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Cooking with 'The Cooking of Southwest France'


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It's that time of year when cooking from this book is most appropriate again (or so it seems to me). I gave the "Poached Chicken Breasts Auvergne Style" a whirl this time around.

Elie~

these are so beautiful. What is the stuffing? It is layered between the cabbage and the chicken and then poached?

Kathy

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  • 4 months later...

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Here's the cherry clafoutis. Because I'm swimming in a sea of cherries I did pack in a few more cherries than the recipe calls for. I'd have to say that I'd like it a bit cakier myself. It's very custardy, and will make a delicious breakfast tomorrow morning, but as a dessert it's not very sweet and quite eggy. Good, mind you, but a bit more like a cherry omelette than I expected.

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No picture this time, but I made the Duck Breasts Roasted in Salt and they're really wonderful. Because I used the French gros sel instead of kosher salt the salt mixture was a bit too soupy with 4 egg whites and I had a hard time getting the salt shell to stick together. But it wasn't a problem in the end, as the breasts were perfectly cooked and delicious. I really recommend this technique!

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  • 4 months later...

I am baking from TCoSWF for my dad's birthday. Would appreciate any input on the menu from you more experienced folk with this cookbook!

To start: Rabbit Compote with Prunes. Looks like this is even better made a week in advance. Was going to serve in a terrine with warm crusty bread, dijon and cornichons.

Salad: Hot Mussel Salad with Endive & Cream. This looks like it can be made quickly as long as I make sure the mussels are clean in advance, no? Has anyone made this? Hopefully it is not too heavy for a middle course. Or maybe I should keep it simple and go with the Mache Salad with Moutarde Violette.

Main: Cassoulet from Toulouse. I've never made cassoulet but I have the Clay Coyote pot that is just *dying* to be used for something other than holding apples on the kitchen table :wink:. I am going to start the duck confit and sausage confit now (am not going to make my own sausage, though - going to check out the local Polish market). I have done duck confit before - and will likely make extra to have in the refrigerator as a cook's bonus!!

For dessert I was thinking either the Cherry Clafoutis or the Apples Baked in Cabbage Leaves. The apple dish sounds really interesting, but it's only gotten one comment in this thread, and it wasn't favorable!! Has anyone tried it? Maybe I should make both in case the Apple isn't received well. One of 'em has got to have candles on it!

Thanks for any advice...

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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I haven't made the mussel salad, but the mâche salad with moutarde violette is delicious. I don't think you need the extra protein from the mussels, as the cassoulet is very rich. I have to say that I prefer the Catalan cassoulet to the Toulouse one, I find it more interesting to eat, and less heavy. But if you've already started your confits....

You have a super-rich menu there, and I'd go with something citrusy afterwards. Although I haven't tried it, the lemon bombe looks like it would be very good here. Or even the red wine sorbet with madeleines.

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Thanks Abra - you're right, the menu is looking pretty rich. My family eats *a lot*, so I tend to lean towards going a bit overboard.

My dad has always wanted a traditional cassoulet - keeps ordering it in restaurants here in the US and being dissatisfied with it. It seemed as the Toulouse cassoulet was the closest to what he would consider to be traditional cassoulet?

Is it traditional to serve any side dishes along with a cassoulet, like green beans or leeks or another vegetable?

Dessert wise, I've ditched the idea of the cherry clafoutis - too far out of season for cherries here in Houston, but pears looked lovely, so I picked those up and was thinking of doing a poached pear dish or a pear tart for dessert. Although I could just eat those myself and go with a citrus dessert as you recommend...

I may make up my mind at the last minute on the salad - the mussel salad looks really good, but the mache is easier and lighter.

Edited by viva (log)

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Thanks Abra - you're right, the menu is looking pretty rich.  My family eats *a lot*, so I tend to lean towards going a bit overboard. 

My dad has always wanted a traditional cassoulet - keeps ordering it in restaurants here in the US and being dissatisfied with it.  It seemed as the Toulouse cassoulet was the closest to what he would consider to be traditional cassoulet? 

