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DUCK WITH FIVE CITRUSES

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Canard farci aux agrumes - Citrus-stuffed duck A revisit of duck à l'orange where a whole duck was deboned, stuffed with a 5-citrus filling, rolled and sewn on its full length, before being pan-seared on each side and oven-roasted for 30 minutes at 400F. The filling included orange, grapefruit and lime rinds, whole kumquats and Buddha's hand segments, as well as honeynut dices, all candied in Cointreau and orange juice, then mixed with  pain d'épices  (a type of French gingerbread) macerated in Cointreau, and seasoned with Timut pepper and piment d'Espelette. The stuffed duck slices were sided with honeynut purée, green cabbage and green onions braised in duck, and served with a gastrique sauce reduction (honey, orange and grapefruit juice, duck broth, butter).
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Pot-au-feu in three acts Act I – Dispose a piece of the three different meats, previously poached for long hours in a tasty broth, in the center of a bowl plate, with the steamed vegetables   around, as a crown; Act II – Previously, you would hade made a jelly disc, of about the diameter of the bowl, with a sufficient quantity of clarified broth, and place this veil on top of the meat and vegetables; Act III – Bring the plate at the table with a little pot of hot broth, and pour slowly the broth onthe jelly veil and watch the broth jelly dissolving and mixing with the hot broth. Dig into it! Three acts … and a long preamble The preamble, like for all pot-au-feu, consists in poaching and simmering the meat, ideally three different cuts combining fatty, gelatinous and meaty textures (here short ribs, oxtail, beef shoulder plate butt) plus a couple of marrow bones, for long hours in water flavored with bones, aromatizing vegetables, herbs, spices, and of course the meat itself… Since pot-

ROYAL RABBIT?

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  My try (rehearsal?) of the mythical royal hare, or lièvre à la royale   Probably the most iconic and mythical dishes of the French cuisine, much more luxurious than bœuf bourguignon, much fancier than coq au vin, quite more sophisticated than pressed duck, the one dish that would probably get the  majority of votes as the most dreamed of one  in a French foodies’ survey, is the royal hare, aka lièvre à la royale… This is also a very old recipe, or I should rather say recipes, as there are two versions and hundreds of variations, which involve the king of kings, the king of chefs and the king of foodies. The king of kings, this is Louis XIV, the Sun King who built Versailles and who was, like often at those times, addicted to hunting and eating game. The story has it that at the end of his life -for the record, and this is a record, he died in his 77th year after a 72-year long reign-, as the king had no more teeth, his chef invented the recipe of lièvre à la royale where the hare wa

FOIE GRAS PEBBLE STONES

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There is more than one pebble on the beach Pebble stones, sand, dead leaves... This is a recipe inspired by one of the best and innovative French chefs, Christian Le Squer, chef at the 3-star restaurant "le V" of the hotel George V in Paris, one of my canteens in a previous life... I discovered it 2 or 3 years ago in the French Top Chef program. Since then, I have been willing to replicate it but, despite that, unlike in the US version, chefs and candidates use to explain with a sufficient level of details their recipe, I thought this was too complex for me. Christian Le Squer's name should spell "Le Scare" in this case! But I was bold enough to make an attempt for this year's Thanksgiving meal. Before detailing the recipe and, also, my personal twists to it, I would like to convey two messages: I consider myself like a decent home cook and surely not a chef, not mentioning a starred chef... This should not prevent us, home cooks, from trying new things that

RED MULLET, WHERE SCARE IS A METHOD OF COOKING

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  Rouget de roche, cuit de peur Rouget, aka red mullet in English (but mine were sold as  rougets  by the NY fishmonger who shipped them to me), is this small fish, looking a bit like a gold fish, but I presume (I never ate gold fish) much, much better than gold fish. In fact, this is a fish which, by its specific taste, its delicateness if not fragility, its particular ways of cooking, is unique, and this makes it an iconic dish of French cuisine (at least). In fact, there are two fishes named  rouget  in French, this one, the red mullet, called  rouget-barbet  or  rouget de roche  (because it lives on rocky bottoms), and the gunnard or  rouget-grondin  (because it growls - gronder  in French- when under stress!). They should not be confused. If the gunnard is an excellent fish, one of the varied fishes composing a real bouillabaisse for instance, it cannot be compared to the r ouget-barbet  which is an exceptional fish, found on the greatest Michelin starred restaurant tables in Fran

DUCK WITH TURNIPS, A FRENCH CUISINE AND LITERATURE STAPLE

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  Duck with turnips Canard braisé aux navets , or braised duck with turnip is a stapple of the French  bourgeoise  cuisine, rejuvenated and popularized by the immense Paul Bocuse … well, virtually popularized for most of us when it is about probably one of the most elitist restaurants ever! But the  canard aux navets ’ pedigree also involves some other icons in their field, outside the smoky cooking universe, since two of the greatest and the most productive French novelists mentioned the dish, Victor Hugo himself (Les Misérables, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame…), in his non-completed Travel diary to the Pyrenees ( Journal de voyage aux Pyrénées ) and Alexandre Dumas  père  (you know, The Three Mousketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, Twenty years after…), who even gave us the recipe. “Cook the ducks in this sauce; at mid-cooking, add the turnips and let simmer, regularly flipping the ducks over without crushing the turnips; at the end, skim the fat out of the stew and serve,” he wrote in

WALLEYE TOURNEDOS, BLACKCURRANT LIQUOR SAUCE

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Lake Erie Walleye tournedos, kohlrabi, green onion, kale leaf chips, with a "cardinal" sauce For a change, let's start by the sauce, all the more so as it was a blast, and beyond the sauce, by some Burgundy aperitive definitions... You will understand. Everyone in the US now knows the Kir, this aperitive mixing white wine and  crème de cassis  (blackcurrant cream... which, despite its name, contains 17% of alcohol, like Port). Although the legend says that it was invented in the 50's by  chanoine  (i.e. a priest) Félix Kir, subsidiarily the mayor of the Burgundy capital, Dijon, this is not exactly true. The Kir under the name *blanc cassis *(meaning white wine with blackcurrant) is older, probably invented in the late 19th century after Lejay Lagoutte invented the  crème de cassis  around 1850. Chanoine Kir just codified it, with its composition calling for the second, rarer and cheaper Burgundy white wine, Bourgogne Aligoté. So, now Kir is known as this refreshing  a