Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Local Delicacies

The French are very proud of their culinary heritage and want to share it with the world. Each area has its specialities and this area is no different. Everyone is very proud of what they make and they want to show off what makes their area different from any other. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we have set up a stall outside the “Office de Tourisme” in St Gengoux le National every Sunday morning in July and August to do just that.

We have goats’ cheese from La Truffiere in Lys (just down the road), we have jambon parsillée from the butcher in St Gengoux, Gougères from one baker and delicious ham/cheese/olive bread from the other baker in St Gengoux, Scottish salmon smoked in St Gengoux, spices and amazingly flavoured jams from Joncy, wine from a number of producers here in the area and fruit juices from Parfum de Terroir in Taizé, a cooperative of fruit growers.

We have been blessed with good weather for all our Sundays so far and the last one will be this weekend, so fingers crossed. The initiative has been very popular with the tourists and volunteers alike and it has given us all the chance to taste some very good food. Whilst I will be sad to stop, it will be a relief not to have to get up so early to cut up the ham and cheese !

I have managed to find a recipe for jambon persillée which is well worth a try.


2 ham hocks roughly 1 kg each
1 large onion, stuck with 3-4 cloves
3 cloves of garlic
fresh tarragon
fresh thyme
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
1.5 litres dry white wine
large bunch fresh parsley, chopped very finely
1 packet gelatine
50ml white wine vinegar

Soak the ham in cold water over night.

The next day, change the water, then bring to the boil and simmer for an hour. Discard the cooking water.

Run the ham under cold water, then put it back in the pan and add the onion, garlic, a few sprigs of tarragon & thyme, peppercorns and wine. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 2½ hours covered.

Take the ham out of the pan, but keep the cooking liquid. Remove the skin and excess fat from the ham, then using two forks, break the meat away from the bones. Gently crush the meat with the forks.

Cover the sides and bottom of a loaf tin with cling film, then pack a third of the meat in quite tightly. Use half the parsley to make a generous layer on the meat. Pack in another third of the meat and then the rest of the parsley. Finally pack in the last layer of meat.

Strain the cooking liquid through cheese cloth or an old tea towel at least twice, but in any case until the liquid is clear, as this will be used to make jelly. Reheat the liquid if it has gone cold.

Soak the gelatine in a little white wine, according to the instructions on the packet. Whisk the softened gelatine into the clarified cooking liquid, while it is still hot. Add the wine vinegar. Pour this liquid over the ham.

Chill in the fridge until set, then turn out on to a plate and serve in slices.

A meal fit for a Burgundian duke or duchess.

La Tuilerie Website

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