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Frisée Aux Lardons with Devilled Eggs instead of Poached Eggs

I had this gathering at home last Saturday and my friends would love to have French food. I’ve already made up my mind for the main course, I am going to cook Coq Au Vin which I did the other time and was really good. For the appetizer, I really want to do the devilled eggs, and will be great to have a salad as well. So, I was thinking…… Instead of  serving two separated dishes, maybe it’s good to combine the two. Looking into traditional French salad, frisée aux lardons is one of the common one and they used to serve this with poached eggs. I’m thinking maybe I can replace the poached eggs with devilled eggs. Why not?

To get the devilled eggs ready, first of all, you have to cook 6 hard boiled eggs. To make sure everything turns out fine, it will be better to have some buffer. So we cooked 8 eggs with 2 eggs buffer, in case something goes wrong, we still have enough eggs to serve all guests. When all eggs are ready, quickly put eggs into cold water with ice cubes, this procedure helps to separate the egg from the shell. You will have a nicely peeled egg later on by doing so. Let the eggs sit there for few minutes, then remove the egg shell with running water, you will have a perfectly peeled hard boil egg. When all the eggs are done, cut them in half and remove the egg yolk. Place all egg yolks in a large bowl, smashed them with a fork, then mixed them with mayonnaise, mustard, and season them with salt and pepper, mix until it turned into a smooth paste. Put the paste into a pastry bag and fill them back into each egg nicely. Garnish them with ground paprika and some chopped chives.

For the Frisée Aux Lardons, it’s basically a warm salad. Heat up the pan with some olive oil and a bit of butter, fry the lardons under they turn brown. Then add some finely chopped shallots, and some red wine vinegar in the pan and bring it to boil. Let it simmer until the vinegar reduce one third, taste the sauce and season with a touch of salt and vinegar. Switch off the heat and mix in the frisée salad and some chives, serve the salad with the devilled eggs. They totally go well together, and I think it’s a nice option instead of serving with poached eggs.

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It’s French tonight – Coq Au Vin

I am thinking to cook something French tonight, it’s because I am going to have this dinner party / house warming for our new home soon. These friends would like to have something Western, French or Italian. As I haven’t done many dishes that are really French, let’s search and give it a try. Talking about French cuisine, of course everyone would think of Julia Child, the American woman living in France. I found this dish Coq Au Vin, and there are lots of recipes inspired by Julia Child that you can find food blogger  and home cooks have been trying to make this dish and learned from Julia. It sounds delicious to me, why not give a try.

Coq Au Vin is about cooking chicken in red wine, I was a bit skeptical in the beginning. Really? Chicken with red wine? not white? Red wine for me is more for red meat, like beef. After cooking, the chicken will turned into dark colour, to me is not looking that good, but I guess as long as it tastes good should be fine. According to the recipe, Julia Child also cooked the pearl onion and mushroom as side dishes, and people said the pearl onions are really really good, so I am going to follow the side dishes, plus making some potatoes on top as well.

The key is the chicken, so you can use the whole chicken and chop it into pieces, or you can buy chicken pieces so you don’t need to worry on the chopping part and you can choose the part of chicken you like. I bought a whole chicken and chopped into 6 pieces, 2 chicken breast, 2 chicken thighs, and 2 chicken wings. I decided to get rid of the chicken skin, so the dish is less fat. First of all, cut the bacon into pieces and boil them into hot water to wash down the taste a bit. Or, you can just skip this step and jump right into the next step. Use a Dutch oven or skillet, and heat it up with some butter and olive oil. Place the bacon in and let them fry until they started to turn brown, remove them and let them set aside. Now, use the same oil to fry the chicken, season them with salt and black pepper, brown every single piece and make sure they are brown on both side. Then, add back the bacon, and cover it with lid and cook them for 10 minutes under low heat, turn the chicken once in-between. After 10 minutes, add a bit of cognac and light the dish with fire, let the flavour cook. Then, put the red wine and chicken broth in, make sure it covers the chicken. Now, you can add some minced garlic, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaves. Bring it to boil, then cover the lid and let it simmer for around 30 minutes under low heat. Or, you can put it in the oven under low heat for the same time.

When the chicken is cooking, you can prepare the potatoes, onion and the mushroom.

For the potatoes, I cut them in big pieces. Heat up the pan with butter and a bit of olive oil, then add in the potatoes, season them with salt, pepper, thyme and oregano when they started to turn soft. Pour in some chicken stock and let it simmer with the lid on, they should be done after 20 minutes until all the chicken stock dry out. You can cook this even in advance and re-heat it when you serve it.

For the onion, it said the best is to get the pearl onions. I could only managed to find the small ones, but not exactly the pearl onions, it’s still fine. Heat up the pan with butter and a touch of olive oil, add the onions, and fry them around 10 minutes. Remember to roll them around, so you would not burn them. Lower the heat, then add red wine and some chicken stock, as well as some herbs, thyme, bay leaves and parsley. Cover the lid and let them simmer under low heat for 30 minutes, season them with salt and pepper to taste.

For the mushroom, you can cut into half or serve them in a whole. Heat up the pan with butter and a touch of olive oil, add the minced shallots and then brown the mushroom and let them cook for around 5 minutes or until they are done. Season them with salt and pepper to taste.

Now we can go back to the chicken, remove all chicken from the Dutch oven, raise the heat and then let the liquid boil until it goes down to around half of the original, should be around 2 cups. Now you can taste it and make some adjustment of the taste. Remove the liquid to another bowl, then heat up the Dutch oven again with some butter and some white plain flour, blend them and whip them with the wire whip, then add back the liquid in but use the sift to get the smooth liquid out of it. Let it cook and keep stirring until the sauce is thicken.

Serve the chicken with potatoes, mushroom and onions with sauce on top, garnish it with some chopped parsley. The onions taste really good, and the chicken of course so yummy~~~