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bleudauvergne

Cooking with 'The Cooking of Southwest France'

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FoodMan   
Elie - how much does that rabbit rillette make?  Would you say it's enough to fill 6 pyramid molds (the kind used for little cakes)?  And what would you like to drink with it?  It looks like Lillet, or maybe a Sauternes, would be really nice.  Yours looks so good, even though you complained about the presentation, I want some!

I say it will definitly make a first course for 6 people using pyramid molds, unless the molds are too big. You are right about the drink, both will work. I chose to drink the same wine I cooked and marinated with, a favorite white Bourdoux (sp?) of ours.

I was not really unhappy about the presentation, I just thought it would look much better in a terrine mold.

Let us (and show us :biggrin: ) know if you try it.

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carswell   
And what would you like to drink with it?  It looks like Lillet, or maybe a Sauternes, would be really nice.

While I can see a white Bordeaux working, I'd incline toward a light-bodied, supple red, like a Beaujolais or a Bourgueil. Southwest wines that would fill the bill include various Gaillac, Côtes-du-Frontonnais, Pécharmant, Graves and Fronsac, especially those done in a fruity style, second labels and wines from "weak" vintages.

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ludja   
And what would you like to drink with it?  It looks like Lillet, or maybe a Sauternes, would be really nice.

While I can see a white Bordeaux working, I'd incline toward a light-bodied, supple red, like a Beaujolais or a Bourgueil. Southwest wines that would fill the bill include various Gaillac, Côtes-du-Frontonnais, Pécharmant, Graves and Fronsac, especially those done in a fruity style, second labels and wines from "weak" vintages.

I agree with this as well. We had a light to medium-bodied, red Burgundy with the dish and that was very nice. I could also picture a good fit with a non- or lightly oaked Chardonnay. There is a richness to the dish but the flavors are not so strong that either would work well, in my opinon.

Thank you for sharing the nice photos and other documentation in making the Rabbit Compote, Foodman! The salad with walnut vinagrette seems like a very nice accompaniment.

For an alternate take, the presentation at Zuni was actually in an 'unmolded' state. The rillettes looked like they were loosely broken up with a fork and served in a nice, single-serving round on each plate. The prunes were on the side, as were the buttered, toasted bread rounds. The 'side' was a frisee salad with vinagrette. I think there is a photo of this in Carolyn Tillie's article which is linked to within The Zuni Restaurant thread linked above.


Edited by ludja (log)

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Abra   

Thanks for the wine recommendations, folks. I didn't see a red, just from reading the recipe, so that's very helpful. I'm not doing this dish until Nov. 20, but I'll be sure to show how it looks then.

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chefzadi   

I received the book earlier this week (thank you dear Paula). I'll have more time to absorb it this weekend.

The photographs are beautiful, very honest home cooking, not stylized art department"food porn" (how I hate that phrase).

Ther recipes have detailed context.

The history of meat dishes with fruits in Europe are something I'm interested in. I'm pretty sure it was a Moorish contribution, I'll have to look at my notes before I say for certain though.

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I got my copy last week and first impressions were that its a fantastic book. I tested the stuffed onions - don't have my notes with me but will dig them out - and remember it being a great dish.

Last weekend I had a chance to cook one of the recipes - confit of duck with red cabbage salad. I used some confit that I had made earlier in the year and assembled the salad according to instructions.

It was a great meal - easy to prepare but the tastes, textures and colours really worked.

Here's a (very fuzzy) picture (obviously my presentation is not as pretty as the one in the book):

gallery_18846_1731_2319.jpg

I expect that I'll be using this book heavily over the next few months as I explore all of the recipes in detail. :smile:

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FoodMan   

I guess this question is mainly for Lucy, about the kidneys. Remember my complain about not being able to find them here. Well, when I bought the rabbit for the compote last week at a local foodie-gourmet-superstore (Central Market), I actually saw that they had veal kidneys, tongue and sweatbreads. However, these are not always available and they were frozen. Should I even try the kidneys or like you said, it HAS to be fresh?

