Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

FrogPrincesse

Cooking with Anne Willan’s "The Country Cooking of France"

Recommended Posts

As mentioned in my eG foodblog, Anne Willan’s The Country Cooking of France is one of my favorite cookbooks (together with Les Halles, Lucques, and a few others). It’s very complete and covers regional specialties as well as a wide variety of techniques. I like the fact that the recipes are authentic and contain detailed instructions. Every time I think of a French specialty that I miss, I can find a recipe for it in this book. It won a James Beard award in 2008 in the international cookbook category.

Here is some additional information from the publisher:

Renowned for her cooking school in France and her many best-selling cookbooks, Anne Willan combines years of hands-on experience with extensive research to create a brand new classic. More than 250 recipes range from the time-honored La Truffade, with its crispy potatoes and melted cheese, to the Languedoc specialty Cassoulet de Toulouse, a bean casserole of duck confit, sausage, and lamb. And the desserts! Crêpes au Caramel et Beurre Salé (crêpes with a luscious caramel filling) and Galette Landaise (a rustic apple tart) are magnifique. Sprinkled with intriguing historical tidbits and filled with more than 270 enchanting photos of food markets, villages, harbors, fields, and country kitchens, this cookbook is an irresistible celebration of French culinary culture.

As I was using this book few days ago, I thought that I should start a thread about it. I’ve been cooking from it regularly since I bought it a couple of years ago. Hopefully other people will join me.

Pumpkin and leek soup with foie gras

This is a simple but flavorful soup. The pumpkin is boiled with leeks and potatoes until soft, and then pureed in a blender. The soup goes from a simple and comforting dish to a great course that could be served in a dinner party thanks to the addition of a slice of seared foie gras. I used a cast iron skillet and it only took a minute or two per side to cook the foie gras. D’Artagnan sells frozen foie gras slices that work great in this application.

Lastly, the soup is topped with thinly sliced chives.

There is no cream in the soup, but the foie gras more than compensates for it!

6199235649_8f25bbc087_z.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

FrogPrincesse, thanks for starting this topic, your recommendation says a lot. I have dozens of French cookbooks but none by Anne Willans. I'm not sure why. Her reputation is impeccable but her previous cookbooks have never tempted me. I'll take a look at this one for sure. In the meantime, I'll look forward to your posts.



Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A little late, here is the traditional Pithiviers, aka Galette des Rois, which is traditionally eaten to celebrate Epiphany in France.

It is made of two disks of puff pastry which are filled with frangipane, a filling made from ground almonds and little bit of rum. The galette is egg-washed and decorated by scoring the top with a knife and crimping the edges with a fork. At the end of baking, the galette is brushed with a sugar solution for shine.

Of course, to qualify as Galette des Rois, you have to remember to hide "la fève", a bean or a little trinket, inside the galette.

Spiral pattern

5377290936_7ae82e6c36_z.jpg

Ear of wheat pattern

4264577733_0244782440_z.jpg

The galette is best eaten warm (and goes very well with champagne!).

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for this thread. Ill follow it but there is little chance of me making things from here, as for some reason i no longer get involved in 'complicated' stuff.

I did request this from my Lib. and look forward to studying it.

I was fortunate to live in La France for two years growing up and L.F. and esSpain are dear to my heart and my eGullet.

a long time ago I actually made some pretty good ( Great !!!! ) pate, country I liked etc.

thanks for reviving an interest in one of the finest of few finest cuisines!

Happy Cooking!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks rotuts, I am glad that you enjoy reading this. The Galette des Rois is actually pretty simple to make if you use purchased puff pastry, which I did.

Maybe not quite as photogenic as the Galette, here is a dish I made a couple of days ago with the Sauce Bordelaise à la Crème (shallot sauce with white wine and cream) from page 217.

I was looking for a twist on the classic beurre blanc that I enjoy with fish a lot. With Sauce Bordelaise, red wine is what first comes to mind. This version is made with cream and white wine. Compared to beurre blanc, it's much more robust since it contains flour. A big advantage is its stability. It may not be as refined as beurre blanc, but it is a very good option for a winter meal. The fish was black rock cod served with pencil asparagus from my CSA.

6731735481_5450f43440_z.jpg

The recipe is visible here on Google books.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With my daughter I made this super simple recipe from The Country Cooking of France last night. She loves eggs (soft boiled, hard boiled, fried, scrambled, omelettes, you name it). For a change we made Oeufs en Cocotte.

We cooked thinly sliced chives in butter (the recipe calls for scallions but I did not have any). Then we prepared croutons by frying little cubes of stale country bread in more butter. We added chives and croutons to buttered ramekins, then she cracked an egg in each one, and added a spoonful of sour cream (heavy cream or crème fraîche work well too).

