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.

Sign in to follow this  
Jennifer Joan Lee

Cooking Thanksgiving in France

Recommended Posts

My friend Bonnie, an American friend I've known since the year we arrived here, came from Grenoble for the feast. She has had thanksgiving with us the last 4 years. When she arrived, I'd just set the consomme on to simmer with its egg white and chicken breast filter, (Bonnie arrived later than expected, the trains were on strike), we put the turkey in the oven and set to work on the rolls.

IMG_0296.JPG

Rather easy since I ordered the dough from the bakery. I had ordered 500g. each of pain aux noix (walnut bread), viennoise, and plain baguette. We began rolling them up and plopping one ball of each kind into the muffin tin. My parents-in-law arrived while we were doing this, and it was precisely the perfect moment for them to arrive, because the scene was very industrious. It set the tone for the rest of the afternoon. We got them settled in with some tea in the livingroom and Bonnie and I visited for awhile. My husband's sister who is also in Grenoble called to say they'd be late, and were doing away with the idea of taking the train altogether because with the strike they kept cancelling things last minute, so they'd be arriving by car.

IMG_0323.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aperetif was simple Champagne Gonet with some herbed and spiced nuts I'd put together for the first time. It was like chex mix without the chex, and a bit too heavy. luckily I had some blinis with various fish toppings in the freezer that I had defrosted just in case, so people didn't load down on those nuts.

Two of our guests were to arrive late, and the big quandry at a time like this is whether to serve the aperetif before everyone arrives or not. In France, people sit and wait without taking anything by mouth until the last guest arrives. It's rather torcherous. In America, on the other hand, people are handed drinks the moment they arrive, and bowls of nibbles are placed about for people to snack on throughout the afternoon. I put the nuts down on the table in the middle of the group, as a hint. No one, not one person reached for even one. I decided to get things rolling, and took a nut and popped it in my mouth, and said "Mmmmm!" Still, the group looked at me like I was a bit odd, and continued with the discussion, still not touching the nuts. I finally said that it was an American custom for everyone to get their drink the moment they arrive and the first thing out my my husband's mouth was - "but we gave them tea!". Then my husband's father chimed in with the comment that perhaps we could have something non-alcoholic. No, I insisted, we must take the aperetif now that we know that Anne and Guillaume are going to be late. They will have to miss the aperetif, since our turkey is on a schedule. Everyone reluctantly agreed, and nursed their champagne for as long as they could. With 8 people, we did not finish one bottle of champagne. Hmmm. Not the best start. I had another glass of champagne, and so did Bonnie. :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Anne and Guillaume arrived and we moved to the table. The first course was the consomme de Poule de Bresse with Truffle Ravioli. Next time I will cut out the ravioli from this dish and just add chopped herbs to the top of the soup, because it was so wonderfully flavorful. The ravioli I felt detracted from the soup, because of a picorino filling, which made it more about picorino than the truffle, which was descernable, but there was a lot going on, and I felt it would be better if it was presented more simply.

IMG_0318.JPG

The first course put everyone at ease. I was not going to force feed them anything unpalatable. This is the first thanksgiving for my husband's parents, his sister and boyfriend, and his cousin from Paris. They'd heard stories, I think, about American Thanksgiving...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The turkey came out of the oven when the soup was served, and the casseroles went in to heat up, and the rolls were set out over the lightly steaming pot where the pasta had been finished.

IMG_0314.JPG

Before serving the turkey I transferred it to another platter and quickly made the gravy. Everything came out at once, the rolls went in the oven, and the feast began.

IMG_0322.JPG

IMG_0328.JPG

They really loved it. The turkey, the fixings, etc.

After the feast, we brought out the cheese plate with hot rolls and all of our recent loves. Epoisses, Cathare de Chevre, (here is a photo of this cheese that I took at another time:)

i3879.jpg

Abondance, Comte, a lovely vieux Morbier, and star of the plate, a pretty little chevre.

IMG_0331.JPG

Here's a photo of the leftover rolls I took the next day - to see what they looked like -

IMG_0364.JPG

Finally dessert which was a HUGE HIT, and served not with Bourbon, as indicated in the recipe, but a Clairette tradition which married with it beautifully.

IMG_0353.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMG_0358.JPG

We ended the meal with a Poire William eau de vie, A gift from Aude which we put in the freezer to chill when she arrived. It was really delicious!

So in all, our thanksgiving was really nice, even with the turkey mishap and everything. The bird was tender and juicy.

My first thanksgiving abroad, I actually missed it, and cried when a Chinese co-worker wished me a happy Thanksgiving... This year the most important thing was that we had all of my husband's family there, and of course, the pie. One by one, the pies will be saved. :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nicely done, an American holiday meal at a French table.

I am curious about one thing, though, was the table set in the French or US fashon?

