On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a fantastic French recipe!
Not only is it the season of warming winter meals accompanied by delicious winter wines, but also the time for festive dinner parties. If you’re throwing one and need an exciting menu to impress your guests, expertly paired with sumptuous wines, then look no further.
We have teamed up with French chef, Renaud Marin, of the esteemed Hoxton Pony restaurant, and Caves Saint-Pierre expert winemaker, Abry Christian, to devise a superb seasonal menu, complete with recipes and wine suggestions.
Born in 1978, Renaud Marin has studied a 99 Baccalaureat Professional in Institutional Management and BEP/CAP Degree in Hotel and Catering Management in France.
His experience is plentiful and varied, having worked with many restaurants in France and in London, most recently residing at The Hoxton Pony.
Abry Christian has been a winemaker with Caves Saint-Pierre for over 30 years at its century old estate in the heart of the ‘Chateauneuf-du-Pape’ region in the Rhône river valley. Here, the grapes are grown on terraced vineyards and harvested to produce round, powerful and elegant flavours and aromas.
“France is a country dedicated to food and wine” according to Renaud.
“French gastronomy reflects the variety and complexity of our geography, with influences taken from surrounding countries and seasonal produce.
“The country has inspired generation upon generation of chefs, influenced by little secrets passed down from Grandmother-to-Mother-to-child, making our gastronomy incredibly rich in heritage.
“We have a real tradition of sitting at the table with friends and family, similar to the English gathering around a pint at the pub. Hosting guests in ones home is ceremonial in France. We put passion and effort in to what we prepare, from laying the table to the wine selection, which is always in accordance with the menu. Staple dinner party must-haves are still and sparkling water, fresh bread and most importantly, ensuring our guests dietary requirements are catered for before we prepare the meal.
“When we host a dinner party the food is as important the guests. You have noticed in France the whole menu is served at the table in dishes, this is a good way for the guests to interact in engaging conversation, and it warms the atmosphere. Attention to detail is crucial, and little things that the guests notice to make the evening enjoyable and memorable are very important.”
Renaud has created a unique set of recipes for us, based on the best seasonal ingredients and using his knowledge of how to impress dinner party guests.
Patipan and ‘Moure’ salad and garlic crostini with anchovy, egg and caper dressing
('Patipan' is a type of courgette or pumpkin, it's an old vegetable and not often used these days. 'Moure' salad is a really strong salad, typical of 'Provence', and sometimes called ‘field’ salad.)
Recommended wine – Caves Saint-Pierre Cotes Du Rhône red. This is a fine dark red wine, with a pleasant mixture of fresh fruit aromas, toasty in the middle, with a caramel and mocha finish. (£5.99 at Tesco and Somerfield).
Wild boar leg ‘A la facon de Christiane’,ceps and chestnut casserole, confit new potatoes accompanied by savoury apple compote with mustard seeds.
Recommended wines – Caves Saint-Pierre Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This is an impressive deep purple wine with dark red glints. Its nose embodies aromas of prune, jam and spice, developing quince and cocoa notes. It is rounded and supple in the mouth. (£16.99 at Tesco).
Caves Saint-Pierre Gigondas. This is a jewel of a wine, purple in colour with hints of ripe pears and fresh pepper. There are mocha and caramel notes in the middle making for an intense flavour. (£12.99 at Tesco).
Recommended wines – Caves Saint-Pierre Saint Joseph. A very graceful wine with cherry colours. It gives off a fresh, minty perfume with notes of aniseed and tumeric. The finish has notes of liquorice and ripe fruit. (£12.99 at Asda)
Châteauneuf-Du-Pape, as mentioned above.
