Cooking Techniques

We all love reading recipes, trying to prepare something yummy, surprise our friends and create something great. A tasty strawberry jam that makes you think of summer, a choucroute as it could be served in the Alsace, a soup that warms you in winter or asparagus a la Flamande, all delicious.

Recipes basically have two components: the ingredients (what you need) and the actions (what you do). These actions may seem simple but can be challenging, for instance: ‘chop the onion’. Sounds simple, until you see how a chef chops an onion and you compare their result with your own. Another one: ‘poach the egg’.

Reference

When we’re not sure how to do something, we open our copy of Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques by Jenny Wright and Eric Treuille, first published in 1997. It’s such a great book! It describes over 700 cooking techniques and has more than 2,000 pictures to help you understand the techniques. The book includes 200+ recipes, an overview of kitchen aids and utensils plus detailed information about meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, game, nuts etcetera. If you wonder how to slice a pineapple, don’t know how to glace a pie, in doubt how to fry a pork chop, want to prepare your fish en papillotte, then you simply open the book and find the answer.

Institute

Le Cordon Bleu is an exceptional institute. It was founded in Paris in 1895 and today it is a network of culinary and hospitality schools in 20 countries. Le Cordon Bleu combines innovation and creativity with tradition through courses, workshop, educational programs and books. Currently they offer books about ChocolatePastry and Classic Recipes.

Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques is unfortunately a bit expensive (we saw a hardcover for over € 250,00), so you may want to visit a second-hand bookshop when you’re keen to buy it. Don’t be bothered if it looks a bit off, it just means it was often used, which is to be expected with such a helpful book.

Lentils with Sausage and Beetroot

Think France, think a nice small bistro in a small street, off centre, nothing posh, no Michelin star in sight. It’s 12.30, time for a quick lunch. You enter the restaurant, take a seat and order today’s dish, the plat du jour. It turns out to be a generous helping of lentils, fried sausages, mashed potatoes and mustard. A beer works beautifully with it. After having enjoyed your lunch, you think about the joy of good food, French mustard and the beauty of lentils. Time for a coffee. And perhaps a glass of Calvados?

In our recipe for Cod with Lentils and Cilantro we mentioned the joy of lentils, especially the joy of eating Lentille Verte du Puy A.O.P & A.O.C. from Sabarot.

We’re not too keen on mashed potatoes so we decided to combine the lentils and sausage with a beetroot salad.

Sausage wise we suggest coarsely ground (so not minced) organic porc sausages with sage, for instance Lincolnshire sausages. The texture of the sausages is great in combination with the size of the lentils. 

Wine Pairing

We enjoyed our lentils with a glass of red Pays d’Oc wine, with grapes such as Grenache and Syrah. The Syrah brings an intense colour, aromatic strength and structure. The Grenache reveals red berry flavours. For instance wine from Domaine La Colombette. This producer is well known for its innovative light wines and its Super Bio wines, made with grapes (Cabernet Noir, Souvignier Gris) that have a natural resistance to various diseases, meaning that no pesticides are needed in the vineyard.

What You Need

  • For the Lentils
    • Shallot
    • Olive Oil
    • Green or Du Puy Lentils
    • Parsley
  • For the Sausages
    • 2 or 4 Sausages (organic pork with sage, coarsely ground)
    • Olive Oil
  • For the Salad
    • Beetroot
    • Spring Onion
    • Vinegar (plain and white wine)
  • French Mustard

What You Do

One day before serving, wash the beetroot, wrap in foil and put in the oven on 180° Celsius or 365° Fahrenheit for 45-60 minutes, depending on the size. Transfer, remove foil and let cool.
Cut the shallot in small bits and glaze gently in olive oil. In the mean time check the lentils for small pebbles; wash the lentils. Once the shallot is glazed, add the lentils and heat them for a few minutes, as you would do with risotto rice. Add some chicken stock and water (the stock is only intended to give the lentils a small push) and leave to simmer on low heat. Fry the sausages in olive oil in a heavy iron skillet. Remove the skin of the beetroot, slice the beetroot and combine with thinly sliced spring onion and vinegar. Mix. Drain the lentils, chop the parsley and add to the lentils.
Serve the sausage on top of the lentils. Definitely a good dash of French mustard on the side!

  • Lentils with Sausage and Beetroot ©cadwu
  • Du Puy Lentils AOP AOC © cadwu