Poule au Pot

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In the fifteenth century the Gascon-born French King, Louis IV, famously said in his coronation speech something along the lines of, “I want every peasant to have a chicken in their pot on Sundays”. Well, far be it from me to deny the wishes of an ex-sovereign, so today, I bring you this simple recipe that’s perfect for feeding the family, Sunday or otherwise.

Just like the pot-au-feu recipe I’ve shared previously, you can use the broth from the pot that remains at the end of cooking as an entrée and then serve the meat and veggies for the main.

What really brings this dish to life though is the sauce gribiche. The capers and cornichons give it a tang that complements the chicken so well!

 

Poule au Pot serve 6

Ingredients:

  • 3 litres chicken stock
  • 3 slices smoke bacon (2cm thick)
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 3 celery stick, cut into short lengths
  • 2 turnips, peeled and quartered
  • 4 small leeks, trimmed, cleaned and cut into short lengths
  • 1 small head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
  • 5 bayleaves
  • 6 slices thick sourdough (2.5cm)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 free range chicken ( 2-2.5kg)

Method:

  1. Put the chicken stock, slices of bacon, vegetables, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves into a large pot, bring to the boil and leave to simmer while you prepare the stuffing for the chicken.

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For the stuffing:

  • 50g chicken liver, chopped
  • 125g white breadcrumbs
  • 120g rindless thick slice smoked bacon, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 30 shallots, finely chopped
  • 20g chopped parsley
  • 3 medium eggs, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon salt

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For the vegetables:

  • 12 medium carotts
  • 12 small turnips, trimmed and sliced
  • 12 small potatoes, similar size and peeled
  • 12 small shallots, peeled
  • 6 small leeks, trimmed, cleaned and cut in 3-4 pieces

Method:

  1. Mix the chicken liver, breadcrumbs, bacon, garlic, shallots, parsley, eggs and salt together in a bowl.
  2. Season the inside of the chicken and spoon the mixture inside.
  3. Truss the chicken securely with cooking string.
  4. Add the chicken to the pot, making sure that it is submerged. Add I teaspoon of salt, bring back to the boil and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Turn the chicken over top up with boiling water if necessary, but don’t dilute it too much and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile preheat the oven at 150 degrees Celsius. Place the slices of bread onto a tray and leave them for 20 minutes to dry out in the oven, but not brown.
  7. Lift the chicken out of the pot, remove the first lot of vegetables and discard.
  8. Return the chicken to the pot, add all the vegetables and bring back to the boil, and simmer for 10 minutes and then the vegetables and chicken should be cooked.

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Sauce Gribiche:

  • 1 ½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 8 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon capers, chopped
  • 1 teaspoons cornichons, chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg white, finely chopped
  • 1 hard boiled egg yolk, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped.

Method:

  1. Whisk the mustard and vinegar together in a small bowl, then gradually whisk in the olive oil.
  2. Stir in the caper, cornichons, egg white, egg yolk, parsley and some salt and pepper to taste.

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Serving suggestion:

  1. To serve lift the chicken onto a board a cover with foil. Put the dried slice of bread at the bottom of a soup bowl, cover with stock and eat as a first course.
  2. Carve the chicken and cut the bacon. Place some vegetables, chicken, bacon and stuffing on a plate. Drizzle with some stock and serve with the sauce Gribiche.

I suggest you pair this classic dish with a “Close Planted” Pinot Noir 2012 from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

Watch the how to video below or visit my Youtube channel  here for more.

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Pasta Alla Puttanesca

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Despite the more colourful inferences that pasta alla puttanesca was born of Italian houses of ill repute, made by prostitutes to lure customers in from the streets, the dish in truth, has far more simple beginnings.

Yes, it’s true that “alla puttanesca” can translate to “style of the whores” but the very similar word “puttanata” means rubbish, or crap, and its in this translation where we find a more probable history.

In the 1950’s, on the island of Ischia, a man by the name of Sandro Petti was asked late one night by some patrons in his restaurant to make them some food. Nearing closing, he didn’t have many ingredients left so told them there wasn’t enough to make a meal. “Facci una puttanata qualsiasi,” they said or “Make any kind of garbage”. Only having a few olives, tomatoes and capers, he used these to make a sauce and mixed it with spaghetti. Petti later placed it on his menu, but changed “puttanata” to “puttanesca” apparently because the former didn’t sound quite right.

 

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Pasta Alla Puttanesca

Ingredients:

  • 400g fresh pasta
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 anchovy fillets
  • 2 red chilies, sliced
  • 80 g black olives, pitted
  • ½ punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ bunch fresh basil, picked and washed
  • parmesan, to serve

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Method:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta for about 4 minutes or until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile place a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add olive oil, then add the garlic, anchovy and chili. Add the pitted olive and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the garlic starts to slightly caramelize and the anchovies start to blend into the sauce.
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes and a little bit of the cooking water, cover with the lid and cook for 2 minutes or until the tomatoes start to cook.
  4. Add the basil to the sauce along with the fresh pasta and some of the cooking water, just enough to loosen and make delicious and saucy!
  5. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, transfer the pasta in a big serving bowl, top with shaved parmesan, basil and anchovy fillets.

