Toulouse Sausage

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One of the joint culinary loves of Australians and Frenchmen alike is that of the sausage. The humble sausage is deeply entrenched in the food culture of each nation, whether is be as the quintessential BBQ food Down Under or as the staple at every French country table. But while snags are often relegated to summer dinners and hardware store parking lots here, the French relationship with the sausage is closer to one of hero worship. That’s not to say you can’t find excellent, quality sausages in Aussie butchers, but back in France there’s just so much history and variety in grind of meat, herbs, and sizes.

Most regions have their own specialty, like so many foods in France, and today I’m showing you a personal favourite. It’s the Toulouse sausage (named after the town). It’s a pork sausage characterized by a courser grind, usually prepared in a long string and presented as a coil. They are also the sausage that is used to make the perfect Cassoulet.

Toulouse Sausage:

Ingredients:

  • 600g pork shoulder
  • 200g pork belly
  • 200g pork neck
  • 16g salt
  • 5g ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon 4 spice
  • 1 small glass white wine, about 80ml
  • sausage casings
  • 30 ml cognac
  • 6 garlic cloves, grated
  • pinch of Herb de Provençe

Method:

  1. Soak the casings in warm water for ½ hour before using.
  2. Put the meat through a the meat mincer equipped with the coarse grid.
  3. Then add the white wine, cognac, salt, pepper and the spices. Mix well, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for a couple of hours to marinate the mince.
  4. Once rested, mix well and put the meat in the sausage skin using the sausage attachment on your mincer. Don’t go too fast as you need to make sure the meat is compressed enough in the skin, so there is no air pocket and also that they are the right size.
  5. Hang the sausage in a cool dry place and they are ready to use the next day or alternatively you can also freeze them!

Tips: You can make individual sausages by pinching and twisting the sausage, the size is up to you. Personally I prefer to cook whole so it stays juicier and it’s also better for sharing.

Serving suggestion: I served my Toulouse sausage with a Rocket, Packam pear, Roquefort and walnut salad dressed with a raspberry vinegar dressing.

Matching wine: Chateau Viranel “Arome Sauvage” from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au

 

 

Pork fillet fricassé in a Chablis sauce

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Growing up with parents who were both passionate about food, it’s no wonder that my brother’s and I are involved in the hospitality industry in some way. My eldest brother studied viticulture, I have been a chef for over 15 years and my older brother is the proud founder of Airoldi Fine Wines, through which he imports some the finest specialty and premium French wines into Australia.

As part of his ongoing passion to educate Australian wine lovers about some of the best wines our motherland has to offer, he regularly holds intimate dinners, often hosted by the winemakers themselves. This month I was lucky enough to attend one such dinner, hosted by Benjamin Laroche of La Manufacture Wines, Chablis, France.

The Chablis region, located within Burgundy is classed as an appellation, meaning that only wines from that geographic area may be called Chablis. The prominent wine variety is a chardonnay, which makes it perfect for pairing with leaner meat like pork.

Inspired by La Manufacture’s exquisite Chablis wines, I’ve created this pork dish which heroes the fruity and crisp flavours that they are known for.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pork fillet, about 500g and diced
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 2 brown onions, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ bunch parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoon crème fraîche
  • 400ml beef stock
  • 250ml Chablis wine
  • 10 button mushroom, quartered and sautéed
  • 100g smoked bacon, diced

 

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Method:

  1. Heat up a casserole pan with some olive oil and a nob of butter.
  2. Seal the pork on all sides until it start to carmelised. You may need to do it in 2-3 batches to avoid boiling the meat, then keep aside.
  3. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat then add the thyme. Now you can add the bacon to the mix.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the wine, making sure to scrap the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to unstick all the delicious bits. Then add the mushroom.
  5. Put the pork and juices back in the pan and pour in the stock. Bring the sauce to the boil and then add the mustard. Cook on medium heat for 25-30 minutes.
  6. Add the crème fraîche and simmer for a further 15 minutes.
  7. Adjust the seasoning if necessary and finish the sauce with some chopped parsley.

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A delicious side of glazed baby Dutch carrot slowly cooked in butter and sautéed Tuscan Kale with a touch of garlic is, I think the perfect match!

As a matching wine I suggest “La Manufacture” Chablis from Benjamin Laroche available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

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

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.

Bastille Day Main Course: Veal Paupiettes with a Cèpe sauce and Pilaf Rice

 

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Happy Bastille Day! This year for France’s national holiday I decided to mix cliché cuisine with lesser known French fare, and paupiette is one such dish. In a nutshell, Paupiette is meat beaten thin which is then wrapped around a stuffing which could include vegetables, fruit or sweetmeats. For today’s dish I used veal scaloppini and for the stuffing, a delicious pork mince flavoured with fresh herbs.

