Winter menu one

Winter menu one

Early winter

By
From
Annie's Farmhouse Kitchen
Serves
8
Photographer
Patricia Niven; Illustrations: Robin Cowcher

Gougeres

Goat’s cheese & walnut salad

Cassoulet

Chocolate marquise dacquoise sandwich

Gougeres

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
100g cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
good pinch salt flakes
140g plain flour
4 eggs
100g grated gruyere

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 210°C and line a large baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Combine the butter and salt with 250 ml of cold water in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the butter has melted. Bring to the boil, then add the flour and stir over a low heat until the pastry forms a ball and comes away from the side of the pan. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and allow to cool for a few minutes. Add the eggs one by one, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Add the cheese and mix through. (If you don’t have a stand mixer, just put the dough in a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs and cheese with a wooden spoon.)
  3. Spoon or pipe the pastry onto the prepared baking tray in balls about the size of walnuts, leaving enough room between each one to allow it to at least double in size. Place on the top shelf of the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 160°C and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove and cool slightly on a wire rack, then serve in a bowl to share. These are delicious warm or at room temperature. You can cook them ahead of time and reheat them if you wish.

Goats cheese & walnut salad

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
100g walnuts
salt flakes
freshly ground pepper
1 butter or bibib lettuce
1 small head radicchio
1 small oakleaf lettuce
1/2 Baguette
80ml olive oil
1 garlic clove, halved
200g sharp goats cheese
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Vinaigrette

Quantity Ingredient
50ml walnut oil
100ml extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon finely chopped french shallot
salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Place the walnuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with a pinch of salt flakes, then set aside to cool.
  2. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C.
  3. Tear the lettuces into bite-sized pieces and mix together in a medium bowl.
  4. To make the vinaigrette, whisk the oils into the vinegar, then add the shallot and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cut the baguette on the diagonal into 32 thin slices. Place on a large baking tray and crisp in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, then while still warm, brush both sides with olive oil and rub with the cut garlic clove.
  6. Cut the goat’s cheese into 32 slices, then cover each crouton with a slice of cheese, return to the baking tray and warm in the oven while you assemble the salad.
  7. Toss the lettuce with the walnuts and dressing, then arrange on a platter or individual plates. Dot the warmed croutons about and sprinkle with the chopped parsley.

Cassoulet

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient

Ventreche

Quantity Ingredient
500g piece of pork belly, skin on
30g salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper

Toulouse sausage

Quantity Ingredient
680g pork shoulder, finely chopped
220g hard back fat, finely chopped, (order from your butcher)
18g salt flakes
9g granulated sugar
5g freshly ground black pepper
2 metres sausage casings, available from your butcher

Confit duck

Quantity Ingredient
8 duck legs
3 tablespoons salt flakes
8 thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1kg rendered duck fat

Braised beans

Quantity Ingredient
1kg dried white beans, soaked overnight
1 onion, peeled
1 carrot, peeled
2 cloves
2 garlic cloves
500g ventreche
2 fresh pig trotters, order from your butcher
100g fresh pork rind, rolled and tied with a kitchen string
bouquet garni with bay leaves, thyme sprigs, lovage and flat-leaf parsey sprigs
6 black peppercorns

Method

  1. Five days before...
  2. To make the ventreche, rub the pork belly all over with the salt. Place in a glass, ceramic or plastic container, skin side down, and leave to cure in the refrigerator for 5 days. Rinse off the salt and pat dry, then press the meat side into a generous amount of pepper. The ventreche is best if it is left uncovered while it is curing to dry a little. Once it has cured and you have rinsed it and applied the pepper, the ventreche will keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. Again, it likes to be uncovered and aired – I hang it by a piece of kitchen string from one of the racks in the fridge.
  3. To make the Toulouse sausage, mix the pork and fat with the seasonings, then cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, mince the pork mixture and fill the sausage casings, then twist the casings to make sausages about 5 cm long. The sausages are best if they hang in the refrigerator for 1–2 days.
  4. To make the confit duck, lay the duck legs in a glass or ceramic baking dish, flesh side up, and sprinkle with the salt, thyme sprigs, bay leaves and garlic. Cover with plastic film and leave to marinate in the fridge overnight.
  5. The next day, preheat the oven to 140°C.
  6. Rinse the duck and pat dry with a cloth or paper towel. Return to the cleaned baking dish, skin side up. Melt the duck fat in a saucepan over a low heat, then pour over the duck legs. Place in the oven and cook for about 2 1⁄2 hours or until the duck legs are very tender. Remove from the oven and leave the legs to cool in their fat, then refrigerate.
  7. On the day...
  8. To make the braised beans, place all the ingredients in a large saucepan with 2 litres of water. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 1 hour, or until the beans are just barely tender. The beans are done when their skins become papery and begin to collapse, and the cooking liquid becomes milky.
  9. While the beans are cooking, start preparing the duck legs and sausages.
  10. Remove most of the softened congealed fat from the surface of the duck legs and trim off any excess skin, leaving just enough covering to protect the meat. Joint the thigh from the drumstick, giving two neat packages of confit meat per person.
  11. Heat a large frying pan over a medium–high heat and quickly brown the duck on both sides. Transfer to a plate, then brown the sausages. You want a nice hot pan to brown the skins, though you don’t want to cook them all the way through at this stage as they will continue to cook in the cassoulet.
  12. Preheat the oven to 240°C.
  13. Time to assemble the cassoulet. Traditionally they are cooked in a deep, slanted dish called a cassole, which has a base that is half of the diameter of the top, but you can use a good-sized casserole or deep ovenproof dish.
  14. Remove the bouquet garni, trotters, onion, carrot and pork rind from the beans. Chop the onion, carrot and rind into small beansized pieces and remove the tender meat from the trotters. Return to the beans and gently stir through. Using a slotted spoon, layer the cassole or dish with the beans, the confit and Toulouse sausage, then finish with a layer of beans. Adjust the seasoning of the bean broth – a little salt, perhaps some more black pepper. Now add this liquid to the dish until the beans are just covered. Save any remaining broth for basting if needed; otherwise, use it to make a bean soup later.
  15. Put the cassoulet in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 175°C and let the cassoulet bake slowly for 1 1⁄2–2 hours. A wonderful crust forms during cooking so there is no need for a sprinkle of breadcrumbs (called for in some recipes) as the beans and starchy sauce do this by themselves.
  16. Take your beautiful cassoulet to the table and set on a stout wooden board. Break the crust on top, ladle the steaming cassoulet into dishes and settle into an extraordinary experience.