Serves 8 guests
Patipan and ‘Moure’ salad with garlic crostini
Anchovy, egg and caper dressing
1.5 kg Patipan medley (Choose them young and with different shapes and colours)
500gm ‘Moure’ salad or wild roquette (The salad needs to be strong in taste to bring all the flavours together)
4 Free-range eggs medium size
80gm Capers in brine
25gm Anchovies in oil
300ml Extra virgin olive oil
80ml Red wine vinegar aged in oak barrel
1/2 a bunch Flat leaf parsley
1/2 Baguette “from the day before” (The bread doesn’t need to be fresh as you will dry it out in the oven)
1 New season garlic clove peeled or ½ garlic clove peeled
Misc Salt, pepper, sea salt, rock salt, white wine vinegar
Preheat the oven at 180?c
Slice the baguette ‘en bisot’ and use 50ml of extra virgin olive oil to generously coat the slices. Place the bread on an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper and sprinkle lightly with some sea salt. Add another layer of paper and finally top with another oven tray to hold the slices in place during the cooking process. Cook the crostini in the preheated oven for approximately 10 to 15mins or until they turn a nice deep golden colour. Place the cooked crostini on a plate lined with kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil. Be cautious during this process, as the crostini will be very hot.
Ideally use a fish slice to lift the crostini from the oven tray.
Try to choose similar sizedvegetables to ensure they have roughly the same cooking time.
Prepare the patipan by washing them and removing the top and bottom of the vegetables.
Cook them in simmering salted water until they are tender.
When the vegetables are ready they will slip easily off a knife when pricked.
Strain your patipan and refresh them straight into iced water.
Strain your patipan out off the iced water as soon as they are cold as they will lose vitamins and flavours if left too long.
Cut into bite size wedges and place in the fridge in a sealed container.
Prepare the ‘Moure’ salad or the wild roquette by washing it in cold water.
Drain the water through a colander or ideally with a salad spinner.
Keep the nicest leaves for the décor.
Place in the fridge wrapped in a lightly damp cloth.
Start to cook the eggs in cold water with one spoon of white wine vinegar and hard-boil them for 8 minutes.
Refresh them into iced water for about 10mins, as you need to cool them right to the core.
Peel the eggs and place them in to the fridge in a sealed container.
Pick the flat leaf parsley and chop it finely with a sharp knife, be careful not to crush it. Place the chop parsley in the fridge covered with a lightly damp cloth.
Roughly chop the capers and half of the anchovies together and place them in a salad bowl in the fridge covered with cling film.
Put the rest of the anchovies in a mortar with half of the peeled garlic clove or ¼ garlic clove.
Keep the other half or ¼ in the fridge in a sealed container.
Using the pestle crush the garlic and the anchovies until paste consistency, then mix in the 250ml of olive oil using the pestle to do so.
Empty the mix in the salad bowl on the roughly chop capers and anchovies.
Take out the eggs and chop them very roughly. Using a wooden spoon gently mix together with the parsley and the rest of the dressing and allow to set in the fridge covered with cling film, for about two hours until the flavours develop.
Mix t80ml of red wine vinegar with 5gm of fine sea salt and 1gm of ground white pepper.
When the guests arrive add the red wine vinegar with the rest of the dressing and mix gently with a wooden spoon.
Leave at room temperature until you serve.
Lightly grate the other half of the garlic on to the crostini, only on one side of the crostini otherwise it will be overpowering.
½ an hour before service, gently mix together the patipan straight from the fridge with all the dressing.
Before service mix the salad and the dressed patipan in to the service bowl.
Display the crostini and the nicest leaves on the plates and bring to the table.
Wild boar leg ‘A la facon de Christiane’. Mushroom and chestnut casserole, confit new potatoes with savoury apple compote with mustard seeds.
1 Wild boar leg (about 3kg)
100gm Dijon mustard
250ml Dry white wine
250gm Crème fraiche
150gm Cooked chestnut (Ideally in vacuum pack bags)
1kg Ceps (mushrooms)
1 Large banana shallot
800gm New potato (Ideally hand selected to be all the same size, about 3cm length)
3 Brch Savory
6 Braeburn apples
25gm Mustard seeds
Misc Salt, pepper, sea salt, cracked black pepper corn, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, vegetable oil, extra virgin olive oil
Ceps and chestnut casserole
Be cautious when preparing ceps, as they are a fragile mushroom.
