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How to Make Forcemeats

How to Make Forcemeats

Each type of forcemeat results in a different texture once cooked. Let to right, top to bottom: straight fourcemeat, country-style forcemeat, gratin fourcemeat, mousseline fourcemeat (photo, CIA)

Culinary Institute of America

Making forcemeats

Chill ingredients, chill equipment
Maintaining both the ingredients and equipment is imperative when preparing forcemeat. This helps keep the forcemeat below 40°F / 4°C, which keeps the food out of the danger zone, reducing the risk of food-borne illness. Temperature control is also the key to achieving the best results. When forcemeats are kept well chilled throughout processing, mixing, and cooking, they require less fat, yet still have a smooth texture and an appealing mouth feel. The flavor of the forcemeat itself is generally better, as well.

Grinding
The most common piece of equipment for grinding the meats for straight, country, and gratin forcemeats is a meat grinder.

Some forcemeat formulas will call for some or all of the meats and fat to be ground using a method called progressive grinding. Review the recipe to determine if you will need one or more grinding plates. Grind the meat directly into a well-chilled mixing bowl set over ice.

Mousseline forcemeats are typically made from start to finish in a food processor, although some chefs prefer to grind the meat or fish before placing it in the bowl of the food processor. If you make a significant quantity of forcemeats using a food processor, it is a good idea to dedicate one very sharp blade to that purpose only.

Mixing and processing
Once ground, the forcemeat is mixed in order to blend any seasonings, panadas, or other ingredients thoroughly and evenly. More importantly, an adequate mixing period is crucial to the development of the correct texture.

Mixing can be done by beating the forcemeat with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon over an ice bath, in a mixer, or in a food processor. Care should be taken not to overmix, especially when you use a machine. Be careful not to overload the bowl. Depending on the amount of product, one to three minutes at the lowest speed should be sufficient. The forcemeat’s color and texture will change slightly when it is properly mixed.

Mixing in a food processor is very fast and provides a smoother texture. Most food processors handle relatively small batches. It is critical to keep an eye on the forcemeat as it processes. Your forcemeat can go from properly processed to overworked in a matter of seconds. This can cause pockets or bubbles to form in the item you are preparing, a distraction on a plated item presented to a guest and grounds for losing points in competition work.