Monday, 12 August 2013

French Cooking with Jean-Pierre

I love doing cooking classes. Learning something new and spending an hour/afternoon/day surrounded by people that are also passionate about cooking is fantastic. So when I was in Bordeaux recently, it was the perfect excuse to do a half day class. I mean France, food, traditional French Chef names Jean-Pierre...what more could I want? Oh yes, that's right...I had my beautiful sister there next to me. Technically it was her birthday present, but I think she knew as well as I did that that was just an excuse to bring her along, but I don't think she minded.
Now, in typical French style there was no exact recipe that came with the class. I would usually find that really intimidating, but in this instance I found it quite liberating. Maybe a lesson in how I need to start trusting my instincts more when I cook? But here's a write up of one of the recipes we made, plus a few pics from the day.
One thing I have to say is that if you're ever in the Goujounac area in Bordeaux, look up this cooking school, L'Atelier de la Fontaine. The Chef and his wife are absolutely lovely and welcoming. They even invited us back for a coffee next time we're in the area. Their English is fantastic, so no need to worry about speaking French. It was such a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
Can't help myself...this is the Nuage (or Cloud in English), the Chef's very own Truffle Hunting Dog. I wonder if it's too late to train my dog to do this.
Just to show you how close we were to the vines. This was the view from the balcony where we were staying.

A word of warning, the pastry is a pretty tricky pastry to make, and to be honest, I'm not sure I'd be game to make it at home by myself. Its SIMILAR to a filo, but not quite the same, so you could substitute with filo if you're not up to making your own pastry. If you are making your own, remember it needs to sit overnight, so make sure you allow time to do this.

Croustade de Poulet Aux Cèpes (or Crisp Chicken Pie with Cèp Mushrooms)

Pastry Ingredients (enough for 2 pies)
1.2kg flour
3 eggs
2/3ish L milk

Slowly mix eggs and milk into flour and kneed it until soft. Add a bit more flour or milk as needed to ensure it's not too sticky. Put it on a plate, cover it and leave overnight in the fridge.
When you're ready to use it, cover a large surface like a table in a sheet or cloth and flour it. Put the mixture plate side down (ie, don’t flip it over) onto the table. Partially roll it out, then stretch it from underneath using your hands and fingers.
It should end up super thin and essentially covering the whole table. Leave it to dry out (about 30 – 45mins) and then it's ready to use.


Chicken Filling Ingredients
1 chicken, free range of course
Duck fat
Garlic
Cep mushrooms (if you can't find fresh, use normal mushrooms and add some dried cep for flavour)
Flour
Chicken stock
Cut up the chicken into pieces.
Put a good spoonful of duck fat into a pan, and add the chicken pieces, cooking them until they are browned. Add some garlic, and a big heap of cep mushrooms. Sprinkle on some flour and leave for a minute or so. Add chicken stock until the chicken is covered.
Once the liquid has thickened, take the chicken out, take it off the bone and shred it. Then take all the mushrooms out of the sauce, but keep the sauce. Mix the mushrooms and the chicken together.
Oil a heavy based baking pan. Cut 4 circles out of the pastry and put them into the pan. Add in the chicken mixture and spoon in a heap of the sauce. Cut 4 more circles of pastry, and put them on top of the chicken in the pan and then seal the edges. Put a bit more pastry on top for decorations. Cook it at 180 for about 30mins, or until the pastry is golden and crispy.






5 comments:

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