I’m afraid Périgord is getting the short end of the stick this month. Like I said before, Périgord is the home of French Christmas staples such as foie gras and chestnuts, which is why I chose it for December. Unfortunately, my paying job is much more demanding in the winter, particularly in the weeks surrounding Christmas and New Year’s. So I haven’t had nearly as much time as I would have liked to research (read: taste) my way through Périgord.
I did, however, with the help of Hopie, manage to put together a Christmas dinner très périgord. Minus the truffles. When it came down to spending 23 euros on a 9-gram truffle or spending them on a 500-gram foie gras de canard, the choice was clear. On Christmas day, I split the lobe in two, did my best to remove the vein without mangling the beautiful foie, then simply seasoned and seared it on both sides. When the searing was done, I lowered the heat and let it continue cooking, covered, for a few more minutes.
After the foie was warmed through, I moved it to a plate and poured off all but a thin layer of fat from the pan. I quickly sautéed some diced shallots, deglazed with a splash of balsamic vinegar, and stirred in some fig jam for a sauce that was absolutely heavenly spooned over thick slices of warm foie gras. We washed it down with a glass of Monbazillac, a white dessert wine from (where else?) Périgord. I’m not ashamed to admit that four of us polished off the entire big lobe (the small one has since become an unphotogenic but quite tasty pâté) before diving into the rest of our meal.
Speaking of the rest of the meal, Hope was enthusiastic about the Périgord theme, and contributed a delicious herbed chestnut soup to the feast. The richness of the chestnuts was nicely balanced with woodsy rosemary and palate-awakening mint. Of course I didn’t get any photos. (Did I mention there was wine at this dinner?) Nor did I get a single photo of the goose I had to go to eight butchers to find, which we roasted and ate with potatoes cooked in the drippings – a simplified version of the périgueux classic, pommes sarladaises.
All in all, a wonderful Christmas dinner and a great time spent with friends sharing some of our favorite activities: cooking and eating. Just the way I like to spend my holidays.
In case I don’t get back here before Friday (and it doesn’t look like I will) Happy New Year!
Originally published on Croque-Camille.