A glass of  EVOI Sauvignon Blanc Semillon   From www.airoldifinewines.com.au would be a perfect match with this delicious pasta dish.

Watch the how to video below or visit my YouTube channel  here for more.

Fresh Homemade Pasta

 

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Pasta is synonymous with Italy and despite theories that suggest it was brought to Italy from China by Marco Polo in the 13th century, its Italian origins go back much earlier than that.

It’s now more widely accepted that pasta in Italy dates back to Etruscan times (1st century AD) when the Romans ruled the area we now call Italy. The kind of pasta that existed was known as “lagane” (where the term for modern day lasagna comes from), but it was baked instead of being boiled in water.

Pasta in its modern form is thought to have been brought to the southern part of Italy, in particular to Sicily, by Arabian invaders and then settlers from the 8th century onwards. The first term for pasta was “macaroni” which in Sicilian meant “kneading dough with energy”.

From a process that used to take almost a whole day to complete hundreds of years ago, pasta has now become one of the quickest and easiest recipes to make! The recipe I am sharing with you today should only take you about an hour to complete (and that’s including resting time for the dough!).

Try making the real stuff next time you feel like a delicious pasta dish, the taste is worth it!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 500g “00”Flour
  • 100g Fine Semolina
  • 6 Free range eggs
  • Pinch of salt

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Method:

  1. Place the flour and semolina in a mixing bowl, make a well in the center and crack the eggs into it.
  2. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth.
  3. Using your finger tips, mix the eggs with flour a little at a time until everything is combined.
  4. Knead well until all the ingredients combined and give you one smooth pasta dough! You can use a food processor if you’ve got one, just put everything in and mix until combined.
  5. Once you’ve made the pasta dough, you need to knead it to work the gluten in the flour to make your pasta springy and not flabby! Knead it until it feels smooth, then wrap it in cling film and rest it for 30 minutes in the fridge.

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To Roll the Pasta:

  1. If you’re using a machine make sure it is attached securely on the work surface (you’ll need the longest work surface you have)
  2. Dust the bench with “00” flour and set the machine to the widest setting.
  3. Take a piece of dough and flatten it slightly with a rolling pin, then feed it through the machine, if it sticks a little slightly dust the pasta with flour. Change the machine down a setting and roll the pasta through again.
  4. Fold the pasta in half, change the machine back to the widest setting and roll the pasta through again. Repeat this process until the dough become really smooth(3-4 times).
  5. Then roll the pasta through all the settings, down to the thickness of a playing card for pasta like tagliatelle or lasagna, a little thinner if you are making stuffed pasta (to the point where you can to see your hand through the pasta)
  6. Once you’ve made the pasta you need to cut it or shape straight away because fresh pasta dries quicker than you might think, so don’t leave it on the bench for too long or you can cover it with a damp cloth which will prevent it from drying!

Watch the how to video below or visit my YouTube channel  here for more.

Coq au Vin

 

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Coq au Vin is considered one of the all-time classic French recipes. Presumably, the original recipe called for Rooster, as the translation of the dish’s name is “Rooster in wine” but today it’s very much considered a chicken dish. This one-pot wonder is a delightful concoction of browned chicken, red wine sauce with salty pork lardons and mushrooms.

The best thing about this dish is that it tastes even better the day after you’ve cooked it because all the ingredients steep together overnight, making it a perfect dish to prepare in advance for guests or a busy week ahead.

More traditional recipes call for Burgundy wine, but I chose to make this recipe with Shiraz as I feel it gives the sauce more depth of flavour. There are some regions in France that use white wine for Coq au Vin, so really, you can feel free to experiment with your favourite grape variety.

Ingredients:

  • 1 free range chicken, around 2 kg and cut into 12 pieces
  • 2 litre red wine (I used shiraz but burgundy or Bordeaux are also popular choices)
  • 1 Bouquet garni (Make a fresh one from thyme, parsley and bay leaves – no pre-made teabags!)
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stick, cleaned and chopped
  • 1 brown onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cloves
  • Peppercorns
  • 1 small glass cognac or brandy

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Method:

  1. Put the chicken pieces into a deep cooking pot. I like to use my Le Creuset Round French Oven for slow cooking.
  2. Add the celery, bouquet garni, brown onion, carrots, garlic, cloves, peppercorns, cognac and red wine. Leave to marinate for 5-6 hours or overnight in a cool spot in the kitchen.

For the Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 25g unsalted butter or duck fat
  • 40g plain flour
  • 4 slice pork belly rashers, diced or cut into Lardons
  • 350g button mushroom, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 brown onion, diced

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Method:

  1. Take the chicken out of the marinade, discard the vegetables and pour the remaining wine into a jug.
  2. Place the cooking pot on high heat and add the olive oil and butter (or duck fat). Place the chicken into the pot and seal on all side until golden brown. Remove from the pot and keep aside.
  3. Add the onion and lardons to the pot and cook until slightly brown.
  4. Sprinkle the flour over the top of the onion and lardons and slowly add the wine while whisking. Whisk well to make sure everything is mixed through.
  5. Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook for 1 ½ -2 hours on a low heat with the lid on but slightly open to let the steam out.
  6. Heat up a non-stick frying pan without anything in it. Add the mushroom and cook until they stop releasing water. Add them the pot ½ hour before the end of cooking.

