12th Dinner Club: Burgundy – Summary
Early on V decided to change her main dish to Gigot of Rabbit with Mustard and Onions from her original plan of Boeuf Bourguignon. We all had plenty of time to do our research accordingly. I can’t speak for the others but I was surprised at how little information I could find that was by French region. I searched through cookbooks and online and found lots and lots of French recipes and information but most of it was broad, not regional. One decent resource was the section on France on About.com. And, if I had known about it sooner and been able to get my hands on a copy (which I am happy to report I now have…), Culinaria France has good information.
We started the evening with Kirs. While we were sipping them and chatting K warmed and assembled a beautiful Asparagus soup accompanied by Herbed Goat Cheese Toasts. The soup was really astounding! Lovely both to look at and to consume! And the little toasts were a nice touch. The simple salad provided a nice break in between the soup and the rabbit and gratins.
The rabbit was delicious and perfect for a chilly November night. The sauce was hearty and made you want to sop it up with a little bread. The Potato, Apple and Pear Gratin was … interesting. I had selected this particular dish because I noticed that there were many potato/fruit gratin recipes and I read that it’s a very common combination, I think believe potato/apple is the most common. So I wanted to make sure we tried something that (for me anyway) was out of the norm. It actually tasted pretty good, but it seemed more like a dessert than a side. I think the main thing that kept me from really enjoying it was my brain! Some people took seconds, so it must have been okay. The cauliflower gratin was really a "just in case" dish. As in, "just in case that other one is inedible we’ll have something to fall back on". This particular recipe was good but had a tad too much mustard – it was very dominant. And I think I could have reduced the cheese a little. The sauce was pretty dense and not as creamy as I would have liked.
We finished with a beautiful plate of cheese and grapes accompanied by a little baguette and champagne. (You may have noticed we seem to be champagne-drinking girls, as it appears quite often at our gatherings!) R had arranged a plate of cheeses including: Bleu d’auvergne; Soumaintrain, a washed rind cheese; and Charolais, an aged goat cheese. That last one surprised me with the name. Charolais is also a breed of cow from France. They are generally used for beef production and were introduced into the US in the 1930s. So I was surprised that this Charolais was a goat cheese!
It was a very nice way to end our 2004 meetings.