Monday, 7 April 2014

Episode 6 Futamono


Cold cold heart

Heart of stone.

Beats alone.



Cold cold feet

Feet of clay.

Walk away.

Futamono is the mid-meal course in Kaiseki of a small but robust soup or stew served in a lidded bowl. We are mid-meal in the story of Season 2 and now everyone is hiding something in this tempest of tiny pots. One by one, the lids will soon blow off!

Kicking the bucket list

     Nothing like surviving strangulation in your swimtrunks to make you lust for life. For you and me, that might mean ordering a dangerously rare steak and staying out late on a weeknight. As always, with Hannibal, it’s an order of magnitude higher: he kicks back by kidnapping and roasting a comedian, doping a friend-with-benefits and having a party for everyone who thinks they know him.

Quick sketches to send to Heads of Departments as the script changes keep on coming

Alana, straight and narrow  

     First of all, I just have to say it: Alana drives me mad. Thoughtful and sensitive, how can the girl be so wrong, wrong, wrong about so many things? She’s our darling daring Little Red Riding Hood in the woods having a picnic with the monster who ate her granny.

     Back in Season One, when I gave Carolyn Dhavernas a cook’s tutorial for her first kitchen scene – chopping carrots with Hannibal --  she showed excellent knife skills. But, in character while doing the scene, she was so reckless with the knife I was on edge the whole time. Blithely drinking a little too much in that first scene with Hannibal, Alana was charmingly guileless, headstrong and a little drunk on Hannibal’s cellar-brewed People Beer. I didn't realize it back then but Carolyn had her character totally nailed. It was a real foreshadowing of this episode’s seduction scene when Alana drinks a little too much of Hannibal’s poisoned wine and as a result, she misses entire chunks of the evening. Like when he slips out of bed to get the fixin’s for a midnight snack -- roast thigh.
Eddie's  thigh baked in clay with marrow and tiny Lady Apples on the side

Surprise, it’s Eddy’s thigh

     Up til now, the script had called for Alana having lasagna with Hannibal. I got my first clue there would be a thigh roasting when I heard my phone chirping just after midnight as I’m on my way home. It’s Bryan Fuller asking cheerfully, “Hi Everyone! We would like to so a Braised Roast of Eddie Izzard’s thigh. This shoots Friday (tomorrow). Any interesting tidbits about history of roast…or anecdote…? What can we do with a whole joint – bone and all…”

     Jose Andres, our food consultant in DC, replies with a suggestion of cooking the roast in clay so Hannibal can lecture Gideon about man being made of clay and returning to clay. It’s 1 o’clock in the morning.

     This is a wonderful idea! I email Bryan and Jose my thoughts on how it would be done for camera: Hannibal rubbing herbs into a thigh-sized cut of meat, rolling, barding and wrapping it in lotus leaf, then covering it in thin sheets of clay using a wire garrotte he just happens to have in his batterie de cuisine (stored next to the mace). 
     It’s 2:30 am. I need to know how it will play in the script because to be ready for Friday’s shoot, I have to order the special “people-sized cuts” from the butcher in the morning before he cuts all the pork sides out into normal roasts and chops.
Roman cauliflower studded with purple cauliflower to go with the Clay-roast Thigh

Late to bed early to rise – back to the market to get those thighs…

     Bryan promises to send me script revisions by 5 or 6am. Good because the butchers bring out the big knives around 6am and by 9 it’s too late to get special cuts. It’s almost 4am now so I sign off by telling Bryan I am going to dream of Beggar’s Chicken – an old Chinese peasant dish where you go outside and dig up wet clay from your yard to slather around a chicken which you have wrapped in lotus leaves. 

    While I sleep, I decide that I will use two double pork loins invisibly sewn together and trimmed to approximate the muscle size of Izzard’s thigh, boned.  I figure I will need 4 roasts per page of dialogue to cover the number of takes. In the morning, I read the new pages in time to see I need 6 to 8 roasts. Ettie and Victoria (my assistants) and I spend the next 16 hours stitching loins together, rolling sheets of clay, pinching clay into vine leaves and roasting eight complete thighs, each wrapped tightly in its own clay coffin. One bursts in the oven, so I have seven camera-ready beauties by 4am - just enough time to grab a nap before I  drive to set in time for the scene.
Video Village where producers and directors cluster around monitors to watch the scenes as they are being shot. Everyone has wandered off momentarily because we are frantically injecting water into the roast with a syringe so it will run with juice when Mads slices it on camera. Why frantically? The clay keeps plugging up the needle.