Elie

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Elie, I just called my butcher to ask him about this. I reminded him that in this particular recipe they are simply pan seared - he thought about it for a minute and then gave me the deal: The thing about the veal kidneys are that they are going to release a certain amount of liquid during the thawing process, more liquid than they would normally release. In order to get a good effect when cooking them you have to make sure they're really well drained and dry. He said that you should take the time to let them defrost fully in a colander and then wrap them in a clean dish towel and gently squeeze them and pat them completely dry before you put them in the pan to cook. He concluded rather cheerfully that using the frozen kidneys for a recipe like this is "not insurmountable" and that you can still get a quite good result by using frozen. Hope that answers your question. :smile:

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Elie - how much does that rabbit rillette make?  Would you say it's enough to fill 6 pyramid molds (the kind used for little cakes)?  And what would you like to drink with it?  It looks like Lillet, or maybe a Sauternes, would be really nice.  Yours looks so good, even though you complained about the presentation, I want some!

The great thing about pyramid molds is that you can fill them to whatever level you like! Just make sure you get the same amount in each one!

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FoodMan   
Elie, I just called my butcher to ask him about this.  I reminded him that in this particular recipe they are simply pan seared - he thought about it for a minute and then gave me the deal:  The thing about the veal kidneys are that they are going to release a certain amount of liquid during the thawing process, more liquid than they would normally release.  In order to get a good effect when cooking them you have to make sure they're really well drained and dry.  He said that you should take the time to let them defrost fully in a colander and then wrap them in a clean dish towel and gently squeeze them and pat them completely dry before you put them in the pan to cook.  He concluded rather cheerfully that using the frozen kidneys for a recipe like this is "not insurmountable" and that you can still get a quite good result by using frozen.  Hope that answers your question.  :smile:

I think it does. I might pick some up and give them a try in the name of experimentation--tasty experimentation :wink: .

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Last night I was drawn again to Paula's Wild Leek and Mushroom Torte, the Tourte de poireaux de vignes et champignons on page 90. Even though it's not the month of May and I can't get wild leeks or ramps, I just used regular leeks. It made a great casual supper for visitors just arriving.

gallery_15176_1870_51320.jpg

Today at lunch I served what everyone else is serving - the Autumn Squash Soup With Country Ham and Garlic Croutons, or Creme de potiron on page 67. It was a great lunch and warmed us up on this blustery autumn day.

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This soup is so easy and so delicious that it is a shame not to prepare it, right now.

We of course followed it up with the last of the Leek and Mushroom Torte which reheats well.

gallery_15176_1870_25097.jpg

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FoodMan   

I made the mushroom leek torte too! So let's compare notes.

I mainly did it because I had all the ingredients and it sounded like great dish. Like you Lucy, I used regular leeks but added a chpped clove of garlic to get it closer to ramps. The crust for the tart is perfect, easy to work with and bakes to a lovely shade. I will be using it for any other savory tart.

Here is the tart getting filled with leeks, mushroom and homemade creme fraiche

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Before going in the oven

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and fully baked

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Unfortunatly I almost forgot to take a picture of the sliced pie. The one picture I did take came out blurry and is not worth posting.

The dish is excellent and has a wonderful flavor. The tangy creme fracihe is definitly what makes it very special. I agree with Lucy, the tart stores very well and leftovers are excellent.

One minor issue that I had is the fact that the mushrooms are not sauteed but placed in raw. They release a lot of moisture and make the filling pretty runny. Did you have a similar issue? You might not, if you used wild mushrooms. I used the small white ones that the recipe asks for. The next time around I would rather saute the mushrooms before adding them in. Once cool though the filling sets out a little better. So an option could be letting it cool all the way to room temp. Then slicing into it?

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chefzadi   

looks great Lucy and Elie.

An option for sauteeing the mushrooms is to reduce the liquid afterwards and thicken with just a little bit of roux if you don't want to throw out the flavor of the mushroom juices. I suppose you can use cornstarch, but I don't think of it as being French and the texture of cornstarch thickened sauces do not appeal to me.

