Rustic French Food,
Galette au Chou
Off My Bookshelf
The French Kitchen
By Joanne Harris and Fran Warde
Thursday 18th August 2011
Jeudi 18 Août 2011 ~ Ste Hélène
I have been a bit frivolous in the kitchen lately, too much prancing around with fairy cakes and dainty little Madeleines, and I need to start taking a leaf out of Dolly Parton’s book and stand by my man, as he his craving some real bloke’s grub and none of this airy fairy cake stuff! Well as it happens he is in luck, as I quite fancy a good honest rustic meal too, so it was to my cookbook The French Kitchen that I turned once again, you may remember I cooked a great veggie meal last week from the same book ~ Baked Red Peppers with Fennel and Goat’s Cheese.
Now this is not a pretty dish, but it is VERY satisfying and also very easy to prepare too……..and the book even goes so far as to suggest that children will love it, even cabbage haters ~ so it must be good ~ although I am no longer a child (I like to think that I am fairly adult most of the time!) and I love cabbage, so we are on safe ground there. For those of you in the know, this is not a galette in the Breton pancake or cake-cum-biscuit sense, but is more like a savoury batter that is baked with the cabbage sandwiched between…….think crust-less pie and you are nearly there. It’s what I call an “In-between” dish, it sort of spans the end of Summer and the advent of Autumn…..
The recipe originates from the Auvergne region of France known for its hearty peasant style cooking, which seemed to fit the “proper bloke’s food” bill. So I prepared it for supper last night ~ served it with acres of baguette and some Dijon mustard, and it went down a veritable treat. I thought that the galette batter was wonderful, studded with smoked lardons and fresh parsley, as well as fresh garlic and shallots ~ a real hail and hearty type of savoury pie without the hassle of making pastry. I can see this working with all sorts of other fillings, not just cabbage, and I am going to try this out again throughout the cooler months.
And, yes, if you have children I am sure they would love this! I wanted to use savoy cabbage, but I only had a white cabbage handy ~ this would have been much better with a savoy cabbage for looks I am sure, with lots of deep green layers peeping through. The recipe calls for thick cut smoked bacon, I used thick cut smoked lardons; I upped the garlic a bit and used 3 small eggs ~ the recipe says 2 eggs but my wee hen lays small eggs, so 3 seemed better! It was detectable and also just as nice next day when it was cold ~ it would make a great picnic dish actually.
I have copied the recipe exactly as it was printed in the cookbook, but I am sure that you can tinker with the ingredients a wee bit! A wonderful Autumnal dish that would also be good as an accompaniment to pork minus the lardons in the batter mix…..just a thought!
~ Galette au Chou ~
French Cabbage Galette
(Serves 4 to 6)
1/2 savoy cabbage, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
200g (7ozs) thick cut smoked bacon, cubed
3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
bunch of parsley, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper
200g (7ozs) plain flour
Heat oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Steam cabbage for 3 minutes, drain and put to one side. Smear the olive oil over a deep pie dish and place in the oven.
In a bowl, mix the eggs, bacon, shallots, garlic, parsley and seasoning together. Add the flour and milk and blend to a smooth thick batter.
Remove the hot pie dish from the oven and pour half the batter in to the dish, then pile on the cabbage, packing it down with your hands before pouring the remaining batter over the top.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown and firm.
Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.
Pukka bloke’s grub done, next challenge follows on tomorrow! See you then.