Friday, September 20, 2013

Agneau Roti Provençal, or Roast Lamb Provençal

This is another one of Boulestin's recipes. The lamb is roasted with a clove of garlic inserted near the bone and the flesh larded with a dozen or so anchovies. (If you don't have a larding needle, stab the lamb with a small narrow knife and push the anchovy pieces in.) The quantity of sauce is not huge, but it is very piquant. The lamb should be rare, and rested for 20 minutes. At this stage the pan juices can be poured into a glass and placed in the freezer for a few minutes so the fat can be easily removed. Any juices that run out while resting or carving the lamb can be added to the sauce at the end.

Roast Lamb Provençal

1 leg of lamb
1 clove garlic 
30-40g butter
1 small onion, finely chopped 
2 shallots, finely chopped
plain flour
2-3 gherkins, chopped 
1 dessertspoon tomato puree 
1 cup water, stock or white wine
salt, pepper 

Take a leg of lamb. Insert a small clove of garlic near the bone, and lard with small pieces of anchovy about 3cm long, about a dozen in all. Roast in the ordinary way, basting often. When cooked, remove it, keep it hot and skim the fat from the pan juices.

For the sauce, saute the onion and shallots in butter until they are more melted than fried. Sprinkle with a little flour, cook for one minute more; then add two anchovy fillets, the gherkins, tomato puree, the pan juices and a little water or stock. Cook for two minutes more. The sauce should be highly seasoned and can be strained before serving (though Boulestin doesn't).

Monday, September 9, 2013

Celeriac and Oyster Soup

This is my own recipe. I've made it with homemade fish stock and with vegetable stock but not with just plain water. The homemade fish stock worked best. This makes a thick soup that serves 2-3. For more, just use a larger celeriac (mine was organic and therefore small) and more liquid.

St John Restaurant in Smithfield serves a similar soup garnished with snails.

Celeriac and Oyster Soup

1 small bulb celeriac, peeled and thinly sliced
1 medium potato, peeled and sliced
1 small onion, peeled and finely sliced 
50g butter
3 cups fish or vegetable stock or water
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs parsley
100ml cream or to taste
salt and pepper
6 oysters

On a low heat, saute the onion in butter until soft. Stir in the sliced celeriac and potato; add the fresh herbs; toss until coated; pour in the stock. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the celeriac and potato are soft - about 10 or 15 minutes. Remove the herbs and blend until smooth.

Re-heat the soup, stir in cream, season with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls, top each bowl with 2-3 oysters (squeezing a bit of lemon over the oysters first, if desired). Some finely chopped dill would have added to the visual appeal.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Boeuf Provençal

This is Boulestin's recipe for Braised Beef with White Wine and Olives from around 1910, so it's a fair bet that up-market gentlemen's clubs would have had something like it on the menu. I'm using King Island Beef from Coles which is allegedly pasture-grazed and hormone-free but not, it seems, from King Island. Kangaroo steak would possibly be better, and cheaper. I used French picholine olives which are easier to stone than green Sicilian olives. 

Boulestin does not give precise quantities, so these are my own.

Boeuf Provençal

750g beef, cut into medium-size squares
2 rashers bacon
2 onions, peeled and finely diced
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons plain flour
bouquet (a few thyme springs, parsley, a few bay leaves)
salt and pepper
1 cup white wine
2-3 ripe tomatoes
12 green olives

In a large saucepan, heat the oil until fairly hot; add the beef; stirring all the while, season with salt and freshly ground pepper, add the onions, sprinkle with flour. After a few minutes put in the bouquet and a cup of white wine and a cup of water. Bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook on a low heat for an hour or two until almost tender.

Meanwhile, peel and quarter the tomatoes; cut the bacon into small pieces and boil for a few minutes; stone the olives. 

When the beef is almost tender, remove the pieces and place them in another saucepan with the tomatoes, bacon and olives. Pass the liquid in which the beef has cooked through a fine strainer (removing the thyme, parsley and bay leaves), pour this over the beef and simmer for a further 30 minutes on a low heat, shaking the pan occasionally. 

Serve with steamed potatoes and a green vegetable.