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Fricandeau - really?

Fricandeau – really?

On occasion, we truly cook some odd things in Superior Cuisine; in this case the oddity was Fricandeau.  Essentially Fricandeau is little ground meat patties, which are fried and served alongside the main event.  In this lesson, we made these patties from the leg of a guinea fowl.

The breast of guinea fowl was roasted on the bone, which means we would portion the whole bird and debone the legs.   The breasts were trussed, seasoned and went into the oven on a bed of chicken wings, mirepoix, including of all ingredients lemongrass, and bones from the legs.  The leg meat was ground and combined with mascarpone cheese, basil and chorizo.  French cooking?  Must be Basque!

A further interesting garnish we cooked was a Green Tomato Royale.  Essentially this is a flan but a “royale” is defined, as have less eggs and cream.   Green tomatoes are fried, spinach is wilted and all is pureed with egg yolks and a little cream.  The green tomato and chlorophyll from spinach keep the vivid green color in tact.  A very distracting element on the plate as the color is a bit too vivid.

Gigi, (aka Cindy) my good friend from Canada, was able to witness the weirdness at the day’s demonstration and also the presentation of our final exam basket of ingredients.  She was glad she wasn’t fed frog’s legs and rabbit!  Mini burgers, if not truly French food, where just fine with her!

I would say most of us were particularly distracted at the beginning of the demonstration by the presentation of the ingredient list we would cook with for the final exam…venison, oysters and macaroni?   So, the strange mini burger was somewhat in the background. I suspect there are some challenging times ahead of me to determine how to make this work for a classic French jury tasting our final dishes!

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The principal of this dish is a savoy meat pie which reminds me of tourtiere which my mother makes at Christmas.  Tourtiere is a French Canadian pork based savoy meat pie that we have every year.  I knew I would not be able to enjoy this one as the crust was made from wheat flour; so I offered my pie to my landlord Anne, who lives across the street.  Thankfully she was more than happy to try my cooking!

The technical aspects of the recipe involve deboning a whole guinea fowl, the legs and thighs would be fully deboned and chopped up for mince while the breasts would be cooked whole and sliced.  Secondly we would make a short crust pasty – something I haven’t done since basic!

The short crust pastry is very simple:

  1. 350 g flour, 8 g salt and 150g butter combined until a sandy texture
  2. Whisk 2 eggs and water together, then form a well in the flour mixture and combine with your hands.
  3. Knead the dough until the right consistency
  4. Cut the dough in half; roll out on a floured surface until approx. ½ cm thick.
  5. Place one ½ in a buttered mold and lay the other half flat on a cookie sheet.
  6. Place both in the refrigerator until ready to use.

The deboning did not need to be perfect, as the leg and thigh meat would be minced along with pork and pork fat back, so I made quick work of it.  The mince itself has a few additions such as pan fried chicken livers, cognac, port and seasonings. (more…)

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Our culinary tour begins on the flowered coast, the region of Calvados. Situated in the north coast of France nearest the English Channel, Normandy is often remembered for the D Day landings of British, Canadian and American troops that stormed ashore to battle the Germans in WWII.  I’ve yet to visit this region, but after this lesson I suspect there is much to remember and discover.

Chef Tivet created 3 dishes in practical, all based on liquors from Normandy.  All of the dishes were based on the simple and honest apple.

Matelote Normande au Cidre Brut, Fish Stew with Dry Cider

Pintade Fermiere Poelee Vallee D’Auge, Pan Roasted Guinea Fowl with Calvados Sauce

Tarte Fine aux Pommes et Cremeux Caramel, Apple Tart with Creamy Caramel

Each dish features an alcohol based on apples, dry ciders or calvados, and cream.  From savory to sweet the flavors of the region are remarkable.  What was interesting is the menu did not compete against each other on the apple front, but rather took you on a journey from the salty fish stew onto the sexy Calvados cream fowl and finally to the apple forward dessert.

It struck me in the practical that French chefs are persistently cruel with their seafood.  In basic you witnessed I murdered crabs, and you will see me in a future lesson inflict the same treatment on a lobster.  In this demonstration the Chef removed the intestine from live crayfish before putting them to death in a pan of hot oil.  Mon Dieu!  Must we always be so barbaric?  Seems I forgot all about it when the fish stew was served though – perhaps I am now on their side?

For our practical we prepared the Pan Roasted Guinea Fowl with Calvados Sauce.  Guinea Fowl, originally a wild African bird, is farm raised and has both light and dark meat.  For this recipe, if you cannot find such a bird, substitute a pheasant or chicken.  The bird will be braised whole on a bed of aromatic vegetables for 40 to 50 min at 200 C.   An accompaniment of apples pan fried in butter is delicious alongside. Continue reading for instructions….

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