Is it traditional to serve any side dishes along with a cassoulet, like green beans or leeks or another vegetable?

Dessert wise, I've ditched the idea of the cherry clafoutis - too far out of season for cherries here in Houston, but pears looked lovely, so I picked those up and was thinking of doing a poached pear dish or a pear tart for dessert.  Although I could just eat those myself and go with a citrus dessert as you recommend...

I may make up my mind at the last minute on the salad - the mussel salad looks really good, but the mache is easier and lighter.

A simple tart salad (Arugula is my choice) and a few crusty baguettes is what I normally serve with Cassoulet. I love the Toulouse one BTW.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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After several 90 degree days this week, the weather cooled to a mere 80 and I decided to make garbure. I love preparing all the separate components, refrigerating, and then throwing everything together the following day (which was yesterday). Such a feeling of accomplishment, dontcha think?

And today, had a long and exhausting day in San Juan Capistrano. The temp never got above 65 (a lovely fall chill in the air) so I was absolutely jonesing for a big bowl of garbure. It was so good that I had two bowls.

Another thanks to Paula!

And to everyone else: make garbure (and lots of it). With a chill in the air, you'll be happy to have a huge pot of it stashed in the fridge. And it gets better and better after a few days.

MMmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Garbure.

kit

"I'm bringing pastry back"

Weebl

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I made the Chicken in Garlic Wine this week. I actually didn't quite follow instructions, in that I left the garlic and herbs infusing in the wine for 5 days, as my husband was in the hospital and events sort of overtook me. Nonetheless, the sauce was delicious, and maybe even more so because of the extra garlic time. This is a sauce that I think would really shine on fish as well. It's a super-simple preparation that yields a really tasty result.

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And to everyone else: make garbure (and lots of it).  With a chill in the air, you'll be happy to have a huge pot of it stashed in the fridge.  And it gets better and better after a few days.

MMmmmmmmmmmmmmm.  Garbure.

I love Garbure as well and just made a big pot last weekend. It is very easy to make and, as you say, perfect when the weather gets chilly.

I boil poitrine de porc with potatoes, then add cabbage, carrots, onion, garlic, turnips if I have them, herbs, and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. This recipe is basically from Julia Child, does the "Cooking of Southwest France" recipe differ much?

www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

I made the Ragout of Veal with Orange today. That's a totally delicious dish! Because of my schedule, I left it in the sauce in a warm oven for an hour before serving, which worked perfectly. Don't hesitate to make this in advance, and definitely don't leave out the orange peel slivers. It's a great bridge season dish, warming and filling, but with a freshness from the orange and lemon that is inviting even when it's not the dead of winter.

By the way, I used a kilo of veal and left all the other ingredients as written and there was plenty of excellent sauce.

Edited by Abra (log)
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And to everyone else: make garbure (and lots of it).  With a chill in the air, you'll be happy to have a huge pot of it stashed in the fridge.  And it gets better and better after a few days.

MMmmmmmmmmmmmmm.  Garbure.

I love Garbure as well and just made a big pot last weekend. It is very easy to make and, as you say, perfect when the weather gets chilly.

I boil poitrine de porc with potatoes, then add cabbage, carrots, onion, garlic, turnips if I have them, herbs, and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. This recipe is basically from Julia Child, does the "Cooking of Southwest France" recipe differ much?

Julia's version is delicious.

A couple of variations that I like are: Add a parsnip or two at the most. And/or add, if you can find them a couple of the orange colored turnips that are in the markets now. (I don't know if there's a name for them other than Navet.) They add a wonderful flavor.

Another soup that's just coming into season is curried pumpkin soup. I bought the first potrions I've seen at market yesterday and am making the soup today.

Can't wait for dinner so may have some for lunch!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Finally getting around to posting about my first cassoulet experience! Made a full dinner entirely from this cookbook. Quite a hit for the birthday boy, and I definitely appreciate the advice from previous posters.