7185674403_e2960e5c3b_z.jpg

The eggs were cooked in a bain marie in a 350F oven. We forgot about them so they were a little overdone, but still wonderful. This recipe is very easy to modify by adding all sorts of interesting ingredients (cheese, sauteed mushrooms, ham, smoked salmon, fresh herbs, etc).

7370905604_035e8faf4a_z.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

....here is a dish I made a couple of days ago with the Sauce Bordelaise à la Crème (shallot sauce with white wine and cream) from page 217.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. It's definitely a "go" next time I want to sauce fish.

In return, but without pics, I'll tout the cotriade recipe: a luscious fish and mussel chowder spiked with sorrel. A crowd pleaser every time.


eGullet member #80.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In return, but without pics, I'll tout the cotriade recipe: a luscious fish and mussel chowder spiked with sorrel. A crowd pleaser every time.

Margaret,

Thank you so much for reminding me about the cotriade. I LOVE sorrel and have a small plant growing on my patio. I also just bought a couple of white bass fillets that I was going to cook tonight, so I think that I am going to give the recipe a try!


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As promised, I made the Cotriade Bretonne last Friday (fish stew with sorrel and leek).

The recipe was very straightforward. Sorrel and/or arugula - I used a mix as I did not have a lot of sorrel - are cooked down in butter and set aside. I used a Le Creuset pot to soften some onions, leeks and garlic in butter. Then fish stock, diced potatoes, are added together with a bouquet garni and salt + pepper. I used "ratte" fingerling potatoes, which have the advantage of being firm with a nutty flavor, very nice in a stew. Then the fish is added and cooked for about ~ 5 minutes, and the shellfish is added last (if using). I used white bass fillets but in 2 inches pieces. Having a variety of fish, oily & white, and shellfish, as recommended in the recipe, sounds like a great idea, but the stew was also delicious with just one kind of fish. The sorrel, lemon juice, and a good amount of creme fraiche are added and the stew is cooked a few minutes more. The soup is served with croutes (crusty bread fried in butter and rubbed with garlic).

7390709280_5c5fede234_z.jpg

Recipe here on Anne Willan's website.

I really loved the flavor of this fish stew and the simplicity. A great option for week-nights which would also work for dinner parties.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This food is so stunning, this fall and winter Im going to do my best to contribute something here. It cooler then in N.E.

and as ive lived in FR. for two years in a previous century, well Not All is Sous Vide!

Im assuming all have seen the movie Chocolat? it has chocolate involved, but that's the France I lived in in the '50s

bon appetite!


Edited by rotuts (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a great, great thread, thanks so much. I love traditional French cooking, and both your choice of dishes and your photography are impeccable. Please continue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a great, great thread, thanks so much. I love traditional French cooking, and both your choice of dishes and your photography are impeccable. Please continue.

Thanks for the kind words. My husband is responsible for most of the pictures (the nicer ones, obviously).

I have a lot more things to post to this thread once I am able to clear a giant backlog :-)


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The classic Quiche Lorraine recipe from the book has become my favorite, after using the Alton Brown "refrigerator pie" version for years. When some people use heavy cream or half and half (or even milk, as my mother used to - the horror!) for the filling, Anne Willan uses crème fraîche. This is a really traditional version and therefore it does not contain any cheese, but you get some cheesiness from the cream. The filling is just the crème fraîche, a couple of eggs, some nutmeg, and the slightly browned lardons (which would normally be smoked - I used a mixture of homecured "fresh bacon" and store-bought boar bacon).

It puffed a lot and deflated after I took it out of the oven.

7423419410_6b5147c612_z.jpg

I like to think that the tanginess of the crème fraîche cuts through some of the richness of the dish. It's great with a green salad (with a vinegar-heavy dressing). I like prepare a double batch of pastry dough, and keep the second tart pan lined with the dough and ready to go in the freezer, that way I can make quiche again whenever the mood strikes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Zewelwai is another quiche worth mentioning. It's a bacon-less version of quiche lorraine, which can sound pretty sad... However the bacon is replaced with plenty of slowly-cooked onions and so it's full of flavor.

Here is the pastry dough (pâte brisée); the recipe is also from the book and I make it by mixing the ingredients first for a short time in my stand mixer, and then finishing by hand with a gentle touch (to preserve the flaky texture).

6998816465_b8bce525ca_z.jpg

It is baked blind before the filling is added. It's baked in the oven for about 30 minutes. This quiche does not puff much.

6852992012_8ca4d4c781_z.jpg

Slice

6863970150_f193f75192_z.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No Pork? :blink:

:laugh:

many thanks for that tranche. there are many Quiche Voyeurs (probably just me ...) that like to see what going on inside the Q's

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No Pork? :blink:

:laugh:

many thanks for that tranche. there are many Quiche Voyeurs (probably just me ...) that like to see what going on inside the Q's

Good - slices are hard to photograph but my husband did a good job with that one.

