Oui Chef! – Joyeux Noel

JeromeJérôme Cogné dreams of a French Christmas

In my last column, I mentioned that I was hoping to travel back to Paris before Christmas to spend some time with my daughter. Well, we have just come back and it was an incredible experience.

One evening we went onto the Champs-Élysées to visit a Christmas market packed with most amazing street food. Of course, the Champs-Élysées is magnificent at any time of year, but at Christmas it is especially beautiful. It was lovely to see it all lit up and lined with stands where the stallholders were cooking and selling wonderful food.

We started the night with a mulled wine (Paris is cold, after all!) before going on to enjoy some wonderful salmon. There were full sides of it cooking over huge fires and the stallholders were selling wonderful sandwiches made simply with a baguette, mesclun salad and salmon topped with crème fraîche with lemon and mixed herbs. It was absolutely fantastic.

Christmas here at Bouchon starts the first week of December. Our French festive menu includes goose along with pigs in blankets. For Christmas at home this year, I plan to introduce a little taste of France to an English Christmas table. Do not worry, there will still be a turkey, and of course pigs in blankets. It promises to be a wonderful time of year.

Rolled Goose Breast with Chestnuts 
Serves 8

8 slices back bacon
1½ goose breast
500g sausage meat
1 large onion (fried in butter)
3 sage leaves
2 whole eggs
4 tbsp of breadcrumbs
3 tbsp of crushed chestnuts
salt and pepper

Take the fat off the goose breast and slice thinly. Lay the slices of bacon in a rectangle on buttered greaseproof paper. Add the goose breast, then the sausage meat. Roll together in tin foil.Poach or steam until you get the temperature to 76C. Then cool in ice water. Unwrap and cut into 5-6cm pieces. Pan fry in oil and butter for a crispy outside.Cook in the oven for 5-7mins at175C/Gas 4.

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