Recipes #16&17

French Onion Soup and Pâté de campagne, Raymond Blanc

I made both of these this weekend, so it seems sensible to combine my thoughts on them. Both of these were recipes I watched being made on my cookery course, and I’ve been waiting for a moment when I had the time to give them a whirl at home (it must be half-term!).

The onion soup is a marvel.. Onions, sweated down with butter and some salt, for an indecent amount of time, then mixed with some flour, water and a bit of white wine. Top with toasted baguette and comté cheese and voila…! I couldn’t find the specific onions suggested (roscoff), so I went with a combination of bog standard brown onions and banana shallots. It worked well.. It is definitely worth caramelising the onions for really rather a lot longer than the recipe’s suggested 20 minutes – I think mine were on for over an hour, and this really adds to the flavour of the finished article.

I made the pâté on Friday night and we ate it for lunch on Sunday, allowing it time to mature that we had not had on the day of the cookery course. Overall, I was delighted with how this came out – I’ve never really made pâté before, and I had to substitute calf liver for pork liver as dear old Waitrose failed me on the latter front. It is really rather simple – whizz the meats in a food processor, but not too much so texture is retained. Mix with all of the other ingredients then cook in a bain marie. Whilst not in the recipe, I chose to weight the pâté down whilst it cooled. I’m not sure I would next time – I think it made the overall texture a little closer than ideal. Perfect on toast with cornichons and pickled onions.

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