This is the second post in my Essential Pépin series. To celebrate the release of Jacques Pépin’s new cookbook, Essential Pépin, Thomas Allen are challenging Canadian home chefs and bloggers to cook up their own French meals with recipes from the book with the chance to win a KitchenAid® Artisan Series Stand Mixer, courtesy of KitchenAid® Canada!
In his more than sixty years as a chef, Jacques Pépin has earned a reputation as a champion of simplicity. His recipes are classics. They find the shortest, surest route to flavour, avoiding complicated techniques. Now, in a book that celebrates his life in food, the world’s most famous cooking teacher winnows his favourite recipes from the thousands he has created, streamlining them even further. Essential Pépin spans the many styles of Jacques’s cooking: homey country French, haute cuisine, fast food Jacques-style, and fresh contemporary American dishes. Many of the recipes are globally inspired, from Mexico, across Europe, or the Far East. This truly is the essential Pépin.
I already experimented with the composed salad with goat cheese, greens and caramelized pecans a couple of weeks ago, knowing I was planning to make all three of the Pépin dishes for a dinner we had last Friday night. I am pleased to report that the salad works just as well with caramelized almond slivers and went down a treat with our guests
The second course was brilliantly simple: Chicken in tarragon sauce. Chicken gently poached in vermouth (we used Pisco as a substitute – imagine, we were out of vermouth!!!), stock, onions and herbs, then served with a cream reduction of the poaching liquid. I made this in about 30 minutes, actually whilst the guests were there watching – it was no trouble at all. The result? A wonderfully complex sauce that needed nothing else on the plate – the flavours truly stood up on their own. I served new potatoes just to soak up a little of the sauce but really, it needed nothing more. A true French classic, reminiscent of what you would get at a bistro. I’ll definitely be making this one again, and trying different variations of flavours in the sauce.
Stay tuned for one more instalment of the Pépin menu soon and read more about the contest on Facebook.
*Did you enter my giveaway for a beautiful, hand-painted custom tile or glassware? Contest closes Tuesday November 22nd at 6pm EST. I will draw the winner using Random.org and announce the winner on Wednesday November 23rd. Open to residents of Canada and the US only – sorry international readers but…..
** Over on Food Bloggers of Canada, we’re giving away a copy of Clotilde Dusoulier’s Chocolate and Zucchini – open to readers anywhere in the world! Head on over there to read my writeup of Clotilde’s recent talk on food blogging in Toronto!