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Cooking with 'The Cooking of Southwest France'


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Today's project (after the 'Great Windstorm of '06' cancelled skiing) was 'Slow-cooked Duck Legs in Red Wine. Another multi-day effort begins with, what else, duck legs!

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I decided to make a double recipe, so multiple batches of legs seared (longer than 3 minutes, per the recipe; I wanted good browning on both sides). Here's a picture of the holding pen:

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The duck trimmings went on the back burner for the day on low for future SW cooking:

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The fireball I created with the Armanac caused a bit of a furor as we were all in the kitchen doing various things; instead of a match, I just tipped the pan into the flame...BOOM

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The pancetta/shallot/garlic mince was the second time in a week I've been instructed to whirl pork fat with other ingredients in the interests of culinary harmony. In this recipe the subsequent aromas in the kitchen made my sons ask if we were having this for dinner tonight (no, you'll have to wait for Tuesday...).

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Staging the flour and wine:

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The browned tasty bits are ready for the flour:

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After the flour was added I didn't end up with a single ball of flour, but I soldiered on:

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The instructions about adding the wine were perfect, having had issues with roux/gumbo/stock, I took my time and made sure that everyting was blended before turning up the heat to make the sauce:

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Everything into the Le Creuset for the initial slow cooking:

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Out of the oven, ready for a snooze in the fridge and tomorrow's slow heating:

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That is looking very good, Marc! The duck legs was one of the first things I prepared from the first edition of the book. This was the recipe that hooked me into cooking through it. I was so happy with the results. I chose that recipe because at the time I had picked up a bunch of duck legs cheap, we had a whole lot of co-op Cote du Rhone in a box, and we were on a serious budget. This dish was instrumental in forming my belief that for a sucessful dish, the whole adds up to much more than the sum of its parts. :smile:

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Hi Lucy,

The salmis is progressing, albeit slower than in the recipe. Methinks it's due to the permanently installed ceramic tiles in my oven. On day 3, the sauce smells (and tastes) great, but the duck, 'she is nowhere close to tender.'

I'm improvising at this point with a longer oven session tonight (still at low temps).

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Yay!  Lucky lucky us!  Paula will be the guest chef/author at a dinner at the London Grill in Philadelphia on March 21, 2006 as part of the annual Book and the Cook celebration featuring recipes from The Cooking of Southwest France.

I am very much looking forward to seeing Paula again and having the opportunity to taste some of these fabulous recipes.  :smile:

Hi Katie, We are planning to be in the area during that week in March - I tried to find information on the Book and the Cook website but it doesn't appear to be updated. Do you know where I can get more info on the restaurant/chef series that week?

Thanks!

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Yay!  Lucky lucky us!  Paula will be the guest chef/author at a dinner at the London Grill in Philadelphia on March 21, 2006 as part of the annual Book and the Cook celebration featuring recipes from The Cooking of Southwest France.

I am very much looking forward to seeing Paula again and having the opportunity to taste some of these fabulous recipes.  :smile:

Hi Katie, We are planning to be in the area during that week in March - I tried to find information on the Book and the Cook website but it doesn't appear to be updated. Do you know where I can get more info on the restaurant/chef series that week?

Thanks!

The website isn't updated yet but I've sent an e-mail to the Book & the Cook organizer to inquire when to expect the schedule to be posted. I'm just waiting to hear back from her. As soon as I do I'll post here and in the PA forum as well.

Let me know if you need any more suggestions for places to go while you're here.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Hi Lucy,

The salmis is progressing, albeit slower than in the recipe.  Methinks it's due to the permanently installed ceramic tiles in my oven.  On day 3, the sauce smells (and tastes) great, but the duck, 'she is nowhere close to tender.'

I'm improvising at this point with a longer oven session tonight (still at low temps).

How did the dish turn out, Marc? :smile:

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I thought the story was funny, but it  was so unnecessary for her to put down the egullet testing team.

Her testing methods were a bit sloppy.  I question why anyone would make a  fava bean cassoulet in the middle of winter?  Why mix up  "Nine pounds of fresh fava beans, husked and peeled." with nine pounds of husked beans. The recipe calls for

peeling one cup.

Why would a cookbook reviewer  test a recipe in an uncalibrated oven and then complain that the food burned?  And why did she substitute a crucial ingredient  and then complain about the results?

