Our recent guests have been the great French Chef Léonardo Guillet and his partner Flavie Baffou . On the first night I cooked a South East Asian style meal I was not going to attempt French!
At some stage during the night Léonardo said “If you like, I will cook for you tomorrow”. That was an offer not to be refused. We just happened to have half a deer in the freezer that was waiting for something special. The next morning the defrosted meat was inspected. “I was going to make a venison version of Bœuf Bourguignon,” Léonardo said, “but this deserves something special. Can I go to your garden?”. Sometime later , I saw him picking herbs, smelling and tasting them. So the day of cooking started. I watched whenever I thought I could, without being a nuisance. First to make the stock . That took an hour or so. The braise included sage, thyme, parsley and other garden plants I was not too sure about. Wild sorrel could have been one. Then there was a mixture from the dry herb drawer. Cardamom, coriander, cumin, black pepper and more.
Onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, garlic in turn to olive oil , then browned venison and the herbs the braising pan and then into the electric oven. This was what the La Canche was born to do.
The venison was in the oven five and a half hours.
Meanwhile , the vegetables.
Potatoes braised with herbs, and sweet potatoes braised with garlic and onion and pureed with milk and cinnamon and surprise! vanilla! Some braising liquid from the venison was added to both , greens with more herbs.
While the braise was in the oven lunch was prepared by Flavie. Here are the salads in prep. The centre dish is toasted pine nuts.
Then at last, dinner at night.