Monday, July 14, 2014

Bastille Day

La Fête Nationale, commonly known as Bastille Day in the US, commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789, the day when crowds stormed the Bastille, a fortress used as a prison in Paris.  Francophiles worldwide have taken up the observance of Bastille Day, celebrating with French cuisine, French music, parades, fireworks, and public revelry.

Our trip to celebrate friends 10th anniversary on 10-10-10, included plenty of opportunities for my husband to reminisce about the fine cuisine enjoyed during his junior year studying abroad in Tours with Stanford.  We enjoyed dining at cafes, bakeries, patisseries, creperies, and Moroccan restaurants.

Upon our return we were anxious to prepare some of the recipes shared by French families he visited many years ago.


7 T. butter (or less)
1 chicken, cut into pieces
3 bay leaves
1 onion, cut into slices
1  liter dry white wine
8  oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 1/2 c.    sour cream

Melt butter in a large skillet.  Cook chicken pieces in butter until light brown.   Add salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves, and onion slices.  Stir in 1-liter dry white wine.  Cover pan and cook slowly.  After 1 1/2 hours, add sliced mushrooms.  After 2 more hours, mix 1-1 1/2 c. sour cream into sauce.  Remove chicken pieces to a platter of rice and pour sauce over top. 


4 slices bacon, cut in 1/2" pieces
1 med.   onion, chopped
14.5 oz.   can sauerkraut, Bavarian style with caraway seeds preferred
6 small  new potatoes, unpeeled, cut in bite-sized pieces
2           tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
10   juniper berries 
6   whole peppercorns
2   whole cloves
1     sprig   parsley
1   bay leaf
4   smoked pork chops
4   pre-cooked bratwurst, Johnsonville from Wisconsin, preferred, of course
12 oz.   can beer
14.5 oz.   can chicken broth

Cook bacon in Dutch oven until crisp, drain and set aside.  
Fry onion in bacon grease until translucent.  Add bacon, sauerkraut, potatoes and onions to the pot.  Tie crushed juniper berries, peppercorns, cloves, parsley, and bay leaf in a cheesecloth bag or place in a tea ball and add to the pot.  Add pork chops and bratwurst.  Pour beer and chicken broth over the meat.  Heat to boiling.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer 30-60 minutes until potatoes are tender.  Remove spice bag.  Remove sauerkraut, potatoes, and apples to a large platter with a slotted spoon.  Arrange pork chops and bratwurst around the edges of the platter.

(a Morrocan dish served at many restaurants on the Left Bank in Paris)

1 lb.   cubed lamb AND/OR
1   chicken, cut into pieces
  olive oil
4   onions, chopped
2   carrots, diced
3   tomatoes, chopped (or 1 small can stewed tomatoes)
1           rutabaga (or several smaller turnips), peeled, quartered, cut into 1/2" slices
1/2 t.   ginger
1/4 t.   ground coriander
1/4 t.   turmeric
1 pinch saffron (opt.)
20    oz.   can chick peas (also known as garbanzo beans)
1 c.   raisins

In a large pot brown lamb cubes and chicken cubes with harissa in olive oil.  Add onion slices, carrots, tomatoes, rutabaga, and seasonings to pot.  Add enough water to cover.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 1- 1 1/2  hours.  Add chick peas and raisins and simmer another 1/2 hour.  Prepare couscous according to directions on the package.  Spoon prepared couscous onto a large serving platter.   Moisten with stew broth.  Place meats and vegetables on top of couscous.  Ladle off some of the stew broth and add harissa to taste to make a sauce to pass for those preferring a spicier dish.

8-10    dried hot red chilies, preferably guajillo
1 T.    olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 t.    ground coriander
1 t.    ground caraway
1/2 t.    salt
2 T.    water

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