Staying at Home with Tony Goodman
A good and well read friend sent me an article which described precisely why we return to well thumbed novels when the world descends into insanity. The stories and the authors are more than just words, they are friends we turn to when we need a few minutes of reassurance.
On the terrace
A thick tome is always welcome when time weighs heavy and the sun is warming the terrace. I’m just settling into the first few chapters of Turn of the Century by Kurt Andersen, getting a handle on the terminology and characters and I like what I’ve found.
North of Toulouse is a tiny ancient red wine region with stunning wines. Clustered around the town of Fronton, using the local Negrette grape blended with varieties such as Cabernet Franc and Syrah the region produces some spectacular red wines.
Look for Côtes du Frontonnais on the wine card next time you’re in Castelnaudary tucking into a cassoulet.
Veal, mushroom and cream pie
Fresh home made stock is the key ingredient so you will need to light the oven early.
Look for a good sized piece of veal on the bone or ask the butcher for a few veal bones and pieces of gristle.
Remove most of the meat from the bones and wash them well to remove any bone chips. Put the bones on a large baking tray or a heavy fry pan and cook them until the bones acquire a tan.
Place the bones in a large saucepan with plenty of water and add a roughly chopped carrot, a leafy celery stick or two, a good shake of Provencal herbs. Add a chicken stock cube if the quantity demands. Don’t season.
Allow to simmer not boil for at least an hour, two is better. Top up as required then cool and strain with fine sieve.
Cut the veal into big chunks, lightly flour and fry until the meats acquires good colour. Take your time, don’t crowd the pan and make sure there is plenty of heat as you want to seal the meat not boil it. Don’t discard the pan juices once the meat is sealed.
Put the veal into a deep casserole and almost cover with the stock, add a finely diced carrot and celery. Cover with baking paper and put in a low oven at least three hours before you intend to dine.
Check the veal from time to time, add more stock as required.
An hour before the dinner gong, fry a few unsmoked lardons for a few minutes in the same fry pan used for the veal then add a good quantity of chestnut mushrooms. Don’t try to hard fry the mushrooms, you really only want them to absorb the veal and lardons juices. Once done add them to the veal.
30 mins before serving, add a good amount of cream, perhaps a teaspoon of corn flour to thicken the mix however the stock should have reduced and thickened naturally.
If you have a TV remote control or drive an automatic car just use shop bought pastry. Otherwise use Delia’s easy and simple pie pastry. Pierce the pasty of few times, brush with milk and bake until its golden brown.
Serve with buttery mash, green beans. Accompany with a lighter red or why not try a a cream friendly Alsatian Gewurztraminer or perhaps a lightly oaked Chardonnay.