Chocolate marquise dacquoise sandwich

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
pure icing sugar, for dusting
dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder, for dusting
whipped cream, to serve, optional

Chocolate dacquoise

Quantity Ingredient
80g skinned hazelnuts
65g pure icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
100g egg whites, (about 3)
25g caster sugar
25g dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder

Chocolate marquise

Quantity Ingredient
170g dark chocolate (55%)
120g unsalted butter
2 eggs, separated
2 egg yolks
110g pure icing sugar
3 tablespoons dutch (unsweetened) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon caster sugar
75ml pouring cream

Method

  1. To make the chocolate dacquoise, preheat the oven to 180°C and line a large baking tray with baking paper. Using the tin you are going to use as a guide, draw three outlines on the paper. Turn the paper upside down so the pencil is away from the food but still visible through the paper.
  2. Arrange the hazelnuts on another baking tray and toast for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
  3. Finely grind 70 g of the hazelnuts with the icing sugar. Roughly chop the remaining hazelnuts and set aside for later.
  4. Place the egg whites and a pinch of caster sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Gradually add the remaining sugar, one-third at a time, incorporating each batch before adding the next. Continue mixing on medium speed for a further 5 minutes for a stronger, more developed meringue. Remove the bowl from the mixer and gently fold in the cocoa powder and hazelnut and sugar mixture until just combined.
  5. Transfer the dacquoise mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 1 cm plain nozzle. Pipe the meringue around the outside of each outline on the prepared tray first, and then move inward to fill the disc. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and dust twice with extra icing sugar. This will create a better crust on the surface.
  6. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Your dacquoise must be crisp on the outside, and soft and moist on the inside. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely. When cool, gently remove the meringues from the baking paper.
  7. To make the chocolate marquise, melt the chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth and well combined. Lightly beat the four egg yolks, then stir into the chocolate mixture. Sift together the icing sugar and cocoa powder and stir into the mixture.
  8. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks, then add the caster sugar and gently fold into the chocolate mixture. Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the mixture.
  9. To assemble, line your chosen tin with foil and then plastic wrap, leaving some overhanging the edges to help lift it out later. Trim the meringue layers to fit.
  10. Place one meringue, face down, in the tin, then pour over half the marquise mixture. Add a second meringue, followed by the remaining marquise mixture. Top with the final meringue. Cover and chill overnight.
  11. When you’re ready to serve, invert the chocolate sandwich onto a serving platter and neaten the edges with a hot knife (heat the blade under hot water and wipe dry). Dust with icing sugar and then cocoa powder. You could also do a little decorative piping along the top with some whipped cream, if you like.
  12. Cut into thin slices and serve.

Timeline

  • The week before

    Pop into your butcher to buy your piece of pork belly and order your other meat needs to give them plenty of time. Salt the pork belly and refrigerate.

    2 days before

    Salt the duck legs and refrigerate. Make the sausages and refrigerate.

    The day before

    Make the dacquoise. Make the marquise. Assemble the dessert and refrigerate. Cook the confit and refrigerate. Soak the beans. the day of serving Cook the beans. Oven toast the breadstick for the croutes. Toast the walnuts. Cook the gougeres. Seal off the sausages and confit, assemble the cassoulet when the beans are cooked and place in the oven.

    1–2 hours before serving

    Prepare the salad greens, slice the cheese, top the croutes and have on a tray ready to go in the oven. Unmould the dessert and decorate with whipped cream if desired; refrigerate.

    To serve

    While your cassoulet is cooking you can do various things in the oven even if the temperatures are not exact. Warm the gougeres and serve. Warm the croutes and assemble the salad. Take the VERY SPLENDID cassoulet to the table. Slice the dessert at the table.
Tags:
French classics
Farmhouse
rustic
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