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What's Cooking?

Gorgeous, mid-week meal masterpiece

Published on August 24th 2011.


What's Cooking?

THIS is a great favourite at our bistro, Le Comptoir. It actually has nothing to do with traditional Gascony, although it uses very familiar Gascon ingredients (mushrooms and duck). We invented it some seven years ago, and is one of my favourite recipes in the book. The name suggests pastry, of course, but it is really a little baked pâté which looks, when turned out, as if encased in pastry. It’s easy to make, and delicious to eat.


Gascony Pie

Serves 4


2 large duck magrets (about 400g total weight) 

2 free-range egg whites

fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

300ml double cream, chilled

100g chanterelle or brown chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped 

20g butter, plus a little extra, melted

 

1. First, remove the skin from the magrets, then check for any sinews in the flesh and cut out. Then chop the flesh roughly and place in a food processor with the egg whites plus 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Whizz on full speed for about 3 minutes, stopping the machine twice and scraping down the sides. (In the restaurant, we would then rub this purée through a fine sieve for the ultimate smooth velvety texture.)

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. 

3. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and mix in 250ml of the double cream, using a whisk. Chill whilst you make the mushroom filling.

4. If using chanterelles, wash in tepid water then pat dry. Sauté in 20g of butter over a medium high heat until softened, about 3 minutes, then season lightly.

5. Drain the cooking juices off into a cup and tip the mushrooms on to a plate. Return the juices to the pan and add the remaining cream. Bring to the boil and cook for a minute or so until reduced by half, then return the mushrooms. Remove from the heat, tip out on to a plate and cool.

6. Brush the insides of six ramekins (medium 120ml size) with the melted butter.

7. Spoon about two-thirds of the creamy duck purée into the ramekins, making a well in the centre with the back of a teaspoon. Divide the mushrooms between them, then top with the remaining duck purée and smooth flat with the back of a teaspoon. 

8. Place the ramekins in a small roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan to come to within 1 cm of the top of the ramekins, then cover the whole pan with a sheet of foil. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 18–20 minutes until the tops of the ‘little pies’ are just firm when pressed. Remove from the oven and peel off the foil. 

9. Stand the ramekins for 5 minutes, then run a table knife around the sides and invert each ‘pie’ on to a serving plate. Serve garnished with a nice green salad with bacon lardons and hazelnuts.

 

 Recipe taken from Cuisinier Gascon: Meals From a Gascon Chef by Pascal Aussignac with photographs by Jean Cazals (Absolute Press, £25)

 

Cuisinier_Gascon


 

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