An interesting side note to her review: more inconsistencies in her last article for the LA times at http://www.latimes.com/features/food/la-fo...-headlines-food

An article in last Wednesday's Food section about food to serve while watching the Super Bowl incorrectly described the recipe for Buffalo wings at Anchor Bar in Buffalo, N.Y. The article said Anchor Bar fries the chicken wings, pours Frank's RedHot sauce on them and offers bottled blue cheese dressing on the side. In fact, the Buffalo wings there are cooked, then tossed with a proprietary sauce that comes in four flavors; the blue cheese dressing is made in-house. Also, retired football player Mean Joe Greene's last name was misspelled as Green. Additionally, an accompanying article describing Frank's RedHot incorrectly stated that this sauce is the "secret ingredient" behind Anchor Bar's wings, which are not made with it.
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Made the Pouissin with Garlic Cream Sauce last night for the first time, my first recipe not in the original edition.  The sauce was great, although I didn't get the port and stock reduced quite enough before adding the garlic cream.

Although I liked the final sauce, I was actually thinking that the garlic cream by itself (w/o the port and stock) after I removed the solids was a great sauce (certainly more intense).  Has anyone tried this?  I am thinking about it with some pan-roasted chicken.

I am a devotee of the garlic cream sauce. I've used it with and without the port as a basis for sauces for a number of different dishes, including soups. Run with it....and report back on your experiments! :biggrin: (works great with pork)

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The salmis turned out excellent! I talked on the side with Paula and realized that my error was in not letting the Le Creuset and the entire contents come to room temperature before the subsequent heating. It takes a while with 16 legs and the associated sauce!

By cooking longer in the last two rounds (to get the whole thing up to temperature) I achieved the desired result.

I loved it, my wife and kids didn't care for the intensity of the wine sauce. More for me!

Edited by Marc Olson (log)
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tonight I dug out a few duck legs from the confit I put up for cassoulet, this was the first time I ever made extra to use on their own so I followed the CWSWF book for cooking them.

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the taste was excellent but they stuck too much and I lost some precious skin :sad:

do you think that was a result of maybe the pan not being hot enough? I used the method for muscovy ducks

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Did you start them skin side up in the pan? I either bring them to temp in the oven or start them skin side up until they are warm/hot, and then crisp the skin (you need a hot skillet) as long as needed.

I also make sure that I've added enough duck fat prior to adding the duck confit so that there's a medium in the pan for crisping the skin; if the pan is dry then the skin will stick initially.

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Yay!  Lucky lucky us!  Paula will be the guest chef/author at a dinner at the London Grill in Philadelphia on March 21, 2006 as part of the annual Book and the Cook celebration featuring recipes from The Cooking of Southwest France.

I am very much looking forward to seeing Paula again and having the opportunity to taste some of these fabulous recipes.  :smile:

Hi Katie, We are planning to be in the area during that week in March - I tried to find information on the Book and the Cook website but it doesn't appear to be updated. Do you know where I can get more info on the restaurant/chef series that week?

Thanks!

The website isn't updated yet but I've sent an e-mail to the Book & the Cook organizer to inquire when to expect the schedule to be posted. I'm just waiting to hear back from her. As soon as I do I'll post here and in the PA forum as well.

Let me know if you need any more suggestions for places to go while you're here.

The Book and the Cook 2006 Schedule

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, after being so anxious for my copy of the book, I admit to an initial disappointment. It seemed every recipe that really appealed called for ingredients that were nigh impossible to obtain here in the suburbs. And on-line doesn’t mean universally available, unfortunately. Many sources do not ship outside of the US or if they do, the cost is prohibitive.

Eventually, however, I returned to the book and on Saturday made the Chicken Thighs with Pineau de Charentes. The Pineau is available at a reasonable price but I had no transportation so used the wine and Cognac alternative. The dish was simple to make and amazing in taste. The leftovers were equally good. I will be picking up a bottle of the Pineau for my next attempt.

I plan on trying the Evening Garlic Soup very soon.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Oh Anna...how frustrating for you! Hopefully you can find some of the ingredients. My alltime favorite is the pousin with the lemon garlic cream. I've used small chickens and they work fine too.

Last night I dug out some confit legs, and after initially being stumped about the steaming part (wound up with my tami screen over boiling water), I'm not sure about the crisping part. Initially I didn't use any fat in the pan, but the skin just seared and sealed itself to the pan. Once I added a bit of fat, all was fine, but I need to work on the crisping part. The flavor of the confit was delicious and complex. Very happy there are more legs in the crock. :rolleyes:

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Oh Anna...how frustrating for you! Hopefully you can find some of the ingredients. My alltime favorite is the pousin with the lemon garlic cream. I've used small chickens and they work fine too.

