One of the joys of living in a small town like Saint-Germain-en-Laye is that the local shop and stall keepers know your reputation for being a cook and being interested in seasonal and good products. I discuss soups with the wife of the butcher or recipes for stuffed chicken breast with the cheese shop owner.
So when I went to the open air town market the other day, the poultry man interrupted serving a client and told me “I have a good offer on pigeons”. The woman he was serving believed he talked to her and uttered some words of incomprehension, but he did get me on the hook as I waited to see what the offer was – two pigeons for 15 euro instead of 19. Well, why not. I had been roasting pigeons and made the classical “pigeon with peas” several times but it is not yet the season for fresh peas. I wanted to use my electric grill and decided to make what is called pigeon à la crapaudine “pigeon as a toad”. – spatchcocked pigeon.
Continue reading ‘Pigeon as a toad’ – spatchcocked pigeon from the grill
This is another version of quail grilled on the barbecue.
Here I removed the breast bone and flattened the bird and then wrapped strips of bacon around it.
I grilled it for 15 minutes and then put it in the oven at 180 °C for another 20 minutes.
We went to the Lalbenque truffle market near Cahors in the southwest of France and I had bought a small 22 grammes black truffle.
Truffle has a very delicate taste and you have to be careful not to overpower it with pronounced tastes or smells of other ingredients.
Continue reading Black-and-white chicken breast
This is one of those French classical recipes that have many variations and of which the roots are not clear. Chef René Lasserre made it famous in his Paris restaurant in 1945, but the dish can have been brought to France by the cooks of Catherine de Medicis , who brought several refinements to the French court of Henry II, not least the usage of forks.
The sweet and sour taste combination, still used in Chinese cooking, was popular in the late Middle Ages as several recipe collection books can attest.
There are apparently also traces of the recipe in Seville, where bitter oranges grew after Arabs took them to there from east Asia.
The French current version uses sweet oranges and sugar as well as vinegar. Continue reading Canard à l’Orange (Duck with oranges)
In France, the traditional Christmas roast is a big bird like a turkey, goose or capon. In the days before the festivities the shops are loaded with dozens of varieties with differences in weight and quality. Usually, the birds are stuffed with chestnuts, meat and mushrooms.
After Christmas, some of the birds are left over and that is how I bought a 2.5 kilo capon for 15 euro.
A capon is a castrated cock that has lived for at least 150 days (or eight months for a Bresse capon) and in the final days has been kept in the dark in a small cage. For three-quarters it has been fed with grains and for the rest with milk products. This gives a fatty and tender structure to the meat.
As with all birds, especially of a bigger size, the legs cook quicker than the breast and regular basting is required.
Unless you put it in a bag. There are special plastic bags for roasting.
- One capon
- Lemon juice
- Soy sauce
- Japanese pepper
- Clean the bird and pat it dry with paper towels.
- Preheat the oven to 220 °C and put the cleaned bird in the bag.
- I added some Japanese peppers, soy sauce and some lemon juice and tied the bag tightly closed so that the vapours cannot escape and the bird does not dry out.
- Put it in the oven at 170 degrees and cook for 15 minutes for every 250 grammes of the bird.