The best way is to use a soft nail brush to dust the dirt from the cep hat, then pass under running cold water to get rid of any left over dirt. Then using a small sharp knife, completely peel the foot of the ceps.
Do not use too much water as the cep will absorb the liquid and deteriorate when you sear them.
Cut the ceps into equal wedges.
Place into the fridge covered with a lightly damp cloth.
The best chesnuts are prepared, prepacked.
Open the bag of chestnuts and gently break them apart, trying to keep them whole.
Place into the fridge in a sealed container.
Peel the banana shallot, remove the top and bottom and cut it length ways, then slice finely width way.
Prepare one clove of garlic unpeeled and a branch of thyme.
Place altogether in the fridge in a sealed container.
Wild boar leg, confit new potatoes with savory and apple compote with mustard seeds
Each step of this part of the recipe needs to be followed exactly as the time frame is really precise.
One hour before you start the cooking process, ‘massage’ the leg with the following seasoning mix:
. 50gm sea salt
. 10grm cracked black pepper corn
. 4 cloves of garlic
. 2 sprigs of thyme
. 1 bay leaf
This process will allow the seasoning to penetrate the meat and bring out the flavours.
Place the leg into the fridge with the seasoning mix.
Preheat the oven at 160*c.
Prepare the new potatoes by washing them thoroughly in cold water.
Dry the potatoes and place them in the fridge.
Sear the leg in a roasting tray with 40ml of vegetable oil on a gas burner.
Make sure that all sides of your piece of meat are nicely caramelised and deglaze your roasting tray with the white wine.
Remove the roasting tray from the heat, remove the leg and allow to rest on a raise griddle with a collecting tray beneath to save the cooking liquor.
After 15 minutes of rest, brush the leg with all the Dijon mustard and put it back into the roasting tray in the oven with the aromatics left from the seasoning mix and the liquor from the leg.
The wild boar leg needs to cook for two hours. During this time the meat needs to be basted regularly with the cooking liquor, every ten minutes ideally.
This long process keeps the meat tender and maximises the flavours.
After one hour of cooking, preheat a sauté pan (ideally a copper sauté pan) with 25ml of vegetable oil and sear your potatoes, season with salt and pepper and stir with a wooden spoon regularly until they are a golden colour.
Then add 250gm of diced butter, a clove of unpeeled garlic, and a sprig of thyme.
Reduce the heat to a low flame.
Move the pan until the butter gets to a foamy consistency, then put in the branches of savoury.
Put in the oven for the rest of the wild boar leg cooking time.
Move the potatoes at the same time that you baste the leg.
Peel the apples and cut them in four length ways, remove the core and dice them roughly.
Pre-heat a sauté pan with 25gm of butter and wait until the butter turns a light golden brown colour, then add the apples.
Season with salt and pepper.
Reduce the flame and mix with a wooden spoon until the apples start to release water.
Add the mustard seeds and cover with a lid.
Move the compote from time to time, making sure it’s not catching.
It will take about 30 to 40mins to allow the compote to cook.
At the end of the two hours, switch off the oven but leave the potatoes and the compote inside the oven.
Remove the leg from the roasting tray and place back into the oven onto a griddle with a collecting tray beneath.
Pass the cooking liquor out of the roasting tray through a sieve or a thin strainer straight in to a pan and bring it to the boil on a gas burner.
When the liquid has boiled for 2 minutes add all the crème fraiche.
Whisk until all the ingredients are mixed together and bring to the boil again.
Put the leg into the roasting tray and pour the sauce onto the leg and return to the oven.
Just before bringing the wild boar to the table, preheat a pan (ideally a non stick pan) with 20ml of extra virgin olive oil and sear the ceps until a golden colour.
Then add 25gm of diced butter, the finely sliced shallots, the garlic clove, the thyme and the chestnut. Continue to cook for about 5mins.
Season with salt and pepper.
Set all the garnishes separately in preheated service trays and bring to the table with the wild boar leg in its roasting tray and the preheated service plates.
You should use a carving knife and fork to slice the meat at the table for the guests.