     The kitchen scenes of Hannibal preparing the roast are TBS (to be scheduled). They don't get on the schedule til just before our second hiatus. Worry about matching those thighs later! There's a party scene going on....
In the foreground, a tray of Heart Tartare in Filo Flowers waits to go to set

Enough of thighs and sighs-- on to the party for a feeding friendy!

     While the thighs have been roasting, the script for the party scene has changed from a sit-down dinner to a cocktail party. From a food stylist’s point of view, a cocktail party scene is the best. You get to do several extravagant pieces-montees for the central table and pretty decorated trays of hors d’oeuvres for the waiters to carry around the room, each morsel a jewel presented to the guests. Not like a sit-down dinner with crazy resets and keeping track of what each guest has on his plate for the dozen-plus takes of a dinner scene. 

Roulade of beef stuffed with sushi rice and chive flowers

JellyTimbits stuffed with Foie Gras and Timbit slices topped with Headcheese

Squab drumsticks on Fresh Figs and Fig Newtons - claws bursting up from the underworld ( Fig Newtons = Cookie Hell) flailing heavenward, grasping for (your) lifeblood
For a cocktail party scene, you have the much easier task of resetting the waiter’s trays which gives you lots of time to chuckle about the extras who have greedily gobbled several hors d’oeuvres on the first take then are condemned to eat the same amount again and again for every take.
 Boar's head with Sausage collar and Veggie Wig-hat. Couldn't get the eyes to close. Worst. Side eye. Ever. 

Crayfish and octopus Ultimate Fighting with trout and squid
     On location in a rambling home in outer Etobicoke, the scene shoots for about 10 hours. The party is swellegant yet scary as befits our Fancy Cannibal. Hannibal is of course one step ahead of everyone – just when they are all beginning to suspect he is The Ripper, he throws them a bone of a non-human kind.

Toss a bone to your friends, throw a party!

Recipes for your own "at Home" with Hannibal cocktail hour
Trays waiting to go to set

Heart Tartare Tarts

You can substitute chopped beef tenderloin for the heart in this recipe if you prefer - or go pescatarian and substitute chopped raw salmon (sushi grade, of course). 

For heart tartare:
1/2  lb. veal heart, finely chopped
1 tsp olive oil
1 raw egg yolk (optional)
1 tsp  capers
1 tsp chopped cornichon pickles
1 tsp red onions, finely chopped
salt, pepper to taste

For tart shells:
6 sheets filo dough (approx 12” x 18”)
½ cup melted butter

To make tartare:
1. Remove all silverskin, veins and connective tendons (the Chordae Tendineae - also called Heart Strings. Think about cow love and honour the beast)  
2. Combine chopped heart, oil, yolk, cornichons, onions, capers, salt and pepper. Refrigerate until just before serving.

To make pastry shells:
1. Brush 1 sheet of filo dough with butter and place two more sheets directly on top. Brush the top with butter and layer on two more sheets. Butter the top layer and add remaining 2 sheets. Press lightly to stick layers together. Cut the stacked filo into 12 squares 3” x 3”, reserving offcuts for shards. Press squares into the rounds of a buttered mini muffing tin allowing corners of pastry to extend up from sides of the rounds. Bake at 375 until lightly browned.
2. Set aside to cool. Fill each shell with 1 - 2 tsp heart tartare just before serving.

To make decorative shards:
1.  Cut pastry scraps into long triangular shards and place on buttered cookie sheet. Bake at 375 until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Spear into filled tart shells just before serving.

makes 12

Wagyu Beef Roulades

Rolling these is very easy if you use a bamboo mat such as is used for making Japanese maki sushi rolls. Otherwise, you could use a linen towel – as in the torchon method for making foie gras.