I asked because once we had French friends set the table before an American holiday (think it was 4th of July). It almost set off a combined French and American revolution when my sister-in-law re-did the settings and insisted on a prayer before the meal.

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds as if you had a fabulous meal. Despite all the turkey issues, your presentation is stunning.


"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

oh, Lucy, what a BEAUTIFUL Thanksgiving!

The consommé with truffle ravioli ( :wub: ) has me drooling all over again - your whole meal looks delectable.

K


Basil endive parmesan shrimp live

Lobster hamster worchester muenster

Caviar radicchio snow pea scampi

Roquefort meat squirt blue beef red alert

Pork hocs side flank cantaloupe sheep shanks

Provolone flatbread goat's head soup

Gruyere cheese angelhair please

And a vichyssoise and a cabbage and a crawfish claws.

--"Johnny Saucep'n," by Moxy Früvous

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds very fun, Lucy, and delicious! So glad you liked the pecan tart recipe. Not surprised to find that there are some inconsistencies, though, as I don't really use recipes for anything -- any time I write one down it's more or less the result of trying to remember what I eyeballed the last time.

Everything looks great. It's clear that everyone had a great time and a wonderful meal. The soup sounds great. I may copy something like that next year. :smile:


--

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lucy - that looks a beautiful meal, and a real achievement. Congratulations.


"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Very nicely done,  an American holiday meal at a French table.

  I am curious about one thing, though,  was the table set in the French or US fashon?

  I asked because  once we had French friends  set the table before  an American holiday (think it was 4th of July).  It almost set off a combined French and American revolution  when my sister-in-law re-did the settings  and insisted on a prayer before the meal.

Hey thanks guys for the wonderful comments! That pie is a keeper and is destined to be tradition here from now on. Thank you for the wonderul recipe, Sam.

We set the table the French way, Dave. Our wedding china and cutlery is French. The markings on the silver are such that you have to set it the French way (tines down) to keep them from showing. It's almost the same anyway, the difference is the orientation of the forks and the dessert and cheese cutlery is placed at the top of the plate. :raz::raz: I know exactly what you mean...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lucy, a beautiful job with the turkey. I love the idea of sealing it up with caul fat.

There is a pretty strong chance we will be moving to Germany in the next couple of years, and I have already been informed by our family and friends that they are very curious about this Thanksgiving thing we celebrate. Dread....

(I have experienced the joy of trying to improvise mexican food in Hamburg. Avocados and limes, yes. Masa, chilis, pinto beans...no way. Cilantro, substitutable cheese, yes, but go to a turkish grocer. Sort of fun if you give yourself enough time for it. I am supposed to cook a dinner for 10 there this year on Dec 25th (they celebrate Christmas on the 24th.) Maybe I can bring a bag of masa & dried chilis in my luggage...? :rolleyes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny you should mention that. I bring Masa Harina back to France now every time I go back to the States. There's a whole list of things I bring back and things I've found substitutions for. :smile: I think the syrop de canne will work for the pie, and although the pie was incredible, I wonder what it would be like with exactly the right kind of bourbon...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lucy, thank you for such a wonderful post. It gives me hope for my future Thanksgivings in Grenoble!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lucy - I forgot to ask - did you make the truffle ravioli yourself? If so - what was the recipe - and how did you come up with the idea?


"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Heck no, I left that to the Italian traiteur at Les Halles. Do you think I'm crazy enough to make a pie and make pasta??? The idea popped into my mind when some discussions of pasta at Thanksgiving had been echoing through the halls here a couple of weeks before T-day. You know I was thinking of a Turkey consomme, then while I was thinking of logistics I realized that this first course would be the ideal chance to celebrate the one most treasured culinary love I have come to fully appreciate this year, that particular poulet. You know, we went on that pilgrimmage to Vonnas to visit Georges Blanc's empire this year, and I began cooking them in various ways with birds from the producer's market... So many times you see the Poulet de Bresse being served with truffles. I was thinking about pasta in general, I had dropped my husband off at the train station and decided to take a stroll though Les Halles. I stopped at the Italian vendor and saw that truffle pasta and bought just a few to try.

This is the lady who sells them at Les Halles.

IMG_0154.JPG

That evening I had the truffle raviolis (plain) and Rachel mentioned trying a certain lasagne to serve at Thanksgiving. At that point my decision was made to do the Poule de Bresse consomme and the truffle raviolis. I think I may try to do those raviolis at home from scratch, using truffle and a more mild cheese, though. I think they're wonderful alone or with perhaps a light cream sauce, but for the consomme, I think they should play a supporting role, so I'd go with a lighter filling. :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Taking on a thanksgiving meal is proof-enough of diminished responsibility - any court of law of law would understand making pie and pasta!