You’ll find paupiette all over France but most likely in northern regions like Normandy.

A favourite ingredient of mine is the cèpe mushroom and I relish any opportunity to include it in a dish, which I’ve managed in this recipe by including it as the sauce for the paupiettes.

Enjoy the main course and stay tuned for dessert!

Serve 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 thin veal escalopes, about 150g each
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

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For the stuffing:

Ingredients:

  • 2 thick slices of crustless sourdough, about 50g and torn
  • 125 ml milk
  • 500g pork mince
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 100 g button mushroom, trimmed and finely chopped
  • ½ cup flat parsley, cleaned and finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

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Method:

  1. Place the bread into a small bowl, cover with milk and leave for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile place the pork mince, garlic mushroom and parsley in a medium size bowl and season with salt and pepper, mix well until combine.
  3. Squeeze the excess milk out of the bread and add it to the mix, mix well until combine and set aside.
  4. Lay the escalopes on a chopping board, divide the stuffing into 4 equal portion and place it in the centre of each escalopes, make to leave about 2cm on the sides.
  5. Roll each escalopes to enclose the stuffing and form a log shape.
  6. Tie the paupiettes with cooking string to secure the stuffing and place in the fridge for one hour.

Cèpe Sauce:

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Ingredients:

  • 150 Cèpe mushroom
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carotts, brunoise ( finely chopped)
  • 2 tablespoon port
  • 1 tablespoon plain flour
  • 250 ml dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 500 ml chicken stock
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Soak the mushroom in warm water to rehydrate them.
  2. Heat up a large casserole, I normally use a le Creuset, with some olive oil. Add the veal paupiettes and sear on all sides until golden brown, remove them from the casserole then set aside.
  3. For the sauce, reduce the heat to medium, then add a little bit of olive oil to the pan.
  4. Add the onion and carrot and stir well, scraping the bottom of the casserole. Add the mushroom and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the port, remove the casserole from the heat and carefully, using a long match or lighter light the port to burn off the alcohol ( this process is called Flambée).
  5. Return the casserole to the heat, sprinkle the flour, mix well and pour in the wine. Add the thyme, bay leaf and paupiettes and stir. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer.
  6. Cover with the lid and cook for 30 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. Remove the string from the paupiettes and season to taste.

Pilaf Rice:

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups jasmine rice
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • ½ bunch thyme, chopped
  • 1 brown onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrots, diced

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Heat up a deep baking tray with some olive oil. Add the chopped onion, carrot and cook for 2 minutes then add the thyme.
  3. Add the rice, mix well and cook for 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Pour in the wine, cook for a 1 minutes then add the stock. Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and then cover with a sheet of baking paper.
  5. Cook in the hot oven for ten minutes.

I suggest you serve the Veal Paupiettes with a side of Potato Purée, some fresh baguette and a glass of  Chateau Penin available from www.airoldifinewines.com.au

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

 

Bastille Day Entrée : Snails in garlic butter

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As famous as the French are for crisp croissants and delectable desserts, they are equally infamous for less conventional dishes like frog’s legs and snails. Being someone who is deeply passionate about food and flavour, I believe you can’t knock something until you’ve tried it, so if you’ve never been game to try “escargot” before, this is your moment to bite the bullet!

If you need more convincing, then how about the fact that snails are high in protein and, on their own, quite low in fat. However, today’s recipe is not one for the health nuts because the key accompaniment is butter, butter and more butter. The up side is that if you were worried about your snails tasting too “snaily”, then never fear, as long as you love butter, garlic and parsley!

Serve your snails as an entrée on a bed of rock salt (to prevent the shells from tipping over and letting that delicious butter sauce escaping) with crusty baguette so that you can mop up the butter afterwards.

Snails in garlic butter:

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tin of snails
  • 1 container empty snail shell
  • 300g butter, soft
  • ½ bunch parsley, washed and finely chopped
  • 80g garlic, peeled and grated
  • 10 ml Ricard or Pernod
  • 300 g rock salt

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Method:

  1. Mix the soft butter, garlic, parsley and Ricard together well and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Drain the snail and give them a quick rinse. Put one snail per shell and spoon the garlic butter on each shell.
  3. Place the rock salt on a flat baking tray, or you can use foil like i did, place the snails on top of it, the salt will help the snail stay upright so the butter doesn’t run away!
  4. Cook in the oven for 10 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

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Serve hot with some Baguette on the side and a glass of Chateau Ollieux Romanis “Corbière Blanc available from http://www.airoldifinewines.com.au 

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.