Following on from last weeks Joel Robuchon ready meal I continue with my Parisian finds with a meal from three star chef Michel Troisgros, who has created a selection of dishes for French supermarket Casino. His range was pretty extensive and there were some great looking desserts in the freezer section. Only being in Paris for a weekend (doing a 100km bike ride – you can still sponsor me here if you feel generous) and with one backpack at my disposal and no freezer availability on the Eurostar I was limited to bringing back just one meal. I left my choice to economics and chose the “Filet de Poulet sauce forestière et riz aux cèpes” as it was the cheapest one they had; a very respectable €3,40.
Michel Troisgros is at the helm of the family restaurant Maison Troisgros that has been in the family since 1930. I have never heard a bad thing about the place and it is a dream to go. It is however pretty flipping expensive. He might sell a ready meal for €3,40 but head to Maison Troisgros and you’ll be hard pushed to find a dish coming in under €70 with many topping €100, perhaps that is why he looks so happy on the box.
The packaging certainly looks classier than Joel Robuchon’s , it might be a touch Ainsley Harriott on the back with its multi fonts and three different colours, but the front looks more Heston from Waitrose in design. The picture of the food looks appetising with the herb topped dome of rice and the artfully placed sauce, already I can see how it will be a far cry from what ends up on my plate, but it’s good to have something to aim for.
Michel has given us the option of microwaving or boiling in the bag, both take about four mins. The box contains three sachets, one with a cooked chicken breast and what looks some of it’s cooking juices, one with the riz and one with the sauce forestière. No food looks good when sealed in a plastic pouch, it looks more like some kind of specimen than anything you’d normally consider eating, but on the plus side, when cooked in the bag food doesn’t dry out, and tends to hold its flavour, so I was feeling positive about dinner.
After four minutes I emptied the pouches onto the plate, as predicted, they flopped out with far less grace than the picture on the box, but it looked appetising enough none the less. I started with a piece of chicken, it was firm, meaty and had good flavour – not bad so far. Next I scooped up some rice; it was al dente, the perfect temperature and tasted very much of rice, but with the added bonus of soft ceps running through it – can’t complain. And so onto the sauce; the bit that makes or breaks a dish and lord be praised it was delicious. It was creamy but had lightness and packed a punch of mushroomy goodness. Sometimes I find mushrooms a bit overbearing, they can take over everything and make you feel like your chewing woodland mulch, but here they were well balanced and tempered by the creamy sauce. The only problem with this dish was the heavy handed seasoning, it was really salty and afterwards that was all I could taste. This was the only parallel I can find with the Robuchon disaster. Salt has been a hot topic in the UK recently with lots of pressure to reduce content, I suspect France has had no such sensitivity and with my palate adjusted it was too much.
In my last blog I crowned the UK champion of the ready food market, but Michel Troisgros has come back fighting with a strong claim for the title. However if a ready meal crown is the only one we are going to win in a culinary war with France, I think for the time being at least, we should keep it.
Michel Troisgros Filet de Poulet – €3,40
PS Michel – should you read this and wish to thank me for saying nice things, I’d happily accept a tasting menu at Maison Troisgros.