Appetizer: Compote de Lapin aux Pruneaux. I didn’t get any photos of the rabbit – it disappeared too quickly! I packed the compote into a lidded crock for both aging and serving (did not unmold), then shredded the prunes and served on the side along with a tart red onion jam and some whole grain mustard. (Serving the whole prunes just lying on top of the compote didn’t seem too visually appealing to me.) The tart accompaniments really went nicely with the richness of the compote. This one was a real hit, very easy to make, and I was happy to have a little bit left over the next day on a salad.

Main: the Cassoulet de Toulouse, served with the very easy Mache Salad with Moutarde Violette and crusty bread. I tossed a few of the cracklings from rendering down the duck fat into the salad. Because there wasn’t quite enough richness in the meal already! :laugh:

I procured my three ducks from the Vietnamese market, whole head and foot on. The bones, heads, and feet were used to make the Dark Rich Duck Stock, which will then be used in this year’s Thanksgiving turkey gravy, making me the stealth Gravy Queen!

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The sausage confit in progress below. I did not make the Toulouse sausages, but purchased a nice fresh garlic-thyme kielbasa from the local Polish market. I also used a combination of duck fat and lard for the confit fat.

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Duck confit out of the oven (I confited the wings, necks, and legs from all three ducks):

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Canned sausage confit ready for aging:

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Cook’s treat! The duck “sludge” from filtering off the confit fat.

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And, at long last, the cassoulet out of the oven:

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Dessert: Grimmolles, served with crème fraiche on the side. Surprisingly popular! I had actually made a backup pear tart with almonds, but the grimmolles were a hit. Made on my pizza stone, with cabbage leaves getting nicely crispy and flavorful on the bottom, topped with not too sweet battered apples. I think if I were to do this again, I would make it in a smaller cast iron skillet, so that the apples and batter heaped up into a form, rather than spreading themselves out over the leaves.

gallery_19995_6310_32013.jpg

A wonderful meal.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Yes, we definitely ate the cabbage leaves - they didn't taste "cabbagey" but rather crispy and smoky. That, together with the subtle sweet of the apples and the creaminess with the creme fraiche made a really nice, unusual combination. I would recommend trying it (especially with those lovely apples that I saw pictured recently on your blog, Abra).

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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  • 3 months later...

Since it's poule au pot season, I made the CSWF recipe for the second time. I didn't have jambon de Bayonne this time, and used jambon cru instead, which wasn't quite as magical, but this year I made a great soup from the leftovers. Pictures and details are here. If you've never tried this recipe, and I see that I'm the only one that's posted here about it, you really should. It's absolutely wonderful.

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Since it's poule au pot season, I made the CSWF recipe for the second time.  I didn't have jambon de Bayonne this time, and used jambon cru instead, which wasn't quite as magical, but this year I made a great soup from the leftovers.  Pictures and details are here.  If you've never tried this recipe, and I see that I'm the only one that's posted here about it, you really should.  It's absolutely wonderful.

Thanks, Abra. I put it on the week's menu. The wind is howling and we're in need of comfort food.

Actually, though, it's my hope that at some time we will be able to choose this kind of recipe from "Adventures in Abra's Languedoc Kitchen". :wub:

eGullet member #80.

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This weekend I've been making Paula Wolfert's slow-cooker confit of pork. The results have pleasing and surprising. The meat is a bit more salty and chewy than I would've expected but it's also extremely flavorful in a porky way, so I'm happy.

I defrosted two "hands" of pork -- the arm between the hocks and shoulder -- that were frozen last November after the slaughter of my 2008 half pig. Once thawed, I dried them off and coated them with coarse salt and sage for a day and a half. Over the winter I've been trimming and saving lots of pork fat for confits and sausages, so I rendered just enough to cover the pork in my slow cooker.

