You have to say that M. Parret has come a long way since I met him more than a dozen years ago. He hasn’t changed really, but he will occasionally acknowledge that, perhaps, some Americans cook some things well. In any case, that suspicious, what-bizarre-American-thing-has-she-made-now look is no longer present when I put food on the table. Yes, yes, French is best, blah, blah, blah says Le Parret, but that doesn’t spoil his appetite :)
On the other hand, I, have always admired the simple, fresh, goodness of traditional French cuisine. It reminds me of the meals my grandmother and mother made; food that not only is filling but also appealing to eye and tongue.
One of Tonio’s hunting friends gave him a lovely little “gigot” of roe deer and he gave it to me, hoping for lunch in the near future. M. Parret does this too; “Here’s a little wild boar roast. Should I bring salad from the garden?” :-D I like this because it broadens my knowledge in the preparation of gibier or game animals. In the beginning, I was like oh-my-God, what am I going to do with this, how long to cook, what to cook it with? However, the miracle of game meat in France is that it’s like domestic meat with a different taste. Not what I would call “gamey”, just different, tender and delicious. It tastes like deer. I cooked the haunch as I would lamb and rubbed it with some Bavarian essence in a sort of French-German detente.
It’s melon season, so I cut one into 8ths and draped them with some of the Limousin ham I bought at the medieval fair to serve as entrees. Very nice :)
And of course we had cheese that M. Parret always insists on bringing and arranging himself. He complained about the oval platter out of habit but, as always, the cheese was exceptional. It most be difficult being really old. I try to understand :D
Gigot de Chevreuil a la Tajine
1 deer haunch from a small breed deer or at least a young regular one, poked all over with a knife
6 large potatoes, quartered
6 carrots, cut into large chunks
2 onions, quartered
4-6 cloves fresh garlic, thinly sliced
2 tbsp fresh herbs, chopped (I used oregano and rosemary because that’s what I had)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
Rub the poked deer with the essence and refrigerate overnight or at least for 2 hours. Mix the potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, herbs, salt, pepper and olive oil together and place on the bottom of a tajine. Top with the deer, cover and roast in a 375 F oven for 1-1 1/2 hours. Uncover and continue to roast for 30 minutes.