Monday, 17 October 2011

Sunday Lunch at La Durantie – Part II

In Part I of this post, I focused on the baked figs that I prepared as part of Sunday lunch with friends at la Durantie. Not surprisingly, there was more, prepared by the Good Doctor.

Our original plan was for Kristoph and the Good Doctor to embark on a Sunday “chicken stuff-off,” using some local chickens. Kristoph’s recent thumb injury however, precluded his active participation, and the Good Doctor was left to stuff his chicken alone.

I should add here that I’m a pretty committed pescatarian. I’ve been eating fish for around three years, and for the 15 years before that, I was fully vegetarian. I stopped eating meat when I was around 13 years old, questioning its necessity in our diet. My youthful self summised that if I lived with a tribe and hunted for my own food, I’d probably be okay with it, but until then, I’d stick with vegetables.

My move to include fish in my diet was encouraged by Kristoph. I was hesitant, due to the alarming state of some fish stocks and my need to feel confident and comfortable with the source of my food. So now I eat fish including local farmed trout, mackerel, anything in abundant supply, fished from not too distant seas. In honour of my 13 year old self’s ideals; I’m also comfortable with catching and killing fish by my own hand.        

Alas, I digress. Back to the Good Doctor’s chicken. South-west France is a land of rolling hills, sprawling and tangled woodlands, limousine beef cattle and ducks, “cul noir” pigs, among other animals. Most live comfortable and happy lives. And while I personally choose not to eat these animals, I recognise their importance to both the economy and culture of this region.

The Good Doctor knows his chicken (098684 to be precise) and its provenance.

The stuffing was prepared by mashing together, with a mortar and pestle, handfuls of onion, garlic, rosemary, sage, a generous amount of black pepper. This mix was then stuffed inside the chicken, and rubbed over its outside.  

Once prepared the chicken was roasted for around two hours, together with potatoes, onions and carrots, also mixed with rosemary and sage. 

We also boiled up some leaks from the farm shop down the road. These were simply chopped and boiled for a few minutes in butter.

All in all, a long, lazy, slow-cooked and very enjoyable Sunday lunch, ended with four full and satisfied bellys, and a game of pool.   


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