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Smithy   

Yesterday I cooked the Roast Chicken Stuffed with Garlic Croutons in the Style of the Corrèze. It was a big hit at dinner, and I'll definitely do it again. Still, I had some puzzlement and frustration with it. The frustration came because you're supposed to tip the bird on one side and roast for a while in the casserole (I was using my Le Creuset oval French oven), then on the other side and roast, and I couldn't get the darned thing to stay on its side. Meanwhile, every time I moved it the skin would rip. There wasn't much intact skin by the time I finished, and a fair amount remained on the pot bottom (where it later contributed to the sauce). The chicken is sliced before serving, so the lack of skin wasn't a big deal...but it would have been better with crispy skin.

The remaining skin wasn't crispy. Looking back on it, I remember that the chicken cooked more quickly than advertised; maybe my oven was hotter than I thought. When I got to the stage of leaving the lid off so the chicken could finish cooking (and presumably crisp the skin) I realized the chicken was already quite tender. I took it out for fear of overcooking and drying the bird out. Next time, for want of a thermometer that I trust, I'll do each side rotation a little more quickly.

The puzzlement, among all of us, was that the bread stuffing was in the form of slices. Why slices, instead of dicing? I reread that recipe many times, and if there's a stage where the bread slices were to have been cut more, I missed it.

I tell you, that was one tender chicken. It was a big hit with us and our dinner guests, despite the puzzlement over the bread. The flavors were excellent - rich, earthy, warming - and the chicken was very tender. We tend to like a lot of sauce, gauche gourmands that we are, so next time I may make more if possible - but really, there was plenty of sauce to go around.

Add another keeper recipe to the list. Sorry, no photos.

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carswell   

Am I reading the recipe wrong, Smithy, or shouldn't the chicken be resting on the vegetable-bone mixture in the bottom of the pan? That would prevent the skin from sticking. Also, Paula doesn't say to tip the chicken to one side but to lay it on its side, which is absolutely doable if the bird is properly trussed.

Thanks for the report. The recipe sounds like another winner.

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Smithy   

Carswell, you're reading the recipe correctly. In my case the bottom of the pan (Le Creuset enamel) was slick enough, given the juices that were flowing, that the chicken skidded the vegetable/bone mixture out of the way. Two things that might have caused that (I'm guessing here) are: pan too big for the chicken (although my next size down would have been too small) or, as you note, my tipping the chicken instead of picking it up and laying it where it needed to go. Maybe we're identified another technique issue: I didn't have a good way to grab the bird and maneuver it (I hate using clean towels for that, but also hate poking it with a fork) - hence the tipping instead of picking it up.

I thought I had it trussed properly, but the rounded sides weren't a good balance point. Are you saying that a properly trussed chicken is more squarish, or will otherwise balance on its side? Do I need to go look at some photos?

Next time I'll try some photos to show the technique (or lack therof). I just finished the leftovers for lunch. Wonderful. :wub:

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mukki   
Maybe we're identified another technique issue: I didn't have a good way to grab the bird and maneuver it (I hate using clean towels for that, but also hate poking it with a fork) - hence the tipping instead of picking it up.

I've found that using two wooden spoons to turn a roast chicken is quite useful. This works particularly well for an unstuffed chicken since I just stick one of the spoons into the chicken's cavity.

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carswell   

mukki beat me to it, Smithy. For turning hot birds, I usually use a couple of wood spatulas obstensibly bought for stir-fying in the wok. And for unstuffed birds, the "handle in the cavity" technique is the way to go. For particularly recalitrant fowl, I resort to manhandling the bird while wearing an old pair of washable oven mitts saved for the purpose. If none of these are viable for you, "tip" the bird as you did but then lift up one end or side and push the vegetable-bone mixture under it; repeat at the other extremities as necessary.

Re trussing, I find removing the wing tips and then trussing the bird so the wings are held against the side and the legs pulled toward the centre produces a relatively flat sided beast. Is that how you did it?

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Smithy   

Hmm. I didn't remove the wingtips, but I did have them tucked under the armpits, so to speak, to keep them from cooking too much faster than the rest of the bird, and then the elbows tied to the birds' sides. The legs were trussed so the drumsticks came close together enough to keep the stuffing in. I may not have trussed the bird tightly enough. I'm sure I have a book or three at home that show me how I should have done it. :biggrin: I'll check tonight if I get a chance.