1 1/2-lb piece of wagyu beef sirloin, or beef tenderloin if you don't have the $300 for Wagyu
1 cup short grain rice for sushi
4 tsp seasoned rice wine vinegar**
1/4 cup Korean BBQ sauce*
 (optional) Chinese chives, blanched

12 pc parchment paper about 5" x 5"

1. Place beef into freezer for 45 minutes to firm up the meat so it can be sliced thinly.
2. Cook rice according to directions, cool and mix in rice wine vinegar.
3. Remove beef from freezer. It should semi frozen. Cut across grain into 1/8-inch slices. Gently shape and pound slices into squares 4 inches x 4 inches on the pieces of parchment paper.
4. Turn a square of beef onto sushi mat, paper side up. Peel off and discard paper. Spread a thin layer of rice on beef and roll up tightly. Tie circumference of roll in three places with a Chinese chive or butcher’s string. Brush with Korean BBQ sauce. Repeat with remaining beef and rice.
5. Grill lightly just to sear beef. Cut each roll in half for hors d’oeuvre size.

* ¼ cup soy sauce, 1 T brown sugar, 2 tsp chili hot sauce, ¼ tsp crushed garlic
**1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, 1 tsp sugar, ¼  tsp salt

Makes 12 roulades or 24 pieces

Prosciutto Roses on Watermelon

For multicoloured options, use cantaloup or honeydew melon as well as watermelon.

12 one-inch cubes watermelon, no rind
12  thin slices prosciutto

1. Form a rose from each slice of prosciutto: shape one end of slice into a small bud-like cone then loosely wind the remaining strip around it. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm the prosciutto then skewer each rose with a decorative toothpick and stick one onto each  cube of watermelon.

Makes 12

Next week: Roast Beef in Plaid tell no lies

All content copyright Janice Poon 2014


  1. Great blog post- poor crazy, Dr. Gideon, being fed his own leg.. Aghh!! I have even more respect for the dishes I see in each episode because now, I know what goes into making them! Thanks for doing this blog, it's fascinating.

    1. It was great watching Eddy Izzard's takes...he played it fearful, hesitant at first to take a bite then suddenly emboldened -- perhaps to be like Hannibal or die trying. The actors in this show are so gifted and play with such depth and complexity. If we get renewed, I'm going to write more about the actors' reaction to the food in Season 3.

    2. I enjoy reading this after each episode, and definitely appreciate you posting them in your spare time! (But I also hope you are getting enough sleep!) I for one would definitely enjoy reading about the actors' reactions to things. I think in a previous post you mentioned special diets or allergies being a complication sometimes. Has that come up this season at all? :)

    3. Very few of the actors on Hannibal have special dietary restrictions. Oddly, Bryan Fuller, our brilliant creator/writer is a vegetarian.

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  2. Body parts or not, I was very hungry after watching this episode. I was really hoping you would post the thigh/pork recipe. It looked so wonderful :)

    1. I want to do a clay-baked pork recipe but we have been so busy shooting the last episodes and completing all the inserts and close-ups I barely have had the time to keep posting in tandem with the broadcasts. But I will do a recipe and post it here as soon as I get some sleep!

    2. Oh no rush! I think it's wonderful that you started this blog. My dad and I love reading it after watching the show. It's like your revealing your magic tricks! It's great!

    3. Ooo, I would love a recipe for the pork loin. It looked so delicious. I think I would have to try it even if I knew it was people.

    4. I just can't wait for that recipe, I will do that meal asap !!! I never knew about that clay technique in cooking, sound awesome and I am hoping it will taste awesome as well :))

    5. Clay-baking is as old as dirt. Many ancient cultures discovered that slathering a chunkof meat with clay before throwing it on the fire would not only keep the meat from burning up into a lump of coal, it would keep the meat moist and if you wrapped it in something herbaceous like a big leaf, it would add to the flavour.
      Recipe coming soon for Chinese Chicken baked in Clay. You can use potter's clay that you get from an art store and wrap the seasoned chicken with a big lotus leaf (as Mads did) or a banana leaf or several ti leaves.

    6. I've been searching but cannot find this. Did you ever post a clay baked pork recipe? My son desperately wants to do either a loin or leg roast for his graduation celebration.

  3. I love this website so much as i am a huge Fannibal! Sadly i cannot cook, well i shouldn't say can't but i do not have the talent or knack for it that my mother does. I enjoy creating many forms of art but food is not one of them though i can greatly appreciate the aesthetics when someone else is the creator. Which is why i love this website so much, the food and it's hidden meanings are beautifully done in each episode and are so meticulous that i went back through each episode a few times to get the full meaning behind each prop and dish. Thank you so much for your hard work and know that you make a dedicated fan to all Hannibal Lecter works very happy.

