Raclette

raclette1_lefermier_140116“Raclette” is a type of cheese, it is a semi soft cow milk cheese shaped in a 6kg wheel. Raclette cheese originated in the French speaking part of the Alpine area in the Valais Canton. If you believe the legend, it was discovered by local farmers who had set camp in the valley for the night and left some of the cheeses on stones near the fire. The cheese of course melted and some farmer scraped it of the rock to not waste any and he thought it was delicious. It quickly became a tradition amongst farmers in the region and the cheese became known for its melting abilities. It is a simple concept and the heartiness of the melted cheese on the potatoes makes it the ideal comfort.

raclette2_lefermier_140116It is loved by many in France, Switzerland and Germany. Traditionally it is a dish that includes melted cheese, boiled potatoes, cornichons, mustards, pickles and a plater of charcuterie such as prosciutto, ham of the bone and salami. If you want to find the perfect wine to match  your raclette i suggest you visit  www.airoldifinewines.com.au   .

raclette3_lefermier_140116For my Raclette i use a “Tefal” raclette grill that you can find on amazon, or you can also melt the cheese over the potatoes in a hot oven. To give you an idea of how much you need to prepare, for 6 people i cooked 12 medium size potatoes and bought 3 slices of each meat ( hot salami, mild salami, ham of the bone and Australian prosciutto). I also put together a platter with Dijon mustard, Grain mustard and Cornichons and served a green salad from my garden!raclette4_lefermier_140116

 

Advertisements

Poule au Pot

PouleauPot1_lefermier_300715

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.

PouleauPot5_lefermier_300715

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

PouleauPot6_lefermier_300715

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.

PouleauPot4_lefermier_300715

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.

PouleauPot3_lefermier_300715

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.

Haricot Couennes

Haricot Couennes

haricotcouenne3_lefermier_250615

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).

Haricotcouenne1_lefermier_250615

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)

haricotcouenne2_lefermier_250615

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.

 

 

 

Tourin Blanchit a l’Ail: Traditional French Garlic Soup

Tourin Blanchit a l’Ail: Traditional French Garlic Soup

Garlicsoup2_lefermier_240615

There is an old French tradition whereby garlic soup is given to newlyweds in the wee hours after their wedding night, possibly because it’s thought to be an aphrodisiac, but more likely to aid digestion after a night of feasting and merriment!

I don’t know if this is still observed today but I love the idea of a food being a remedy for too much other food, and garlic does feel as if it has a restorative quality to it. In fact, a Frenchwoman who immigrated to Australia in the early 1960’s told me the only place she could find garlic here back then was in the pharmacy! Times may have changed, but the French still love their garlic soup.

Serve as a starter for any meal or freeze and save a serve for when you’re feeling under the weather to pep you up.

Ingredients:

  • 300g Peeled Garlic
  • 100g Unsalted Butter
  • 60g Plain Flour
  • 350ml Thickened Cream
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • Salt and Pepper

Garlicsoup1_lefermier_240615

Method:

  1. Blitz the garlic in the food processor until it forms a paste or chop it as finely as possible with a knife if you don’t have a food processor.
  2. Heat up a medium size cooking pot on medium heat with the butter. Add the garlic and cook it for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the base of the pot.
  3. Sprinkle the flour on the garlic, just enough so that it forms a loose paste. You may not need all the flour. The more you add, the thicker the soup will be.
  4. Fill up the pot to ¾ with water and bring the soup to the boil while whisking. Turn the heat down to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the cream, salt and pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  6. Add the egg white while whisking as this way you’ll have little bits of egg through your garlic soup and it also helps to blend everything together.
  7. Serve hot with some thin slices of toasted baguette.

 

Pot-au-Feu Traditionnel

Pot-au-Feu Traditionnel:

pot-au-feu2_lefermier_120615

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)

pot-au-feu3_lefermier_120615

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.

pot-au-feu1_lefermier_120615

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