Yesterday, August 15th, the Assumption of Mary to Heaven, was a public holiday in France. I like it that they feel no constraints about recognizing their Christian heritage. Unlike us now a days in the U.S. who whisper the word “christianity” as if we were talking about “cancer”, lest we offend those of another faith and get blown to hell for our temerity. Jesus, Mary and Joseph! And all the saints :D
Present at our lunch were three Marys (Marie, Marie Christian and me, Rosemary), the two Serges, Willy, M. Parret and Maurice. Maurice, the maker of the best rabbit rillettes I’ve ever tasted, brought two spreads of roasted Baba Ganouj and olive tapanade. Truly a gifted cook!
The drawback of taking pictures at social gatherings is that the guests worry too much about the camera. I hate to make others uncomfortable, yet I want to share these good times on my blog.
In order to have everyone relax and go on with their conversations, I assured them that any unattractive photos would go straight to the trash bin. I think this helped a little, although someone did mentioned Japanese tourists :D
For the main course, I prepped and photographed honey mustard duck legs with shallots in my kitchen before joining the party at Parret’s.
Pears with lemon juice and thyme.
Romano beans with bacon and shallots.
We began the festivities with Maurice’s spreads and a little fois gras topped with a drop of artisanal honey.
Of course, Champagne.
Honey mustard duck legs, pears and onions. I believe we had a Chardonnay with this.
Salad and assorted cheeses with a magnum of Burgundy.
M. Parret’s desserts, beginning with a fantastic apple tart.
Followed by a fresh plum tart with vanilla flan. Decadent!
Coffee with the choice of a potent eau de vie as digestif or more Champagne :)
Honey Mustard Duck Legs with Pears and Onions
3 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup artisanal honey (if bought at grocery store, check label for high fructose corn syrup)
8 duck legs
5-6 pears, cut into wedges
Juice of 1/2 lemon
3 small onions, quartered
2 tbsp melted butter
8 duck legs
Mix the shallots, 1/2 cup melted butter and mustard together. Loosen the skin over the drumstick portion of the legs and insert a little of the mustard mixture between the skin and meat, then spread more of the mixture over the entire leg, reserving some for basting.
Preheat the oven to 375 F and put the duck inside for 1 1/2 hours, basting every 30 minutes with the reserved mustard mixture.
In the meantime, stir the lemon juice into the pear wedges and set aside. Stir the melted butter into the onion quarters, adding them to the oven after the duck has cooked for 45 minutes. Cook the onion in the oven for 30 minutes, then add the pears and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
Romano Beans with Lardons
1/2 cup lardons
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1lb romano beans, sliced into thirds
1/2 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Fry the lardons in a skillet until brown, then add the shallots and continue to cook until the shallots are soft. Stir in the beans and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the broth, salt and pepper, then simmer for 10-15 minutes.