Trout mousse. Credit: Château, Jardin, Cuisine: Secret Recipes from the Ardèche. Photography © Regina von Planta

Regina von Planta rummages through Ardèche’s bountiful larder and serves up some of the département’s top staples – with a few wild cards thrown in for good measure. Excerpts from “Château, Jardin, Cuisine: Secret Recipes from the Ardèche” by Regina von Planta. Copyright © 2019. Photography © Regina von Planta. Published by Unicorn. Purchase the book on Amazon below.

TROUT MOUSSE

Serves 6

Trout fishing in the many rivers of the Ardèche is an ancient tradition and a modern sport. However, there are several farms to serve the increasing demand.

INGREDIENTS

600g trout fillets
10g freshly ground pepper
16g salt
4 egg whites
1⁄2 L crème fraîche

1 Mix the fish, salt and pepper; add the egg whites and once the mixture has become even and smooth, add the cream.

2 Butter a cake mould or a ring-shaped Charlotte mould and half fill with the mousse.

3 Place the mould into the oven in a bain-marie with pre-heated water. Leave in the oven for about 45 minutes.

4 This dish can be eaten hot or cold and can be frozen easily but, be aware, it takes a quite a while to defrost.

La Bombine. Credit: Château, Jardin, Cuisine: Secret Recipes from the Ardèche. Photography © Regina von Planta

LA BOMBINE

Serves 6

The Bombine used to be called the ‘Dish of the Poor’ because it is a complete meal with potatoes and a little meat. Bay leaves give this dish a special aroma, but otherwise the ingredients can vary widely and there are as many recipes for Bombine as there are villages in the Ardèche. Saint-Andéol-de-Berg is the ‘Capital of the Bombine’ with chefs called ‘Maîtres Bombinaires’. Some of them will add carrots, garlic or black olives. Here we offer a recipe from the beautiful village of Labeaume.

INGREDIENTS

1.5kg potatoes
2 onions
4 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
1 glass of white wine
800g salted pork belly or smoked bacon Pepper

1 Peel the potatoes and cut them into not too small cubes. Cut the meat into smaller pieces and slice the onions finely. Pour a bit of olive oil into a cast iron casserole dish and sweat the onions and brown the meat.

2 Then moisten both with half a litre of salted water and the white wine. Throw in thyme and bay leaves and pepper and bring to boiling point.

3 Add the potatoes and cover with the lid and place in the oven at medium temperature for 1 1⁄2 to 2 hours. Serve the Bombine with a crisp salad for a simple but exquisite meal.

Pumpkin. Credit: Château, Jardin, Cuisine: Secret Recipes from the Ardèche. Photography © Regina von Planta

PUMPKIN IN PAPILLOTE

The ideal time to make pumpkin in foil is when the weather is changing in the autumn. This is an original dish that looks very attractive. One small pumpkin is a very generous helping for one person and our ingredients are for one pumpkin only.

INGREDIENTS

1 small pumpkin
1 medium size onion
2 slices of prosciutto or cured ham
2 slices of cooked ham
100g smoked bacon in cubes
250ml crème fraîche or sour cream
1 tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper

1 Finely slice the onions and fry them in a bit of olive oil in a pan. Cut the cured ham and the cooked ham into thin strips. In a bowl, mix together the onions, the ham, the smoked bacon cubes and the sour cream. Add the cumin and stir well. Add pepper and a little salt.

2 Cut the top off the pumpkin as if it were a hat. Cut into the pumpkin with a curved knife and take out all the seeds with a spoon, but leave the flesh on the pumpkin. Stuff it with the ham and onion mixture. Place the ‘hat’ on the pumpkin and wrap it in aluminium foil.

3 Preheat the oven to 250°C and leave to cook for at least 50 minutes. In order to test whether it is cooked through lift the ‘hat’ and plunge a knife into the flesh of the pumpkin. Once it is soft take it out. It is important that the skin does not break.

4 Our suggestion: add a small handful of Porcini or Chanterelle mushrooms to the stuffing.

OSSOBUCO WITH LEMON AND OLIVES

Serves 6

The knuckle of veal or veal shanks or marrow bone is often better known as Ossobuco. It is nourishing and tastes great and we’ll cook it with preserved lemon and some harissa spice.

INGREDIENTS

1.5kg or 2 to 3 tranches of Ossobuco
1 whole preserved lemon
1 medium size onion
1 carrot
1 small branch of rosemary
200g green and black olives
80ml olive oil
2 tbsp brown sugar
1⁄2 tsp harissa powder

1 Peel and cut onion and carrot into small pieces.

2 In a very hot casserole dish, or large pan, brown the tranches of Ossobuco for about 5 minutes on each side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and continue until light brown. Lower the heat and add the onion and carrot. Cook them for 5 minutes and then add the lemon, cut in half, and the rosemary. Pour 600ml of water into the casserole and add the sugar cubes and the harissa. Cover with a lid and leave to simmer for 1 1⁄2 hours turning the meat regularly.