Last night I dug out some confit legs, and after initially being stumped about the steaming part (wound up with my tami screen over boiling water), I'm not sure about the crisping part.  Initially I didn't use any fat in the pan, but the skin just seared and sealed itself to the pan. Once I added a bit of fat, all was fine, but I need to work on the crisping part.  The flavor of the confit was delicious and complex. Very happy there are more legs in the crock.  :rolleyes:

I must admit that much of my frustration can be blamed on living in the suburbs with no transportation as on Paula's book. Some things are certainly out of reach either because of cost or availability but there are many recipes that I can manage. (Thanks! Paula.)

Tonight we enjoyed Prunes in Sauternes though I took the suggestion of using white wine in place of the Sauternes. After his first taste hubby said, "You can make this again. I had prunes every day for breakfast in the Air Force and they never tasted like this!"

And today I did the sauce base for the Baby Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Sauce. Tomorrow I will roast a small chicken (unfrozen game hens are rarely available). The sauce base looks so rich and luscious. I admit to being very afraid during the reduction that I would end up burning it but I patiently reduced and stirred and managed to reach the required amount of reduction without any disaster.

I am falling back in love with the book.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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For making duck confit, is there much of a difference in taste if you use pork fat instead of duck/goose fat?

I have access to cheap rendered lard at the mexican markets here in chicago - a gallon goes for about $5. A couple of cups of goose fat goes for more than that! The pork lard that I get from those markets isn't perfectly clear - it's a bit porky. Would I need to strain it or some such thing?

Thanks,

Ian

edited to say: Paula mentions lard as a substitute for poultry fat in the book.

Edited by ianeccleston (log)
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I wouldn't use all pork fat to make duck confit. If you are low on duck fat, youu can "top off'" by adding some rendered pork fat , but going all porkfat would, I think, corrupt the flavor. .

Please don't consider using commercial lard to make any kind of confit. It produces a horrible flavor. I know because I tried it once! You can get good rendered pork fat from a German or Hungarian butcher or make your own.

On the other hand, if you want to cook pork and duck for confit at the same time you can mix the two fats---half and half.

Edited by Wolfert (log)

“C’est dans les vieux pots, qu’on fait la bonne soupe!”, or ‘it is in old pots that good soup is made’.

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Well, after being so anxious for my copy of the book, I admit to an initial disappointment.  It seemed every recipe that really appealed called for ingredients that were nigh impossible to obtain here in the suburbs.  And on-line doesn’t mean universally available, unfortunately.  Many sources do not ship outside of the US or if they do, the cost is prohibitive.

Eventually, however, I returned to the book and on Saturday made the Chicken Thighs with Pineau de Charentes.  The Pineau is available at a reasonable price but I had no transportation so used the wine and Cognac alternative.  The dish was simple to make and amazing in taste.  The leftovers were equally good.  I will be picking up a bottle of the Pineau for my next attempt. 

I plan on trying the Evening Garlic Soup very soon.

Anna, that is a disappointment. :sad: However, I can enthusiastically recommend the soup. I made it during my blog, when I had a terrible head cold, and it was very delicious. I actually couldn't taste it the day I made it (or smell it), but I saved some for later, and it was wonderful.

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"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Here's the delicious Walnut Tart from Masseube

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The dough, as advertised, is finicky to work with, and I didn't exactly get the "wavy" effect Paula describes for the top dough, but it was a fabulous treat. And leftovers make a great breakfast food.

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Abra - that tart looks luscious!

The chicken with lemon-garlic sauce went over very well. I thought the lemon flavour was a bit too prominent and I put that down to some lemons being more “lemony” than others. Hubby just said the sauce was delicious. I knew I had miscalculated on the timing for the chicken so I upped the oven temperature to 375F. The chicken was done to perfection. I couldn’t find non-frozen game hens so used a small fryer instead. The sauce is very rich and I made a full portion even though there were just two of us so I am going to attempt freezing the leftovers. Sorry, no pictures. My camera works but my spare batteries which I fully charge before storing them, are DEAD when I need them!

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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  • 2 weeks later...

Duck gissards confit: well not exactly - i had no chicken fat and used evoo instead (of course it's all Paula's fault anyway, after trying her amazing pork coddled in olive oil (Slow Med book) i started to confit everything in olive oil only).

Gizzards came out very good: subtly spiced, nicely chewy (i'm paranoid about meat mushiness and stopped cooking them after two and a half hours) and just maybe a bit salty but in a good snack-y way - i can't stop stealing them from the pan :wub:

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