate 30 minutes.

  2. Bring large pot of salted water to a boil; lightly oil a baking sheet.

  3. Roll dough into 12 gumball–sized pieces; place in boiling water until puffed and cooked through (about 3 minutes); transfer dumplings to baking sheet; cover; reserve, up to 2 days.

Pear balls:

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) white wine
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (60g) granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. truffle oil
  • 2 Bosc pears, peeled, cored, and formed into 8 balls using melon baler

Combine white wine, water, sugar, vinegar, and truffle oil in small saucepan over medium heat; meanwhile, place pears in heatproof bowl; when liquid begins to boil, pour over pears; set aside to cool.


  • 4 quail eggs, hard-boiled and halved vertically
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) water
  • kosher salt
  • 4 3 oz. (90g) slices foie gras
  • Maldon sea salt
  1. Heat oven to 350˚F (180˚C).

  2. Combine eel dumplings, pear balls, mushrooms, quail eggs, and water in Dutch oven; heat until warmed through (about 5 minutes).

  3. Season foie gras; sear; drain fat from pan; add 1 Tbsp. foie glaze to pan; toss gently to coat; remove from heat; reserve.

  4. In each of 4 deep soup bowls, arrange 2 dumplings, 2 pear balls, 1 quail egg, and 1/4 of mushrooms; top with foie; sprinkle with Maldon salt; pour about 1/3 cup (80ml) hot consommé into each bowl from a creamer tableside.

To drink: El Maestro Sierra 15 years