    1. Thank you but please, please try to cook a bit. Just start with the simple stuff and make it impressive with the artful way you present it. Cooking is easy once you get going - and you get to eat all your mistakes.

  4. Simply wonderful. Thank you, Janice for sharing your experiences c us. Funny, I could tell that Hannibal wasn't doing all the cooking. The "stand-in hands" were not as immaculately groomed as Hannibal's. Do you really serve raw meats? Does anyone worry about Trichinosis or BSE? I know Canada has a firm grasp on these issues, but still. Gideon was amazing. I tried to imagine what one would do if faced c eating one's own flesh...and I can't come up c anything. Curiosity? Resignation? Oddly enough, repulsion did not come up. Maybe it is time I see a Psychiatrist as well.

    1. Mads does most of the on-screen cooking - but we use a hand double (a handsome young man who is an opera singer by day) when Mads' schedule doesn't allow.
      For the filming, sometimes I have raw meat on the table, but never for the actors to eat. Except for the sashimi in episode one. Everyone was looking forward to eating the hamachi and we had a sushi chef on set to handle the fish and make sure everything was foodsafe. Beef tartar, carpaccio, sashimi, caviar, gravlax and all sorts of raw meat could be alright on set but you have to keep running it back and forth to the refrigerator to keep it safe over a 4 to 5 hour shoot.

  5. I'm enchanted by the cooking-in-clay idea! Any good references for learning more about it? Does one need a special oven? Does any grit or earthy flavor impact the food?

    Thank you again, Janice Poon, for amazing and inspiring us with your unearthly food scapes!

    1. I will do a recipe soon. The leaf protects the meat from clay (you can use aluminum foil if you can't get the leaves but the leaves add a herby flavour) I think Johnny Dep does a Cuban pulled pork baked in banana leaf in "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" This could be baked in clay. Hakka Chinese do Chicken baked in Clay...

    2. Not sure if its Cuban, but the dish in question is called "Puerco Pibil". (He orders it at every restaurant, and even shoots the cook if the meal is 'too good'!) The recipe for it is on the dvd, and youtube. It's really quite yummy! I've tasted it both with and w/o the leaf. I couldn't taste a difference, but everyone's palate could be different :)

    3. I looked it up. I think it's something I could whip up in my new immersion cooker. Yes, I splurged on some new cookware as soon as I heard we got renewed for Season 3! You just can't have too many cooking gadgets.

  6. Roti de Cuisse: the leaf is from a banana tree?

    1. I think she said its a vine leaf, although I never saw one that big, definitely not from banana tree

    2. I believe a Lotus leaf. Banana leaves have a more traditional "leaf shape", elongated and the striations are prependicular to the central vein. So this was definetely, NOT a banana leaf.

    3. Yes Lotus leaf. They are huge and very inexpensive. You get about 6 in a bag. They are dried and folded and you have to soak them to soften them. Most chinese grocery stores sell them. Philippino and Mexican stores sell gigantic banana leaves - folded in plastic bags and frozen. You have to wash them to get the white powder (or is it guano) off. These are the leaves I used for the Curried Lamb in Episode 11 of Season One. To make Lampries, you fold it up with curry and rice inside and bake it in the oven then serve it on the leaf. No dish washing!

  7. This is like the preview to the Hannibal the Movie where he fed Crawford his own brain.

    As always, awesome.

    1. That is one scene I do not look forward to replicating. Brain frying. No.

  8. Janice, I L.O.V.E. your blog and the recipes you're posting each episode. Do you know if eventuelly replicas of Hannibal's handwritten recipe cards will be sold? They are looking so lovely :X :X :X

    1. Everything goes into storage between seasons. I don't think anything is going to be sold for a while. That is, as long as Hannibal keeps getting renewed.

  9. I felt so bad for Dr. Gideon. First he's disemboweled by one sociopath and now he's being fed his own leg by another murderer! Poor guy is like the Bad Luck Brian of the Hannibal world.

    Also, I got giddy seeing that giant dried lotus leaf closeup.

