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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

Mousseline forcemeat

Although individual recipes will differ, the formula shown below for mousseline forcemeat works as an excellent starting point. The amount of cream indicated will produce a good texture for terrines and other forcemeat items that will be sliced. If the mousseline will be used to prepare a timbale or other similar applications, the quantity of cream can be increased by nearly double the amount indicated below:

Meat or fish—1 lb / 454 g
Salt—1 tsp / 3 g
Egg (or egg white)—1 large
Cream—8 fl oz / 240 mL

When preparing a mousseline forcemeat, you may simply dice the main ingredients and proceed to grind them in the food processor, or you may wish to grind the main ingredient through a coarse or medium plate before processing it with an egg white. When using shellfish, it is important to keep in mind that some types of shellfish, such as lobster and wet pack sea scallops, retain more moisture than others and therefore require less cream than the standard ratio indicates.

Process the meat and salt just long enough to develop a paste with an even texture. Add the egg white, followed by the cream.

In order to blend the mousseline properly, it is important to scrape down the bowl. Continue processing only until the forcemeat is smooth and homogenous, generally around thirty seconds.

Optional: For a very light mousseline, you may prefer to work the cream in by hand. This is more time-consuming and exacting than using a food processor, but the results are worth the extra effort. Both the base mixture and the cream must be very cold in order to add the cream in higher proportions than those suggested in the basic formula above. Work over an ice bath for the best results.

Fine forcemeats may be passed through a drum sieve (tamis) to be sure that a very delicate texture is achieved. Be sure that the forcemeat is very cold as you work, and work in small batches to prevent the forcemeat from heating up as you work.

Mousseline forcemeats are often featured as appetizers, fillings, or stuffings, or to coat or wrap poached fish or poultry suprêmes. Another interesting way to use this forcemeat is to layer mousselines with different colors to create a special effect in a terrine.

Reprinted by permission from The Culinary Institute of America, “Garde Manger: The Art of Craft and the Cold Kitchen” (John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2008).