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Side:

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch purple Baby Dutch carrots, peeled
  • 1 bunch Baby Dutch carrots, peeled
  • 1 bunch white Baby Dutch carrots, peeled
  • 12 Kipflers potatoes, cleaned, peeled and cut in half

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Method:

  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Place the vegetables on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with Herb de Provence and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook for 45 minutes or until tender.

I suggest you serve the coq au Vin with a fresh crusty baguette and a glass of EVOI Cabernet Sauvignon available from Airoldi Fine Wines.

Watch the how to video below or visit my Youtube channel  here for more.

 

Haricot Couennes

Haricot Couennes

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On my recent trip to France I had the pleasure of joining my Mum in her kitchen to prepare a family feast. For the main course we made Confit de Canard (Confit Duck Legs) and on the side, a dish I had completely forgotten about these past few years, but was overjoyed to be reacquainted with. Haricot Couennes is a slow cooked lingot bean dish (the same beans as used for a Cassoulet) with roughly chopped chunks of pork rind (known as Couennes), onion and herbs. The fatty pork rind injects oodles of flavour and the stewing process creates a rich sauce, just begging to be mopped up with crusty rustic bread. A traditional dish of the Dordogne region, it was the perfect garnish for our duck, but it would work equally well with a good steak, chicken breast or pork fillet.

Serve with a good red wine such as Hermitage or a Cote Rotie. Available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au (côte rôtie only).

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Ingredients:

  • 1 brown onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 bunch thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 10cl white wine
  • 250g lard (pork rind)
  • 1kg haricot beans (unless you can find lingot beans)

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Method:

  1. Soak the beans in cold water the night before.
  2. Cook the haricot beans in salted water for about 1hour. You still want the beans to be a little firm. Once cooked, drain half the cooking liquid and keep the other half in the pot with the beans.
  3. At the same time, but in a separate pot, cook the lard in salted water but for ¾ of an hour, as this will soften the lard. Drain all the liquid and place the lard to the side.
  4. Heat up a large casserole pot (a Le Creuset or similar is ideal, if you have one) on medium heat with some olive oil. Add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook for a few minutes. Then add the tomato paste and cook a few more minutes, to get rid of the bitterness of the paste.
  5. Dice the cooked lard and add it to the casserole, give everything a good stir and deglaze with the wine.
  6. Add the beans and the cooking liquid. Cook for about 15 minutes, season with salt and pepper.

 

 

 

Pot-au-Feu Traditionnel

Pot-au-Feu Traditionnel:

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Pot-au-Feu is a prime example that the most basic ingredients, cooked simply but to perfection, can make for the most hearty and satisfying meals. The unromantic could describe it as boiled meats and veg in broth, but the French have had a long affair with the Pot-au-Feu and you’d be hard pressed to find a family table, rich or poor, in France which it hadn’t graced at some point.

It’s one of those nostalgic meals that take me back to my childhood, and in this way, Pot-au-Feu seems like comfort food for the body and for the soul.

Ingredients:

  • 350g beef cheeks
  • 300g beef chucks (neck)
  • 300g ox tail
  • 1 brown onion (halved and chargrilled)
  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 leek
  • 2 turnips
  • 4 Dutch cream potatoes
  • 4 cloves
  • 10 peppercorn
  • 20g rock salt
  • 2 Bouquet Garnis (thyme, bayleaves, parsley)

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Method:

  1. Put the meats in a large cooking pot and cover with water. Place the pot on the stove and bring it to the boil. Once it starts boiling, gently scoop out the foam on the top of the liquid and keep doing so for about five minutes.
  2. Add the Bouquets Garnis, garlic, onions, peppercorn, cloves and rock salt. Cover with a lid and simmer for about 1½ hours on low heat.
  3. Meanwhile start prepping the rest of your vegetables. Peel the carrots, turnips and potatoes and cut into big chunks (keep the potatoes in water so they don’t oxidize). Chop off the green part of the leek and cut the white part in half.
  4. Then add the vegetables to the pot (except the potatoes) and cook for 1 more hour. Add the potatoes and finish off the cooking for 30 minutes.

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Serving suggestion: Place the meat in the center of a large serving tray and arrange the vegetables around it and serve with a side of Dijon mustard, Cornichons, Fleur de Sel (sea salt flakes) and chargrilled bread!

 

In true peasant food style, waste not, want not! Don’t throw out the beautiful broth that’s left in the pot. Once you’ve removed your veggies and meat from the pot, add some vermicelli egg noodles (or any other soup pasta that you fancy) to the liquid and cook until al dente. Serve this is broth as an entrée before the main event.

To watch the how to video on YouTube click here