15 December 2009


Stéphane Reynard is one of my favorite chefs. He is French and he loves pork, like most Southerners he eats everything but the squeal. He has that rare combination of cooking food that is at the same time sophisticated and homey.

His latest book, Rôtis, is subtitled, roasts for every day of the week. It is a glorious roasted extravaganza, with beef, pork, rabbit, chicken with fish on Friday and casseroles of leftovers on Sunday. The dishes bear Reynard’s signature style of simplicity with just the right touch to elevate the meat to a classic meal.

At the end, he offers up a series of side dishes where vegetables get their just desserts. It is one of those rare cookbooks where I want to make EVERYTHING in the book. Seriously -- everything. Trust me, some of my favorite cookbooks have three or four recipes that I go back to time and time again, but rarely do I find a book that is so appealing.

I want to offer up a recipe, but every time I start to copy one, I think, “Wait, and there is that wonderful monkfish, or the pork in mustard sauce, of the roasted fruit and vegetables…”

I solved my dilemma with the luck of the draw. Here is the recipe I opened the book pages to:

Pintade Rôtis au Chou
Roast Guinea Fowl with Cabbage

1 guinea fowl
1 savoy cabbage
100 g (3 1/2 oz) butter
200g (7 oz) piece smoked streaky bacon, diced
3 Toulouse sausages, sliced
6 garlic cloves
4 onions, peeled
160 ml (5 1/4 fl oz) white wine

Preheat oven to 200 C (400 F/Gas 6).

Separate the cabbage leaves by removing the central rib. Cook the leaves in large saucepan boiling water.

Heat the butter in a flameproof casserole dish. Add the guinea fowl and brown on both sides over high heat, then roast uncovers for 30 minutes.

Transfer the dish onto the stovetop. Add the bacon, sausage, garlic and onions, and brown over low heat. Add the cabbage, then the white wine.

Reduce the oven temperature to 160 C (315 F/ Gas 2-3). Cover the casserole dish and return to the oven for 1 hour, checking regularly that the cabbage isn’t sticking. Season with salt and pepper before serving.

What a treat. If you don’t own a book of Stéphane Reynard’s, you owe it to yourself to pick one up.

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