For these desperate cases that require bacon, I am sure you could come up with a hybrid version - onions AND bacon. And if you decide to go crazy, you could even add Gruyère cheese... lot of possibilities!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You Bet: this fall ( all your fault! :laugh: )

My mother used to work in a cheese shop somewhat high end in the stanford shopping center. she just like to be around people. there were a lot of 'ends' they gave then to her and she send them to us. a few days aging!

those bits and pieces ( now really aged :huh: ) went into Q's with a crispy salad some times Caesar a la Julia Child.

stunning. I like a little 'creamy-ness' in the "money shot"

:hmmm:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chicken stewed in wine, aka coq au vin, is a well-known French dish. But why not try something different. Chicken with beer (Coq à la bière), the Flemish twist on this recipe, is a very nice stew that does not take a lot of effort to prepare.

The chicken pieces are sprinkled with flour and browned in a pan. Then the pan is deglazed with genever which is flambéed (it's hard to go wrong with a recipe that calls for genever AND pyrotechnics!). The chicken is removed from the pan to allow the sliced onions and button mushrooms to cook. The chicken pieces are added back, together with brown beer, and braised for about 45 minutes until tender. Cream is added to the cooking liquid at the end to enrich the sauce. I served it with fingerling potatoes.

8362774523_c239b23649_z.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still reminiscing about a quick trip to Lyon last month, last night I was in the mood for Salade Lyonnaise aka Hot bacon and egg salad (Frisée au lard et à l'oeuf). I used Benton's bacon which is a slight twist because bacon (lard in French) in not smoked unlike Benton's which is heavily smoked. The bacon is diced into lardons and cooked until slightly crispy. The rendered fat and bacon are poured over the frisée, which wilts and warms up the salad slightly. Then the salad is seasoned with plenty of black pepper and red wine vinegar. Poached egg on top (I used the Arzak technique). Devour with a slice of crusty bread.

8554048726_04cfa6ee54_z.jpg


Edited by FrogPrincesse (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't know how I missed this thread before. Kind of shocked I don't have this book (have most in this genre) so great to see it. I make pithiviers all the time (yes, a lot, adore it) so love seeing that, and also the quiche, and the pumpkin soup with fois gras absolutely beautiful. Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going through old pictures while planning my next French dinner party... Here is the Roast butternut squash with herbs. The squash is sliced and brushed with melted butter & olive oil; sprinkled with sugar, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. The squash is roasted under foiled for 30 min at 375F and then without foil, basted regularly with the olive oil/butter until nicely browned.

 

8005200513_e327d53457_z.jpg

 

Simple and pretty basic, but it's very tasty.

 

Recipe here on google books.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That looks like a good way to get more squash into our diet, now that the season is here. Thanks for posting the photo and recipe.


Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Burmese Days
      Hello everyone,
       
      This is my first post, so please tell me if I've made any mistakes. I'd like to learn the ropes as soon as possible. 
       
      I first learned of this cookbook from The Mala Market, easily the best online source of high-quality Chinese ingredients in the west. In the About Us page, Taylor Holiday (the founder of Mala Market) talks about the cookbooks that inspired her.
      This piqued my interest and sent me down a long rabbit hole. I'm attempting to categorically share everything I've found about this book so far.
       
      Reading it online
      Early in my search, I found an online preview (Adobe Flash required). It shows you the first 29 pages. I've found people reference an online version you can pay for on the Chinese side of the internet. But to my skills, it's been unattainable.
       
      The Title
      Because this book was never sold in the west, the cover, and thus title, were never translated to English. Because of this, when you search for this book, it'll have several different names. These are just some versions I've found online - typos included.
      Sichuan (China) Cuisine in Both Chinese and English Si Chuan(China) Cuisinein (In English & Chinese) China Sichuan Cuisine (in Chinese and English) Chengdu China: Si Chuan Ke Xue Ji Shu Chu Ban She Si Chuan(China) Cuisinein (Chinese and English bilingual) 中国川菜:中英文标准对照版 For the sake of convenience, I'll be referring to the cookbook as Sichuan Cuisine from now on.

       
      Versions
      There are two versions of Sichuan Cuisine. The first came out in 2010 and the second in 2014. In an interview from Flavor & Fortune, a (now defunct) Chinese cooking
      magazine, the author clarifies the differences.
      That is all of the information I could find on the differences. Nothing besides that offhanded remark. The 2014 edition seems to be harder to source and, when available, more expensive.
       
