Saturday, February 13, 2010

Luxembourgish Feast

On Thursday night, I joined a group of our students (and our Dean) at a cooking class. Held at a  former professor's house, the evening was all about eating in Luxembourg - the structure of the meal, cooking using only ingredients from the country, and discussing why Luxembourgers eat the way they do.

It was like a Luxembourgish Thanksgiving feast (I told the husband that I was going to end up rolling down the street)

So, what do they eat in Luxembourg? 50 years ago, only things that could be grown or found in Luxembourg. Now they can import pretty much anything, but for this particular evening, we cooked a Luxembourgish feast at its purest.

We began with the aperitif - a Luxembourgish cremant (the equivalent to Champagne, made near the Mosel), pastry wrapped pate, bread (made in the Ardens) with cheese, and a very interesting meat 'jelly.'

First course: Gekrauselt Zalot or Frisee Salad

1 head of frisee lettuce
1 clove of garlic, 1 shallot
4 slices smoked speck
bread cubes fried in butter

1 tablespoon mustard
salt, pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Worcestershire sauce
*notice there's no oil? Oils used to be very rare (no olive or walnut trees), but cows were not - so they used what they had!

The salad was served with Grompere Kichelcher or Potatoe Fritters
1 kg potatoes
3 onions
2 shallots
4 eggs
parsley, salt, peper
3 tablespoons flour
oil for frying

Shred the potatoes, using a grater, into a cloth. Press out all the excess moisture from the shredded potatoes. Mix in chopped parsley, shallots and onions. Add the beaten eggs, flour and salt and pepper to taste. Form flat cakes out of the potato mixture and fry them into the hot oil until golden brown on both sides.

The main course was Paschteit or Vol-au-vent

1 dressed chicken
coarse salt
100g fresh mushrooms
peppercorns, cloves and bay leaves
4 vol-au-vent or puff pastry circles with a lid

Place the chicken together with the vegetables, bay leaves, cloves and peppercorns in cold water and cook for 2 hours. Prepare a roux (a combination of butter and flour cooked together) for the sauce. Add some of the chicken stock to thicken the sauce. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cube the chicken and sweat the mushrooms in a tablespoon of butter. Put everything together in the sauce, adding lemon juice to taste, before filling the vol-au-vent.

And dessert? Delicious, delicious apple crumble. 

Unfortunately, I don't have an exact recipe, but it was the most basic of crumbles. Apples baked down until they were like a really chunky apple sauce, topped with a flour, sugar, butter crumble topping.

Simple, tasty, and the perfect end to an amazing meal.

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