It’s been a minute since we posted in our French Cooking series and we hope you missed it because we sure did. There has been plenty of kitchen work lately getting meals created and desserts perfected. While it would be delightful to say that it’s been a breeze, there have been a handful of incidents. Some have caused laughter, others frustration. Regardless, this has become one of my favorite series to date and it’s a little bittersweet that this will be our last leg of posts for it. Fear not though, we have several weeks ahead of French meals...so many that it will actually take us into March! If you’re catching up, read about our venture into A Kitchen in France by Mimi Thorisson and scroll through past posts HERE. Bon appetit!
STARTER: Pumpkin Soup
Confession, I have two individual containers of this left in the freezer. This soup is so delicious that it’s worth all the hassle to create. What hassle, you ask? This soup requires you to peel and dice a pumpkin. Sure, it sounds simple enough. 45-minutes later you’re just about ready to throw the knife across the room and give up on the pumpkin. Who knew a small pumpkin could yield so much work. A few more ingredients, a little milk and an immersion blender’s magic later, you have a masterpiece. Creamy, sweet and savory soup perfect for winter with a taste of fall.
MAIN COURSE: Quail Grilled Over Grapevines
This dish consists of two things that are impossible to find where I live: quail and grapevines. While I may never be able to taste the flavor Mimi raves about in her book and on her blog that only comes from grilling with grapevines, a girl can dream. Quail, on the other hand, might be more accessible but still not particularly easy to find. This is one of those times when I really want to try a recipe but I need to use a ton of improvisation. So here is how I turned a very French fall meal into a simple dish that you can make regardless of your location.
Original main ingredients: 4 quail, 4 thin slices of pork belly, pancetta or bacon, 4 teaspoons of butter, 4 garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. My ingredients; 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 4 slices of prosciutto, 4 teaspoons of butter, 4 garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs. Rather than placing the rosemary, butter and garlic inside of the quail, I sliced each chicken breast lengthwise but not all the way through to butterfly it. Inside of the fold, I place the butter and rosemary then wrapped a slice of prosciutto around the chicken to seal the deal. Finally, I halved the garlic cloves and scattered them around the chicken before placing it in the oven to bake. I’m sure this is a completely different experience from the grilled quail but as baked chicken, this recipe was pretty fantastic.
SIDE DISH: Potatoes a la Lyonnaise
This is officially my favorite potato recipe on the planet. It’s a simple dish but out of this world. Potatoes, onions, parsley and a ton of butter come together for the most satisfying potato side you will ever have the pleasure to eat. It takes a minute to prepare but so worth it. The potatoes are first boiled to soften slightly. Next they are sauteed with salt, pepper and a ton of butter for a nice, fried flavor and texture. Onions are sauteed separately, again in butter, and then mixed together with the potatoes. Finally, the mixture is baked so the tops get a nice little crunch. It’s spectacular. If it weren’t all carbs, I’d eat it as a main course!
DESSERT: Galette Perougienne
A specialty from the small town of Perouges, near Lyon, this bite of heaven is a light, lemony cake. The dough is topped with sugar and butter before baking for a delicious, caramelized crust. It’s less like cake in texture and consistency and more like bread, which I actually believe it is, but the sugar and lemon give it a sweet flavor making it more of a dessert. This is no doubt my favorite dessert so far in A Kitchen In France. I think I ate half all on my own and it’s so simple to make that there’s no reason not to try it. Please, if you’re cooking through this cookbook, do not skip this treat.
Next week, we continue with a very hearty dish that stands strong on its own as well as two desserts perfect for the cold of winter. What have you been eating lately?