      Author(s)

      In the last section, I mentioned an interview with the author. That was somewhat incorrect. There are two authors!
      Lu Yi (卢一) President of Sichuan Tourism College, Vice Chairman of Sichuan Nutrition Society, Chairman of Sichuan Food Fermentation Society, Chairman of Sichuan Leisure Sports Management Society Du Li (杜莉) Master of Arts, Professor of Sichuan Institute of Tourism, Director of Sichuan Cultural Development Research Center, Sichuan Humanities and Social Sciences Key Research Base, Sichuan Provincial Department of Education, and member of the International Food Culture Research Association of the World Chinese Culinary Federation Along with the principal authors, two famous chefs checked the English translations.
      Fuchsia Dunlop - of Land of Plenty fame Professor Shirley Cheng - of Hyde Park New York's Culinary Institute of America Fuchsia Dunlop was actually the first (and to my knowledge, only) Western graduate from the school that produced the book.
       

      Recipes
      Here are screenshots of the table of contents.  It has some recipes I'm a big fan of.
       
      ISBN
      ISBN 10: 7536469640   ISBN 13: 9787536469648 As far as I can tell, the first and second edition have the same ISBN #'s. I'm no librarian, so if anyone knows more about how ISBN #'s relate to re-releases and editions, feel free to chime in.
       
      Publisher
      Sichuan Science and Technology Press 四川科学技术出版社  
      Cover
      Okay... so this book has a lot of covers.
      The common cover A red cover A white cover A white version of the common cover An ornate and shiny cover  There may or may not be a "Box set." At first, I thought this was a difference in book editions, but that doesn't seem to be the case. As far as covers go, I'm at a loss. If anybody has more info, I'm all ears.
       
      Buying the book
      Alright, so I've hunted down many sites that used to sell it and a few who still have it in stock. Most of them are priced exorbitantly.
       
      AbeBooks.com ($160 + $15 shipping) Ebay.com - used ($140 + $4 shipping) PurpleCulture.net ($50 + $22 shipping) Amazon.com ($300 + $5 shipping + $19 tax) A few other sites in Chinese  
      I bought a copy off of PurpleCuture.net on April 14th. When I purchased Sichuan Cuisine, it said there was only one copy left. That seems to be a lie to create false urgency for the buyer. My order never updated past processing, but after emailing them, I was given a tracking code. It has since landed in America and is in customs. I'll try to update this thread when (if) it is delivered.
       
      Closing thoughts
      This book is probably not worth all the effort that I've put into finding it. But what is worth effort, is preserving knowledge. It turns my gut to think that this book will never be accessible to chefs that have a passion for learning real Sichuan food. As we get inundated with awful recipes from Simple and quick blogs, it becomes vital to keep these authentic sources available. As the internet chugs along, more and more recipes like these will be lost. 
       
      You'd expect the internet to keep information alive, but in many ways, it does the opposite. In societies search for quick and easy recipes, a type of evolutionary pressure is forming. It's a pressure that mutates recipes to simpler and simpler versions of themselves. They warp and change under consumer pressure till they're a bastardized copy of the original that anyone can cook in 15 minutes. The worse part is that these new, worse recipes wear the same name as the original recipe. Before long, it becomes harder to find the original recipe than the new one. 
       
      In this sense, the internet hides information. 
       
    • By TexasMBA02
      After batting about .500 with my previous approach to macarons, I came across Pierre Herme's base recipe online.  After two flawless batches of macarons, I've been re-energized to continue to work at mastering them.  Specifically, I want to try more of his recipes.  My conundrum is that he has, as far as I can tell, two macaron cookbooks and I don't know which one I should get.  I can't tell if one is just an updated version of the other or a reissue or what the differences really are.  I was hoping somebody had some insight.  I have searched online and haven't seen both books referenced in the same context or contrasted at all.
       
      This one appears to be older.

       
      And this one appears to be the newer of the two.

       
      Any insight would be helpful.
       
      Thanks,
       
    • By K8CanCook
      Update!! --- the sale is still going on at Amazon as of Sunday (11/24) at 11:15am EST
      ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
       
      Did anyone note the sale price on Modernist Cuisine today (maybe yesterday)? Amazon and Target dropped the set of tomes to $379!!!
       
      This price looks like it will change after today...so get it ASAP!!!

      https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/0982761007?pf_rd_p=183f5289-9dc0-416f-942e-e8f213ef368b&pf_rd_r=SRFCHFB5EFTGAA8AZHJX
      -or-
      https://www.target.com/p/modernist-cuisine-by-nathan-myhrvold-chris-young-maxime-bilet-hardcover/-/A-77279948
    • By Bollo
      I need a book on the application of rotavapor machine. I've searched something on web but i can't find something strictly professional for the kitchen please help me. To improve the research. 
    • By Smokeydoke
      After a delightful brunch at Koslow's Sqirl restaurant in Los Angeles, I've decided to attempt to cook through her cookbook. I'll post my results here.
       
      Please follow along and join in, if you're so inclined. Her food is wonderful, but I will surmise that her true deliciousness comes from using the best and freshest ingredients. I'll do my best to recreate the magic I felt at Sqirl.
       
      Here's the link to her book at Eat Your Books.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...