Tag Archives: Aquitaine

My chili con carne

“If It’s Chili, It’s Personal” runs the title of a recent article by The New York Times. And this is exactly what I was thinking last Thursday when I was home alone, preparing Chili con carne at 10 pm. Make it personal, use your imagination.

My chili con carne:

1. Saute two large sliced onions until they get nice brown color. Add garlic, cumin-coriander powder, Indian chili powder, lots of dried marjoram, paprika powder and Jamaica pepper (also called “allspice”). Add minced beef meat (about 600g). Keep stirring.

2. Add slices of raw carrot (I used two medium-size carrots).

3. Add slices of celery (I used an entire celery stalk, about 20cm, not forgetting the leaves).

4. Add 2dl of tomato purée.

5. Add about 2dl of Slow-roasted cherry tomatoes.

6. Add two large cans of red beans and one can of white beans. chili con carne7. If you are in a hurry, the meal is ready. If you can wait, let it simmer for 30 more minutes. Add salt to your taste, if necessary.

8. I added one glass of Cahors red wine in the end.

Lastly, serve hot with crème fraîche.

And as a meal like this would not be complete without a glass of wine, I had some very lovely red Bordeaux 2006 from Château Thieuley. Recommended in the 10€+ category!Chateau Thieuley

The NY Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/dining/if-its-chili-its-personal.html?_r=0

The wine: http://www.thieuley.com

What to drink with foie gras?

To pair food and wine is not always straightforward. Even if my principle is “pair it as you like, what you personally prefer”, there are some foods that are trickier than others and deserve more thinking. Foie gras is one of them.

We served foie gras yesterday with toasted pain d’épices (sweet, spicy bread) and coarse salt (sea salt). I had prepared a tomato-onion salad to go with.foie gras and wine

We enjoyed the foie gras with Loupiac (AOC), Château Martillac 2012, and considered it was a successful match (7.80€ the bottle).Loupiac 2012

However, one does have many choices apart from Loupiac, and below you have a list of my favorite foie gras & wine pairing options. I have tried to mention wines that are fairly easily available, too.

1. Champagne: the emperor of the drinks, goes with everything, anytime! If you don’t like sweet wines (the rest are sweet and white), then opt for champagne.

2. Sweet Jurançon: Located in the southwestern part of France, near the Pyrenees, this AOC is probably my favorite among sweet wines. In addition, it has an interesting history: “Jurançon wine occupies an auspicious place in French history. As the story goes, when the future King Henry IV was christened in 1553, his infant lips were touched with a drop of Jurançon wine, which was said to give him lifelong vigor. This practice is repeated to this day at many local christenings.” (http://www.winesofsouthwestfrance.com)

3. Sweet Côtes de Gascogne (IGP): Located in the same region as Jurançon, but a little bit more north, this is another excellent, slightly less-known wine-producing zone.

4. Sweet Monbazillac (AOC): 100 km east from Bordeaux, this is another excellent sweet wine.

5. Sweet Sauternes (AOC): very near Bordeaux, this is probably the most common sweet wine to go with foie gras.

The list is obviously not exhaustive and of course there are many other great wines like for example Le Rêve de Pennautier, “Vendanges d’Après” Vin de France by Maison Lorgeril from Languedoc-Roussillon that I enjoyed over Christmas. This said, what you serve with your foie gras?

PS A tip for the non-French: if you want sweet wine, look for the word vin moelleux in the bottle.

Where to eat duck in Paris?

We are going to have almost one full month to enjoy Asian food, so it sounded like a logical idea to do a typical French meal before departing France. What we particularly fancied was duck: either magret de canard or confit.

In the summertime, and when we are particularly hungry, we visit Chez Papa in front of the Montparnasse Cemetery. I now hear you thinking “aren’t there so many more sophisticated restaurants to eat duck in Paris”, and I agree with you, but I have my reasoning. Chez Papa is a franchise so the quality is not exactly the same in each restaurant, but we like this particular Chez Papa because it is very reasonably priced, the portions are huge, terrace is nice and the manager pleasant. Additionally, knowing you are so close to Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir adds something to your dining experience…menu chez gladinesHowever, this time we wanted to find something within walking distance from our home and headed toward Boulevard Saint-Germain. We had a vague memory of walking by a rather large terrace of a Sud-Ouest (southwest of France) restaurant in the 5th arrondissement last summer, and soon enough we arrived at Chez Gladines.

As we entered, we were greeted by a genuinely friendly young man who said we would have a table in few minutes –just enough time to have un apéritif it meant! Before we noticed, we got our table.

The menu had plenty of variety: plates of different cold meats, potato dishes, three types of snails (parsley, blue cheese and Basque style), entrecôte, different types of duck as we had wanted, etc. There was also a large offer of Basque specialties and even andouillette, the famous (very smelly!) sausage made of intestines and pork…snails chez gladinesWe shared parsley snails for a starter. The snails were good-sized, but maybe lacked some garlic and more parsley to be perfect. For his main course my husband chose magret de canard (served with sautéed potatoes and salad) and he said it was high-quality duck. I took piments piquillos à la morue because while in the Basque country last September, I chose this dish whenever it was on the menu and I like the combination of ingredients. Basically you are eating cod-stuffed piquillo peppers that come from Northern Spain (and are very rich in vitamine C). I love fish, I could eat a dozen of these piquillos. At Chez Gladines they were served in a creamy sauce that softened the fish taste.main courses chez gladinesTo show our respect to the lovely Basque country, we ordered a bottle of Irouléguy (red wine) and finished our dinner with local cheese served with cherry confiture.

The clientele was quite student-like, but we will definitely return to Chez Gladines, at the latest during the summer to eat at the terrace. Moreover, the restaurant is very down to earth and the service friendly. Yet a bit noisy, I would imagine this restaurant being a nice place for a family to taste typical Sud-Ouest and Basque dishes. Worth mentioning are prices: wine bottles start at an unbeatable 12.50€, snails cost 8.90€ and main courses are around 13€ (mine was 10.90€ and my husband’s 12.90€). What else –go and enjoy as we did.

Chez Gladines: http://gladines-restaurant-paris.fr

Chez Papa: http://www.chez-papa.com