Pardon the semi-off-topicness - but I was thinking for xmas making a traditional meat-filling for tortellini in brodo - and your use of truffles inspired me. Was the too-strong cheese a pecorino? What would you have preferred?


"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes it was a pecorino and parm mixture. For the given combination of the flavorful consomme and the pasta, I would have preferred a filling that served more as structure - Ricotta, or if I was making it myself, a local white farm cheese of any kind. Slightly spiced. Really the pasta itself was flavored enough with the truffles and what it really required was something quite neutral. The spices in the filling would possibly pull something warm out, i.e. minimal: paprika, salt, just a whisper of cayenne, white pepper, perhaps then a very basic herb flavor - just to give depth but no more. Even without the pasta the consomme is just fine as a first course.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ahoy - it's that time of year again!

I have a few questions for the forum about where to find particular ingredients, but I hope others will also add ideas and recommendations to the thread.

Issue #1: The turkey - Last year I special ordered a turkey from my butcher, who selected a farm-raised beauty for me at Rungis. It was delicious, but it cost a whopping 85 euros! I didn't have the courage at the time to ask the price in advance, and was a bit shell-shocked upon receiving the bill. I'm more inclined this year to try "alternative poultry." Recommendations for alternative turkey sources are also welcome. Any ideas?

Issue #2: My fruit and veg market sells single sweet potatoes at a hefty price. Can anyone recommend a market (perhaps one catering to a carribean clientele) where they are less "exotic" and therefore cheaper?

Issue #3: Has anyone seen cranberry juice in Paris? I know you can get frozen cranberries (or their cousin) at Picard, but I'm interested in the juice for a cocktail. Last year I tried to derive juice from the frozen berries but there was an unattractive, er, scum floating on the surface of each drink.


Meg Zimbeck, Paris by Mouth

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See ,I knew I was going to feel bad that I am coming to Paris a week After Thanksgiving. I could still bring a few boxes of Ocean Spray juice concentrate.

And let me tell ya Lingonberry juice does not a vodka cranberry make, but the bartender in Iceland was so happy to have a substitute.

See ya

Tracey


The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Issue #1: The turkey - Last year I special ordered a turkey from my butcher, who selected a farm-raised beauty for me at Rungis. It was delicious, but it cost a whopping 85 euros! I didn't have the courage at the time to ask the price in advance, and was a bit shell-shocked upon receiving the bill. I'm more inclined this year to try "alternative poultry." Recommendations for alternative turkey sources are also welcome. Any ideas?

Maitre Matteu (SP?), about #8 Rue du Poteau in the 18th does over 30 turkeys a year on T-giving.

Issue #2: My fruit and veg market sells single sweet potatoes at a hefty price. Can anyone recommend a market (perhaps one catering to a carribean clientele) where they are less "exotic" and therefore cheaper?
Palais de Fruits, about #97 Rue Ordener in the 18th (African/exotic/etc)
Issue #3: Has anyone seen cranberry juice in Paris? I know you can get frozen cranberries (or their cousin) at Picard, but I'm interested in the juice for a cocktail. Last year I tried to derive juice from the frozen berries but there was an unattractive, er, scum floating on the surface of each drink.
Galeries Lafayette or Bon Marche (I bought some just a few weeks ago).

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To add up on John's excellent and concise reply:

Issue #1: I seldom buy turkey but I think that at this time of year (for this is not a French holiday) you're not likely to get good prices on free-range turkey. You'll have to rely on organic markets like Raspail, Batignolles or Boulogne, or on specialty butchers like Le Coq Saint-Honoré, and they won't be cheap. Look out at street markets too. Free-range turkeys at affordable prices start popping up in supermarkets around Christmastime, not earlier.

Idea ©Ptipois: rôtis de dindonneau (rolled-up turkey joints) available at Monoprix, Champion and the like are often satisfying. With that rather insipid bird that is turkey, it's all in the way you prepare them. Why not try something different this year and invent lovely Thanskgiving recipes out of that interesting, overlooked product? That is definitely what I'd do if I were celebrating Thanksgiving.

Issue #2: try an ethnic neighborhood like Belleville, Barbès, North of gare du Nord and especially Château-Rouge, and sweet potatoes will be all over the place. In Château-Rouge you'll even get them of every different color possible: orange, purple, white. And cheap, too. But if you don't want to go that far there's always Monoprix, Champion, Casino, etc. They all carry sweet potatoes.

Issue #3: I know that sounds repetitive but there's cranberry juice (allright, Ocean Spray) at my local Champion on boulevard Saint-Marcel. There should be some at any sizeable Monoprix too, not to mention Lafayette Gourmet et al. Also, around Thanksgiving, large vegetable stands and Cours des Halles at street markets do sometimes carry bags of imported fresh cranberries.