    1. Was like seeing Hannibal do a fan dance the way Mads twirled the lotus leaf! The guy has a way of flirting with food.

    2. I think you're confusing Dr. Gideon with Dr. Chilton. It was Chilton who was disemboweled last season (by Dr. Gideon, amusingly enough); Gideon's only injury was being shot by Will. :)

  10. Prosciutto Roses recipe had white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt & pepper along with a squeeze of lemon juice. It is not in the recipe on this site. Can you send it to me

    1. Thanks for those delicious ideas - I might have to incorporate them into my recipe! Maybe white balsamic vinegar, olive oil drizzled on top with a grating of black pepper. Let the prosciutto be the saltiness. Or grate a bit of feta cheese on top of the rose to add saltiness.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Marcus- Just figured out where you got the impossible idea that I had given the wrong recipe for Prosciutto Roses - you must have read the recipe card when Hannibal pulls it up from his recipe box! The art department makes the recipe cards but doesn't usually have time to get an actual recipe from me so when they have to write out a recipe card for a close-up, they just dream up a partial ingredient list since only the top part of the card ever shows.

  11. I need to make a clay roast and I have so many questions:

    Can I use beef tenderloin or backstrap instead of pork?
    Is there a certain type of clay that needs to be used? Like oven fireable clay?
    What kind of cooking times or temperatures? How do I know it is done?
    Is there anything i should worry about?

    Your work on Hannibal makes me hungry every week and I tend to question my sanity because of that. Thanks. You're awesome.

    1. Hi Chase-
      You can use any meat: whole chicken works great, pork loin, shoulder (marinated to tenderize). If you want to roast beef, would go with a fattier cut like strip loin. Because it's a little hard to monitor the internal temp of the meat, you might overcook a tenderloin and dry it out. The clay is good for slow-cooking. Roast at about 350F (a chicken takes about 1 1/2 hr, the double pork loin took about 3 1/2 hr.) If you want, make a little hole in the top of the clay - big enough to allow you to stick in a meat thermometer into the middle of the roast to get a reading. Get the clay from an art store. Regular potter's clay works, rolled about 3/4-inch thick. You need about 8 lb to cover a whole chicken - depending on how crazy you go with the decorations. Don't preheat your oven too high - the clay will crack. If it does it's a bit hard to patch because wet clay doesn't stick to dry clay. (You have to use a slurry but that's a topic for another day). If you can't find the lotus leaf or banana leaves, use foil or parchment paper tied with string to wrap the meat before enclosing in clay.
      I will post a recipe in a few weeks - it's fun to do and easy. To paraphrase Hannibal, "You'd have to be pretty weird to be weirder than me" so no need to question your sanity when it comes to wondering why wrong food looks so right!

  12. is there a plan to publish a book with all the recipes from the show?

    1. Hi- Just came across your comment/question - almost a year late but I'm just going over past posts and getting ready to start blogging again now that we have almost finished shooting Season 3.

      Yes! I am working on a cookbook now. Won't be out til Fall of 2016 but will have recipes from the show plus vegetarian versions.

  13. Janice, Jose, everyone, I admire your work and your exceptional styles.

    1. Thank you Fabio!

      Hope you come back for thirds..Season 3 starts June 4 and it's going to be delicious! Florence is stunning!

  14. Looks so yummy ... gotta go and get something to eat now!

  15. I am such a fan of the show, but OMG how is it that I *just* found this blog! Your work is amazing! May I ask a quick question? What is the green between the prosciutto and the watermelon? Sage? Basil? Something else? I couldn't figure it out. Thankfully it's Friday, and I'll start from Day 1 of your blog! Many thanks!

    1. Hi Ipek-
      We shot that a couple of times and first it was baby Shiso leaves but we had to substitute mint for the reshoot. Altho it looks similar, mint is too sharp to work watermelon/proscuitto. Any baby salad green would work if you can't find Shiso (a Japanese herb that kind of tastes like Thai basil).

      We've just finished shooting - it's been a long hard winter but now the airing of Season 3 is just around the corner -- hope you join us for Season 3 - and check back with my blog!

  16. Just bought your cookbook, love it! But sadly, my favourite recipe, the Rôti de cuisse recipe isnt in there :( Just chicken in clay ...
    I demand thighs for cooking !
    Apart from that, keep up the good work :))

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