I've got a question: since I'm not putting up any confit, I'm thinking of using the rendered lard again for another batch of confit later this week. Can anyone share some pro's and con's? The fat never smoked and likely stayed below 100C the whole time.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I think re-using the fat from confit, as long as it still smells good, is perfectly OK, and can give fantastic results.

I agree, Chris. I guess what I'm less sure about is the "authentic French way" of doing it.

I regard this confit technique as another way to slow poach in oil. I'm sure I'll be fine filtering and sniffing the oil, which BYW has developed quite a fine nose after one six hour cooking session.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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We cooked a three course meal from Paula's book yesterday. All recipes that we hadn't tried previously. The meal turned out well although I wouldn't say it was brilliant. More like nice ordinary Sunday French cooking. We cooked:

"The Archbishops Tourain" This duck comfit based soup with rye bread was true peasant food despite the title. Just the thing after a long walk on a cold day. Very hearty and flavorful.

"Michael Guerard's Pureed Celery Root" I've always wanted to try something with celery root other than the classic cold salad dish. This cooked version with apples was was good and went very well with the duck based soup. I'll do it again.

"Batter Cake with Fresh Pears" Good, but disappointing. It didn't rise nearly as much as advertised. Don't know why as we followed the directions pretty carefully. Taste wise it was fine. It defiantly needs the sugar coating as the pears are a bit bland otherwise.

Overall this turned out to be an 'ordinary' French dinner.

I've written this up in far more detail on my blog (link below) and there you will also get the story of shopping for the ingredients at Limogne market.

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Paula's words are having quite an impact on my kitchen -- almost everything I see is a potential confit. Reminds me of the time ten years ago when I became equipped to flambé. At first it was a banana here, a quail there -- over time it escalated to a clear and present fire hazard.

These are the pork hands from the weekend, before & after:

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and a hen that spent 18 months in my freezer:

gallery_42214_6390_57541.jpg

That bird was a dud destined for the stock pot until it spent a half day simmering in flavoured oil. It came out looking and tasting of pheasant -- dark red, stringy but moist, mildly gamey.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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Since it's poule au pot season, I made the CSWF recipe for the second time.  I didn't have jambon de Bayonne this time, and used jambon cru instead, which wasn't quite as magical, but this year I made a great soup from the leftovers.  Pictures and details are here.  If you've never tried this recipe, and I see that I'm the only one that's posted here about it, you really should.  It's absolutely wonderful.

I made poule au pot today, but didn't use Paula's recipe. I did some looking on the net, but in the end pretty much followed Jacques Pepin's recipe plus local advice.

I didn't use an old hen as they're expensive and I was serving 6 hungry people so would have needed two hens. Instead I used 3 coqullet (young roosters). Otherwise the recipe was similar, onion, carrots, cabbage, leeks and butternut squash cooked in the stock made from the little chickens.

I didn't stuff the birds as one of our guests has a gluten intolerance so can't have anything with bread in it. Besides there are as many unstuffed recipes as there are stuffed in any case.

After boiling the chickens carved easily into two halved & the skin slipped off with no problem. I also removed the rib cage & back & breast bones.

The real trick was to serve the dish with Dijon mustard and cornichons. They absolutely 'made' the dish. (not sure whether Paula's recommended green sauce would have been better or not. I'll have to try it.)

I'll post my recipe on my blog in the fullness of time, but suffice it to say that this version was delicious and much enjoyed by all. (I've now done it.)

Edited by Dave Hatfield (log)
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  • 4 months later...

Okay guys - need your opinion. What's the best cassoulet in the book? I've made the Toulouse, but am torn on the next one to make, either the Fava Bean Cassoulet or the Catalan Cassoulet.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Okay guys - need your opinion.  What's the best cassoulet in the book?  I've made the Toulouse, but am torn on the next one to make, either the Fava Bean Cassoulet or the Catalan Cassoulet.

The Fava Bean Cassoulet is really extraordinary. The difficulty of finding fresh favas is the only barrier which keeps me from making this dish more often.

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