Welcome back to Chef in the Kitchen, a recurring Eater photo feature where we boldly go where few diners have gone before — into Portland restaurant kitchens — to get a sneak peek of the chef du jour hard at work.
When chef Eric Joppie took over the kitchen at SE Division's Bar Avignon earlier this year, he identified two parts of the food program to expand: house-made charcuterie and pasta. Both come together in what's quickly becoming Joppie's signature dish, a foie gras and roasted apple agnolotti, which he admits came as a bit of a surprise. "When I first started putting it together, I kind of did it as a joke," Joppie says. "I was like, 'We can make a foie gras ravioli and serve it in a butter sauce' — that's such a decadent thing — it was almost like, 'Can I actually sell that?' And it kind of turned into a signature dish."
To create an evening's worth of egg pasta dough (weighing in at about a pound), Joppie combines semolina flour, white flour, olive oil, heavy cream, a few eggs, and "mostly egg yolks," running them into six long dough strips. For the filling — a foie gras and apple mousse — Joppie first tosses chopped Pink Princess apples with thyme and salt, roasting them until tender. The apples are combined with foie gras (poached sous-vide style), reduced apple juice, thyme leaves, and pate spice in the food processor, after which the resulting mousse is strained through a sieve to make it "really silky," Joppie says. The mixture is then chilled before being used as pasta stuffing.
"When it's hot, the mousse is kind of molten, and that's kind of the fun of the dish," Joppie says. "They look kind of innocuous, these little ravioli, but when you eat it, it kind of explodes in your mouth because the filling is liquid — there's so much apple in it, and when the fois gras gets hot, it gets that jelly texture."
The pastas is served with a mixture of apples sauteed in brown butter and delgazed with an apple cider gastrique; the whole dish is then sauced with a cider beur blanc.