125gm Butter, at room temperature
125gm Ground walnut
3 Eggs, beaten
25gm Plain flour
100gm Walnut halves
Misc Butter, dried kidney beans
Mix all the dried ingredients with the butter in a food processor or with a whisk until they resemble a ‘breadcrumb’ texture.
Then add in the three beaten eggs, stirring all the time.
Whisk until a creamy texture and add the walnut halves.
Mix gently with a wooden spoon to keep the walnut halves intact.
Place in a sealed container in the fridge.
1 Vanilla pod
125gm Caster sugar
125gm Butter room temperature
Split the vanilla pod in two length way, then scrape out the small black seeds using the back of a knife.
Mix the vanilla seeds with all the dried ingredients and the butter with your hands until ‘breadcrumb’ consistency and add the beaten egg.
Work the dough until it comes together.
Place in the fridge wrapped in cling film.
Allow to rest for about two hours.
Pre heat the oven at 175°c.
Prepare a 28cm diameter tart ring, greased with five grammes of butter and place it on an oven tray lined with greaseproof paper cut to size.
Take out the dough and the walnut cream from the fridge.
Using a rolling pin and a bit of flour, flatten down the dough in a round shape that is 3mm thickness and prick the dough sheet with a fork.
Roll the dough around the pin and lift it up above the tart ring.
Unroll the dough in order to completely cover the ring.
Push the dough inside the ring in order to get a nice tart case shape.
Cover the ring with greaseproof paper, fill the tart ring with dried kidney beans to sufficiently way it down, then place the tray in the oven to cook ‘a blanc’ for 10mins
Take the tray out of the oven and remove the kidney beans.
Allow the tart to cool down and fill evenly with the walnut cream.
Place it in the oven and cook for 20 to 25mins, or until a nice golden brown colour.
Leave to rest outside until service.
Cut the tart into eight equal portions and display on a arge service plate and bring it to the table.
I strongly advise you to buy a tub of ‘Hagen daz Baileys’ ice cream that will perfectly compliment the walnut tart.
You can pre-cool the dessert plates in the fridge, which will prevent the ice cream from melting too quickly.
Caves Saint-Pierre wines are available at Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Somerfield, from £5.99.
About Caves Saint-Pierre:
In the South of France, the Rhône Valley vineyards have thrived along the banks of the Rhône river for over two thousand years. The different soils, micro-climates and vines provide an ideal habitat for prestigious appellations like Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Côtes-du-Rhône and Côtes-du-Ventoux.
It takes enthusiasm, perseverance and the talent of key individuals to reveal the hidden treasures of a wine region. In the 50s, a winery, established in Châteauneuf-du-Pape since 1898, built ageing cellars in the Saint-Pierre area of the village. Business expanded rapidly as vinification, blending and ageing techniques were perfected. The newly constructed cellars' first wines were given the name Caves Saint-Pierre.
Over time, Caves Saint-Pierre broadened its knowledge of the surroundings vineyards. Solid partnerships were established with local winegrowers and Caves Saint-Pierre became deeply involved in every aspect of winemaking: rigorous selection of terroirs, blending favouring Grenache - the king of southern Rhône grape varieties -, vinification methods respectful of terroir and individual grape varieties, traditional ageing in casks or oak barrels... Everything was set in motion to achieve optimum results: full-bodied wines combining force and elegance yet retaining the uniqueness of terroir through a complex pallet of aromas.
Caves Saint – Pierre Stockist Information:
Caves Saint-Pierre “Préférence” wines are available from -
Côtes du Rhône Red £5.99*, available at Tesco and Somerfield
Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes Red £5.99*, available at Sainsbury's
Côtes du Rhône White £5.99*, available at Tesco and Asda
Côtes du Rhône Rosé £5.99*,available at Asda
Côtes du Rhône Villages Red £7.99*, available at Tesco
Gigondas Red £12.99*, available at Tesco
Saint Joseph Red £12.99*,available at Asda
Châteauneuf du Pape Red £16.99* available at Tesco
For Further Information and images:
Helen Bowden at Lawton
T: 02380 828 500
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