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"An indispensable cookbook."
- Jeffrey Steingarten, Vogue
When Paula Wolfert's The Cooking of Southwest France was first published in 1983, it became an instant classic. This award-winning book was praised by critics, chefs, and home cooks alike as the ultimate source of recipes and information about a legendary style of cooking. Wolfert's recipes for cassoulet and confit literally changed the American culinary scene. Confit, now ubiquitous on ...
"An indispensable cookbook."
- Jeffrey Steingarten, Vogue
When Paula Wolfert's The Cooking of Southwest France was first published in 1983, it became an instant classic. This award-winning book was praised by critics, chefs, and home cooks alike as the ultimate source of recipes and information about a legendary style of cooking. Wolfert's recipes for cassoulet and confit literally changed the American culinary scene. Confit, now ubiquitous on restaurant menus, was rarely served in the United States before Wolfert presented it.
Now, twenty-plus years later, Wolfert has completely revised her groundbreaking book. In this new edition, you'll find sixty additional recipes - thirty totally new recipes, along with thirty updated recipes from Wolfert's other books. Recipes from the original edition have been revised to account for current tastes and newly available ingredients; some have been dropped.
You will find superb classic recipes for cassoulet, sauce perigueux, salmon rillettes, and beef daube; new and revised recipes for ragouts, soups, desserts, and more; and, of course, numerous recipes for the most exemplary of all southwest French ingredients - duck - including the traditional method for duck confit plus two new, easier variations.
Other recipes include such gems as Chestnut and Cepe Soup With Walnuts, magnificent lusty Oxtail Daube, mouthwatering Steamed Mussels With Ham, Shallots, and Garlic, as well as Poached Chicken Breast, Auvergne-Style, and the simple yet sublime Potatoes Baked in Sea Salt. You'll also find delicious desserts such as Batter Cake With Fresh Pears From the Correze, and Prune and Armagnac Ice Cream.
Each recipe incorporates what the French call a truc, a unique touch that makes the finished dish truly extraordinary. Evocative new food photographs, including sixteen pages in full color, now accompany the text.
Connecting the 200 great recipes is Wolfert's unique vision of Southwest France. In sharply etched scenes peopled by local characters ranging from canny peasant women to world-famous master chefs, she captures the region's living traditions and passion for good food.
Gascony, the Perigord, Bordeaux, and the Basque country all come alive in these pages. This revised edition of The Cooking of Southwest France is truly another Wolfert classic in its own right.
One of France's most extraordinary regions gathers over 150 recipes from home cooks as well as master chefs.
The original way to do this old Gascon dish is to rub a tasty barnyard hen with garlic and then stuff it with many garlic cloves. The hen is then cooked slowly so that the cloves become soft but do not lose their shape. Later the pan is deglazed with Sauternes (which has a high concentration of sugar), and the cloves are pulled out and left to caramelize in the pan juices. The following recipe is a sophisticated adaptation conceived by Alain Dutournier — more elegant, I think, than the original, and with a deep, rich flavor that is highly seductive. In the Dutournier adaptation, I believe this dish is truly great.
The sauce base and the garlic cloves are prepared ahead of time, and the chicken, quartered, is broiled just before serving, Thus one has an elegant dish with a minimum investment in last-minute work. The sauce is really the key: chopped vegetables and bones are cooked in an open pan; the Sauternes is added gradually and allowed to boil away and caramelize before more is added, so that the color deepens; the taste of the vegetables and bones mellows; and the bouquet of the wine becomes intoxicatingly intense. The garlic cloves, cooked separately, are added at the last minute. This sauce can be made up in quantity and frozen, for use whenever you wish.
A pleasant and unexpected beginning to dinner could be Old-Fashioned Rabbit Soup. Serve the chicken with buttered ribbon noodles. For dessert, I'd serve a crisp, warm Gascon Croustade — a flaky Pastry Cake Filled with Apples and Prunes inArmagnac.
Active Work: 30 minutes
Partilly Attended Cooking Time For Sauce: 2 1/2 hours
Partilly Attended Cooking Time For Garlic: 2 hours
Broiling Time: 20 to 25 minutes
1 chicken (3 pounds)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2/3 cup Crème Fraîche (do not substitute sour cream or yogurt)
2 1/2 tablespoons oil or rendered poultry fat
1 3/4 cups thinly sliced onions
1 2/3 cups thinly sliced carrots
1 leek, split, well washed, and thinly sliced
2 pounds meaty veal neck bones or riblets, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bottle (750 ml) Sauternes, sweet California Semillon Blanc, or other sweet white wine
1 1/2 cups unsalted Chicken Stock, degreased
Herb bouquet: 3 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 celery leaf, and 1 bay leaf, tied together
2 fresh heads garlic (preferably with large cloves, but not elephant garlic), cloves separated and unpeeled
1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 carrots, scraped
Salt and freshly ground pepper 1/3 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons (or more) strained fresh lemon juice (optional)
2-3 tablespoons unsalted butter (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
In the recipes for Chicken with Garlic Pearls and Sauternes Wine Sauce and Chicken Breasts with Mussels and Asparagus Flans, an innovative basting medium for broiling is used: Crème Fraîche. To simulate the crème fraîche so widely used in French cooking, see Appendix.
This is a variation of a marvelous creation by André Daguin. It is perhaps the most elegant ice cream I know. It should be made with prunes that have been soaked in Armagnac for at least 2 weeks. To give an illusion of extra richness but not too many extra calories, I add a little heavy cream when the ice cream has nearly solidified. This way the butterfat in the cream will "glide" into the chilled ice cream, endowing it with a satiny texture.
Makes 2 Quarts/ Serves 10 to 12
Prepare 1 day in advance
Active Work: 25 minutes
1 quart milk, heated
1 small piece vanilla bean, split down one side, or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
10 egg yolks
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
Pinch of salt
30 Prunes in Armagnac (see recipe), pitted, plus 1/4 cup of the syrup
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 plump Prune in Armagnac per serving for garnish (optional)
A Note on Attribution.
Introduction to the New and 1983 Editions.
Map of the Greater French Southwest.
The Tastes of the French Southwest.
Garbure, Pot-au-Feu, and Other Soups.
Appetizers and Small Plates.
Fish and Shellfish.
Duck, Goose, and Rabbit.
Foie Gras, Terrines, and Rillettes.
Beef, Veal, Pork, and Lamb.
Stocks and Sauce Bases.
Mail Order Sources.
Index to Recipes by Region and Course.
Notes on Equipment.
Acknowledgments for the New and 1983 Editions.