Edited by Ptipois (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ahoy - it's that time of year again!

I have a few questions for the forum about where to find particular ingredients, but I hope others will also add ideas and recommendations to the thread.

Issue #1: The turkey - Last year I special ordered a turkey from my butcher, who selected a farm-raised beauty for me at Rungis. It was delicious, but it cost a whopping 85 euros! I didn't have the courage at the time to ask the price in advance, and was a bit shell-shocked upon receiving the bill. I'm more inclined this year to try "alternative poultry." Recommendations for alternative turkey sources are also welcome. Any ideas?

Issue #2: My fruit and veg market sells single sweet potatoes at a hefty price. Can anyone recommend a market (perhaps one catering to a carribean clientele) where they are less "exotic" and therefore cheaper?

Issue #3: Has anyone seen cranberry juice in Paris? I know you can get frozen cranberries (or their cousin) at Picard, but I'm interested in the juice for a cocktail. Last year I tried to derive juice from the frozen berries but there was an unattractive, er, scum floating on the surface of each drink.

Issue #1: I guess you could try a capon, but I dont know if it is less expensive than a turkey. I recently called a butcher that specializes in poultry and I think his turkeys were 6€ a kilo, does that sound right?

Issue #2: I would imagine that you could find sweet potatoes at the marché Aligre and it shouldn' be that expensive, have you tried? My market in the 20th at Place de la Reunion has them and I don't remember thinking they were very expensive. And there is an African market, but I can't remember where; Goutte d'Or maybe or La Chapelle, I will look if someone doesnt come up with it.

Issue # 3: I have seen cranberry juice at many markets in Paris, keep looking. I think both my Champion and Monoprix have it.


www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

, but it cost a whopping 85 euros!

Wow! How big was it? If I recall correctly ours was about 8 Euros per kilo last year. This year I've ordered from some acquaintences who have a commercial vineyard, but their children raise a couple of dozen turkeys for sale to make money for Christmas. The turkeys run free in the vineyard during the day. I have great visions of grape fed turkey which is self basting. I'll report later.

. Can anyone recommend a market (

I just buy Yams from the local market. They'te not quite the same, but baked & served with butter they're pretty close. The othe substitute is baked pumpkin/ orange squash. This cubed & baked with butter & brown sugar is delicious if not as traditional.

Issue #3: Has anyone seen cranberry juice in Paris?

Sorry, can't help. Out here in the hinterlands I even have trouble getting frozen cranberries.

Finally, I'll share a turkey trick I use. Firstly, I use Julia Child's deconstructed method of roasting my turkey. In our house there is never enough dark meat so I cook a 4 legged turkey. As you know you can buy turkey leg-thigh pieces very cheaply here. I bone a pair of these as well as the original two from the bird, stuff them with one of my stuffings, sew them up & bake. If after some resting you pull out the large tendons they carve beautifully.

Gobble, gobble!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By liuzhou
      The rise and fall of French cuisine
       
      interesting read.
       
    • By apilinariosilvia
      Can anyone give me idea how to make homemade french bread in wood fired oven?
    • By pastrygirl
      There are two local grocery stores here who I'd like to try to sell chocolate to but they have policies forbidding GMO soy,  Soy lecithin is allowed only if organic or certified non-GMO. 
       
      I use a lot of Felchlin, some Valrhona, a little Cacao Barry. The only mention of GMOs I've found from Felchlin is this note in a brochure: GMO absence:  Felchlin fulfills current legislative requirements regarding GMO absence.  All Felchlin products comply with the Swiss Regulation and the European Council Regulation related to genetically modified organisms in food and feed.
       
      Does anybody know what those requirements are?  Is anything European going to be GMO-free?  Or labeled above some %?
       
       
    • By umami5
      Has anyone come across a digital version of Practical Professional Cookery (revised 3rd edition) H.L. Cracknell & R.J. Kaufmann.
      I am using this as the textbook for my culinary arts students and a digital version would come in very handy for creating notes and handouts.
    • By Mullinix18
      I dont believe that any English translation of Carêmes works exist. An incomplete version was published in 1842 (I think) but even the that version seems lackluster for the few recipes it does cover. I think it's time the world looks to its past, but I don't speak great French and it's a huge task to undertake. I hopefully plan on publishing this work and anyone who helps me will get a very fair cut, and if we decide not to publish it, I'll put it out on the internet for free. I'm working in Google docs so we can collaborate. I'm first cataloging the index to cross reference the pre-existing incomplete English version to give us a reference of what yet needs to be done, and from there we will go down the list of recipies and Translate them one by one. Simple google translate goes only so far, as it is 1700s French culinary terms and phrases being used. I'd like to preserve as much of Carêmes beautiful and flowery language as possible. Who's with me? 
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...