3 After this, add the olives and continue to cook for another 30 minutes. Check whether the meat is cooked through and, if needed, add a bit of salt and pepper. Should the gravy be too watery, remove the meat and reduce the sauce.

4 Serve either with ratatouille or with courgettes sautéed with caraway
seed powder.

Souffle of goat’s cheese. Credit: Château, Jardin, Cuisine: Secret Recipes from the Ardèche. Photography © Regina von Planta

SOUFFLÉ OF GOAT’S CHEESE

Serves 4

This delicate soufflé is made with fresh goat’s cheese or ‘faisselle’, which is similar to a fromage blanc, but gives a more refined flavour. To make this starter even more interesting, mix some fresh chives, chopped finely, into the cheese mixture.

INGREDIENTS

3 egg yolks
5 egg whites
250g fresh goat’s cheese or ‘faisselle’ (at 20% fat)
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper and nutmeg
Red peppercorns
Grated Parmesan for decoration

1 Preheat the oven to 180°C. In a bowl, first mix the yolks and then add the goat’s cheese and the olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and ground nutmeg and mix well. Beat the whites with a pinch of salt until they are really firm. Fold them gently into the egg and cheese mixture together with the chives. Fill this into small ovenproof dishes, which you have buttered lightly.

2 Cook in the oven for 12 minutes. Take out, decorate with grated Parmesan and red peppercorns and serve immediately.

Cottage pie. Credit: Château, Jardin, Cuisine: Secret Recipes from the Ardèche. Photography © Regina von Planta

COTTAGE PIE WITH SWEET POTATOES

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

4 duck thighs
300g sweet potatoes
300g potatoes
1 fennel
3 sprigs of parsley
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
l glass of milk
2 tbsp cream
25g butter Breadcrumbs

1 Season the duck thighs with salt and pepper and bake in a medium-hot oven for 30 minutes. Once cooked, cut the meat off the bone and chop into small pieces. While the duck is cooking, make a purée with the sweet potato and the ordinary potatoes, the milk, the butter and the cream. Season with salt, pepper and 2 knife-tips of chilli powder.

2 Cut the onion into fine slices and brown them in a bit of oil; add the chopped fennel and the parsley and cook for about half an hour until you have a compote.

3 In a buttered gratin dish place first a layer of the potato purée, then the duck pieces with a bit of their juice and then the fennel mixture and a last layer of potato purée. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and place in the oven for 20 minutes at 180°C.

4 Serve this dish very hot with a green salad.

Suggestion: you can also use duck confit without the fat, but be careful with the seasoning.

Apricot cake. Credit: Château, Jardin, Cuisine: Secret Recipes from the Ardèche. Photography © Regina von Planta

APRICOT CAKE

There are plenty of apricot trees in the Ardèche and this fruit announces the summer.

INGREDIENTS

150g flour
700g apricots
40g butter
40g caster sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp water

1 Heap the our onto the table; make a hole in the middle and add the softened butter in small knobs. Work this with your hands; add the sugar, the egg yolk and a bit of water. Work the dough again and make a ball. Leave to rest for 1 hour.

2 Butter and flour a cake mould and roll out the dough until it is about 3mm thick; cover the mould completely.

3 Cut the apricots in halves, take out the stones and place the apricot pieces tightly onto the dough. Once the mould is full, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the fruit.

4 Preheat the oven to 180°C and bake the tart for about 1⁄2 hour. After this, take it out of its mould and leave to cool on a baking tray.

Gateau. Credit: Château, Jardin, Cuisine: Secret Recipes from the Ardèche. Photography © Regina von Planta

GÂTEAU ARDÉCHOIS

This cake with sweet chestnut purée or crème de marrons is soft inside and crispy on the outside. It evokes a sense of countryside and of good home cooking by the use of simple ingredients that are of the highest quality.
It is quick and easy to make and, with a bit of rum added, will also be easy to consume.

INGREDIENTS

500g crème de marrons (chestnut puree)
175g sugar
175g flour
175g butter
l tsp yeast
3 eggs
2 tbsp rum

1 Preheat the oven to 200°C. Mix the butter with flour, sugar, yeast, crème de marrons and the egg yolks in a mixer.

2 Beat the egg whites until they are very stiff. Fold them carefully into the chestnut mixture and spoon into a buttered and floured cake tin. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes.

3 Decorate with icing sugar and serve with either a dry white wine or with Champagne.

As seen in France Today magazine

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