I like the wooden-handle-in-the-cavity idea, and it might work even with a bird stuffed tightly as I had it. I'll try it next time. As it was, I was trying to use a wooden spoon and a nylon spatula to turn the bird by gripping the outside, and as I noted upthread it tended to be more an affair of tipping it up than of picking it up.

Thanks, folks, for the tips.

Do be sure to try the recipe!

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Smithy   

Dear Stephanie,

Our evening Sunday night was so much fun, I thought you’d like to know the Monday night epilogue. As you’ll recall, we feasted on the Roast Chicken Stuffed with Garlic Croutons in the Style of the Corrèze from Paula Wolfert’s new cookbook, The Cooking of Southwest France, and all of us agreed it was wonderful. What you didn’t know was that I’d considered serving our group the Evening Garlic Soup in the Manner of the Corrèze, from the same cookbook. I’d decided against the soup at the last minute, partly for fear of overdosing us on garlic (some people think that’s possible) and partly because I realized that the soup stands almost as a meal in itself.

Last night I cooked the soup for our family. It isn’t a difficult recipe: take some finely chopped onion and thinly sliced garlic, sweat it, add flour and cook until it’s starting to brown, then add beef broth. As that simmers, separate the yolks and whites of two eggs. Beat the whites until frothy, and whisk in cool broth. Break up the yolks and stir in some red wine vinegar. Add the yolks and whites at separate stages near the end of the cooking, and serve. I’m omitting some seasonings, but you get the idea.

This recipe has gotten rave reviews both for its simplicity and flavor from some of the eGulleteers, so I was expecting great things from it. I was a little surprised at the vinegar in the egg yolks: what was that supposed to accomplish? I wondered to myself. The mixture was pretty pungent. Still…others have loved this soup, and I don’t know much about French cookery. Something interesting would happen. I added the eggs as instructed, finished heating the soup, and served. It looked lovely.

Russ took his first sip before I sat. “What do you think?” I inquired. He replied, “You first.” Uh-oh. That usually means he’s not keen on something but doesn’t want to say so if I really like it. I sipped. Not bad. Pretty darned tart, though. I kept sipping. We started adjusting – maybe it needed Worcesterhire sauce? Soy sauce? Cream? The flavors were pretty good, but it was a very vinegary recipe. Hmm. Is this Southwest French cookery?

I looked at the recipe again. It said “4 tsp red wine vinegar”…not “4 tbsp red wine vinegar” as I’d read the first 5 times, and had done.

Be very glad we had the chicken instead! When I serve you this soup, I'll be able to do it properly.

Cheers,

Nancy

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I made the mushroom leek torte too! So let's compare notes.

and fully baked

gallery_5404_1891_72687.jpg

I love that crosshatch design in the crust--did you cut partially through the raw dough to make it?

Were there any holes to release steam? I don't see any. Perhaps this acted to hold in some liquid which might have evaporated.

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FoodMan   

LOL, thanks for the chuckle Nancy :smile:. So basically you added a 1/4 Cup vinegar instead of a 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon. Maybe you could make some more soup sans vinegar and just add it to the previous one, thereby adjusting the flavor.

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Smithy   
LOL, thanks for the chuckle Nancy :smile:. So basically you added a 1/4 Cup vinegar instead of a 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon. Maybe you could make some more soup sans vinegar and just add it to the previous one, thereby adjusting the flavor.

Too late, we polished it all off last night anyway. It was that good. :biggrin:

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FoodMan   
I made the mushroom leek torte too! So let's compare notes.

and fully baked

gallery_5404_1891_72687.jpg

I love that crosshatch design in the crust--did you cut partially through the raw dough to make it?

Were there any holes to release steam? I don't see any. Perhaps this acted to hold in some liquid which might have evaporated.

Sorry, I muct've somehow missed this yesterday. Yes, you kind of partially cut before it is baked.

Actually there were four small vents if I am not mistaken. So, you have a very good point, maybe they were too "small". They might've closed during baking and caused much more steam to be locked in.

In any case the tart especially the crust was a huge success withg everyone and I would love to try it with ramps if I can get ahold of some.

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