Frogs' legs are inextricably associated with French cuisine, even though the extent of their popularity in the country in real terms is often grossly exaggerated. The legs can be shallow or deep fried, roasted, casseroled or even grilled and are excellent with a wide variety of dips or plated accompaniments. This recipe employs a couple of other classic French food preparations to be served with the legs.
Boudin noir is known by a great many different names around the world, including blood pudding in the USA and black pudding in the UK. The principal ingredient (blood) is standard but the geographically varied recipes make for what are often very different finished products. Whatever is available in your area should work equally well served in this fashion. Pomme puree is essentially mashed potatoes but the consistency is generally a lot smoother and more liquid, achieved in this instance by the addition of extra butter, though cream or milk would work equally well.
When you buy frogs' legs, it may be that the natural pairs have already been separated for you in to individual legs. If, however - as in this instance - the legs you have purchased are still connected together in pairs by the hip bones, an easy procedure for separating them effectively can be found detailed as part of my Frogs' Legs with Couscous recipe. Alternatively, you could cook the legs still attached together, in exactly the same way as described below, and serve them in this fashion.
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 1 medium sized baking type potato
- ½ cup fresh chicken stock
- ½ cup red wine (it's not necessary it be French)
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 pairs frogs' legs
- 2 tablespoons all purpose (plain) flour
- Black pepper
- 3 slices boudin noir/blood pudding (around ¾ an inch thick and 2 inches in diameter)
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or sunflower oil for frying
- ½ stick (2 ounces) unsalted butter
- White pepper (optional)
- 1 large clove of garlic
- Freshly chopped flat leaf parsley to garnish
Peel the potato and chop it in to chunks of around an inch to an inch and a half in size. Don't cut them any smaller or they will absorb too much moisture and become soggy. Add these chunks to a pot of cold, lightly salted water and bring the water to a simmer for about twenty minutes, or until the pieces are just soft enough that they can be easily mashed.
Pour the chicken stock and red wine in to a small saucepan and add the dried thyme. The wine used here was Australian Shiraz. Stir well and put the pot on to a high heat until the liquid reaches a simmer. Adjust the heat to achieve and maintain a moderate simmer and leave the pot uncovered so that the liquid content can ultimately be reduced by around two-thirds.
Spoon the flour in to a deep bottomed plate or bowl and season well with salt and black pepper. Stir fold to evenly distribute the seasonings. Turn the frogs' legs in the flour until they are all evenly coated.
Just before the potatoes are going to be drained, pour a couple of tablespoons or so of vegetable oil in to a large non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a medium heat. Add the blood pudding slices and the floured frogs' leg to fry on their first sides for three minutes.
Drain the potatoes through a colander at your sink. Return them to the pot and allow them to steam off and dry out for a few minutes before adding the butter and mashing with a hand masher. Alternatively, you could blitz them in a blender or food processor. Peel the garlic clove and grate it in to the pureed potato, stir well and taste. Adjust the seasoning if necessary with some salt and optional white pepper (black pepper would adversely affect presentation).
Carefully turn the frogs' legs and pudding slices with tongs to fry for three further minutes on their second side. Taste the reduced sauce and adjust the seasoning if necessary with salt and pepper. A little bit of butter can also be stirred in to thicken it slightly if desired.
Lift the cooked blood pudding slices and frogs' legs to a plate covered with kitchen paper to briefly drain off the excess oil. Start plating the dish up by laying the boudin noir at regular intervals on a round serving plate as shown above.
It is easiest if you use a teaspoon to divide the pomme puree between the three pudding slices as it affords greater control over the quantity and is less likely to cause collapse of the pile. Do be aware that you may not need all of the potato and be careful not to add too much, as this could also cause one or more of the assemblies to topple over.
Carefully lay a frogs' leg on top of one of the mounds of pomme puree. Press down very lightly to secure it in position before adding a second leg across it at a slight angle as shown. Repeat with the second and third assemblies.
Use a dessert spoon to spoon the red wine jus on to a free area of the plate until the white area in the plate's center is covered (you may not need all of it). Garnish with some freshly chopped flat leaf parsley and serve immediately.