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Warming Winter Food

Three dishes that show off the less well-known side of the Gers kitchen.

Passionate about cooking since she started baking with her grandmother aged five, Louisa Hallewell moved to Gers 12 years ago, setting up an organic farm raising Porc Noir pigs, chickens, ducks and geese, and running an enormous vegetable garden.  Inspired by her seasonal homegrown produce, and using a zero waste approach, Louisa offers catering and runs workshops for people interested in cooking and homesteading.  She brings us these three very different recipes.

Louisa Halliwell

warming winter food

Aïgo Boulido (Garlic Broth)

(Serves 4)

1L Vegetable stock

1 Head of garlic, cloves peeled &left whole (white, purple or a mix)

4 Sage leaves

A couple of sprigs of fresh thyme

1 Bay leaf

Pain de campagne

Method:

Pour the stock and garlic into a large pan, cover and bring to a gentle boil for 20 mins.  Take off the heat and remove the cloves with a slotted spoon, reserving them in a bowl.  Add the herbs to the pan, cover and stand over a gentle heat for another 20 mins to infuse.  Mash the cooked garlic cloves to a paste (add a small splash of olive oil if required).  Slice the bread and lightly toast.  Drizzle with olive oil and place a round in the bottom of a bowl.  Strain the broth and swirl the garlic paste in to it.  Season to taste.  Ladle the broth over the bread and serve.

warming winter food

A perfect amuse bouche or starter for warming winter food:

Boudin Noir & Poached Apple Jalouise

(Serves 10 as Amuse Bouche)

300g Frozen suet

450g Plain flour

250ml Cold water

Pinch of salt

1 Egg, lightly whisked

500g Organic Porc Noir boudin noir

200g Organic apples, poached until soft

Method

Make some quick flaky pastry by grating the frozen pork suet into salted plain flour.  Add approx 250ml water to bind it together.  Cover and refrigerate for an hour.  Preheat oven to 200°C.

Blend the poached apples to a purée.  Roll the pastry to approx 4mm thick then spread the purée lengthwise along the pastry, 3cm up from the bottom.   Cut the boudin to about 2.5cm in diameter and place along the strip of purée.  Roll the pastry up, covering the purée and boudin.  Using egg as your glue, brush a line along the pastry and stick the two edges together.  Remove any excess pastry with a sharp knife.

Heavily grease a roasting tray and gently place your boudin roll onto the tray.  “Score” the pastry to give it some texture.  Brush the top of the pastry with more egg, so it becomes golden when cooking.  Place in the middle of the oven and cook for approx 40 mins until the pastry has a crunchy bottom and golden glaze.

Serve as an apéro dînatoire, cut into small slices or as larger slices for starter.

warming winter food

Coq au Floc

(Serves 4 – 6)

2kg Coq

150g Dried raisins

1 Large onion, chopped

Duck fat

250 ml White Floc

1-2tsp Flour

Salt & pepper

Method

Quarter your cockerel.  Melt the duck fat in a large ,heavy oven-proof pan (cocotte or casserole dish), and bring to a medium/high heat. Add the quartered sections and sear until browned.  Remove the chicken pieces and reserve.  Reduce the heat, add the onion and cook in the fat and juices until golden.  Stir in the flour, add the raisins and then deglaze the pan with the Floc.  Return the chicken pieces to the pan, season with salt and pepper.

Place a lid on the casserole and cook slowly in the oven for 2-3 hours, basting it from time to time.   Add a little water if necessary.

Serve with sautéed potatoes and French beans tossed in garlic butter.

First published in the November/December 2019 issue of The Local Buzz

Images: Louisa Hallewell and Shutterstock