You may be stuck on French food for the foreseeable future if you pick up French Country Cooking, a new collection of heritage recipes by French National Assembly member Françoise Branget. From the ultra-simple and rustic to the famed complex pastries and luxurious composed dishes that bolster French cuisine’s international renown, you can be sure there are instant favorites to be found.
Val-d’Oise, directly north of Paris, is in the second tier of Île-de-France departments circling the city. Its rich land remains largely agricultural, but residential subdivision is on the rise. One victim is the town of Montmorency, just ten miles from Paris, where the cherries that bear its name are now grown in only a few orchards. Cultivation of the red sour Montmorency cherry is increasing elsewhere, however, as its high antioxidant level adds to its culinary appeal.
“This long-established preparation with sour cherries — emblematic of Montmorency — represents well our region. Cherries are particularly delicious with duck.” —Jérôme Chartier, deputy of Val-d’Oise
- 1 Muscovy duck, about 3 pounds
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 leek
- 3 carrots
- 3 turnips
- 1 onion
- 1 clove
- 2 juniper berries
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 bouquet garni
- 5 cups red wine
- 2 cups chicken stock
- Pepper and salt
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 2 pounds sour cherries, pitted
- 2 tablespoons sugar
For the duck
In a heavy casserole, put duck, vegetables, spices and bouquet garni. Add wine and stock, pepper and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Remove duck from casserole. Carve into serving pieces. Place in an ovenproof dish and dot with half the butter.
Roast for 1 hour, basting duck pieces with cooking juices every 10 minutes.
In a skillet, melt remaining butter, add sugar and cherries, and sauté for 10 minutes. Lower heat to minimum and simmer another 10 minutes. Set aside and rewarm at serving time.
Remove duck from oven and place on a serving platter. Pour cherries over and around duck. Serve.