Archive for the French cuisine Category

Chicken and Mushroom pie

Posted in French cuisine on December 10, 2009 by yongtzetan

Chicken and Mushroom pie, originally uploaded by yongtze.

Strictly speaking this is not a real pie. It is essentially creamy chicken and mushroom in a dish with a puff pastry lid. However, with the buttery puff pastry, it is almost as good as the real thing. Since it is relatively simple and equally delicious as a real pie, it won't be long before I make this again for dinner.

Serves 2 hungry adults:

  • 2 chicken breast fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • Oil
  • 1 whole onion, coarsely sliced
  • 150 grams portobello mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, coarsely sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • about 1/4-1/3 cup white wine
  • about 1/3-1/2 cup chicken stock or mixture of chicken stock and milk
  • about 3-4 tablespoons pure cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg yolk

1. Melt butter in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Sear the chicken on both sides until lightly browned (the chicken doesn't have to be fully cooked at this stage). Season with salt and pepper. Do not overcrowd the skillet, cook in batches if required. Remove the chicken once seared and set aside.

2. Add enough oil to the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium, add onion, garlic and mushroom. Cook for about 5 minutes or until the onion has softened and the mushroom is almost cooked. Toss the pan frequently to cook them evenly without burning. Set the mixture aside with chicken.

3. Preheat the oven to 220 degree Celsius. On the same skillet, add a bit more oil if required, add the shallot and lightly fry it for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add white wine and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. Add chicken stock or mixture of chicken stock and milk. Bring the liquid to boil. Add chicken, onion, garlic and mushroom back to the skillet. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Check seasoning and add salt and pepper if required. Add the cream and simmer for another 5 minutes or so and turn of the heat. The mixture should not be too watery but with creamy and slightly thick sauce.

4. Invert pie dish on puff pastry and cut the puff pastry around the pie dish. The puff pastry lid should be larger than the top of the pie dish so it can cover the pie dish entirely with the edges folded down the the side of the dish. 

5. Pour the chicken and mushroom mixture into a big pie dish or 2 smaller pie dish. Beat the egg yolk, using a pastry brush, brush the egg yolk on the edge of the puff pastry and cover the pie dish with the puff pastry lid. Firmly press edges of pastry against the side of the dish. Brush the top of the puff pastry lid with the egg yolk. Score the top of puff pastry with a sharp knife in a criss-cross pattern.

6. Bake the pie in the oven for about 25 minutes or until the pastry has turned golden brown. Serve hot.

Cheese Soufflé

Posted in French cuisine on July 16, 2009 by yongtzetan

It's been a while since I updated this blog. Here is a French classic – Cheese Soufflé. The cheese puff is light-as-air but the cheese cream underneath, however, is as rich as it gets. This is a recipe adapted from Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques. It asks for
Gruyère cheese but I substituted it with some British cheese which I believe should be the Red Leicester cheese because I don't have Gruyère and Red Leicester cheese melts really well.

Serves 2

– 2 eggs, separated
– 50ml dry white wine
– salt and pepper
– 100ml double cream
– 75g cheese (any easy-melting cheese)

1. Put the egg yolks and wine in a large bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water and whisk them togther until the mixture is pale and thick enough to leave a ribbon trail when lifted. Remove the bowl from the heat and whisk until the mixture is cool.

2. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. Fold the whites gently but thoroughly into the egg yolk mixture and season with salt and pepper.

3. Bring the cream to the boil in a pan and stir in two-thirds of the cheese until melted and smooth. Pour into two ramekins.

4. Spoon the egg mixture on top of the cheese cream, filling almost to top. Run a finger around the the inside of the rim to push the mixture away from the edge. Sprinke each with the rest of the cheese.

5. Bake at a preheated oven of 180 degree Celsius for 10 minutes or until the soufflé are puffed up and golden brown. Serve at once


Posted in French cuisine on December 6, 2007 by yongtzetan

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brioche, originally uploaded by yongtze.

I have been baking too much Ciabatta bread and started to feel sick of eating the same bread. I went to C’est Bon for my birthday last week. They were serving the chicken liver mousse with toasted brioche and it was delicious! The brioche was very rich with buttery flavour and slightly sweet. So I decided to try making it.

There are a lots of recipes online. According to some, it is better to let the dough to proof and rise in a cool temperature like in the fridge overnight because of large amount of butter used, so that you get a smooth, workable dough, with little pockets of butter all throughout.

However, I wasn’t patient enough to wait for 1 or 2 days so I followed the recipe that let the dough rise in normal room temperature so the whole process from start to finish baking takes only 3 hours (3 hours is considered short when it comes to baking). The result is surprising good – flaky crust outside and beautifully soft inside. However, you do have to work quite quickly incorporating butter into the dough so the dough remains cool and workable.

And I made my Brioche into a loaf shape instead of the more classically recognized form of brioche à tête  so I only slice what I want and keep the rest in the freezer because brioche freezes very well.

Recipe can be found here.

Cherry clafoutis

Posted in Dessert, French cuisine on November 30, 2007 by yongtzetan

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cherry clafoutis, originally uploaded by yongtze.

This is such an easy dessert to make and yet it looks so wonderful and impressive. It is traditional in the Limousin during the cherry season and is peasant cooking for family meals.

A pancake-like batter poured over fruit in a fireproof dish, then baked in the oven. Eat it when it’s still warm.

Serves 1/2:

– 1 cup of fresh cherries
– about 120ml of full cream milk
– 2.5 tablespoons sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– small pinch of salt
– 2.5 tablespoons flour
– unsalted butter to butter the dish

1. Place all the ingredients except cherries and butter in your blender jar. Cover and blend at top speed for 1 minute for the batter.

2. Use unsalted butter to butter the dish. Spread the cherries at the bottom of the dish. Pour on the batter over the cherries.

3. Place in a preheated oven of 180 degree Celsius and bake for about 17 minutes. The clafouti is done when it has puffed and browned, and a knife plunged into its center comes out clean.

4. Sprinkle top of the clafouti with icing sugar just before bringing it to the table.

Chicken fricassee with sauteed musroom and double cream

Posted in Chicken dishes, French cuisine on October 17, 2007 by yongtzetan

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You could say this is a far distant relative of the famous Coq Au Vin. You can experiment with different variation by changing the principle formula below slightly because it is a great way to cook chicken if you especially like thick and rich sauce:

A. Saute and brown the chicken briefly in butter/or a mixture or butter and olive oil.

B. Add onion and/or shallot and/or garlic and/or bacon and/or blanched bacon.

C. Add chicken stock, and experiment with different wines: red, wine, sweet muscat wine, marsala wine, etc.

D. Thyme and bay leaf being traditional,  try others like sage.

E. Enrich the reduced sauce with either butter, or cream, or egg yolk, or both cream and egg yolk, or creme fraiche.

For this version that serves 2:

– 2 thighs and 2 drumsticks
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 25g butter
– 1 big shallots, chopped
– 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
– 150ml chicken stock
– 100ml white wine and 50ml marsala wine
– 75g mushrooms
– 50ml cream
– 1 egg yolk
– 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
– 1/2 teaspoon beurre manie (equal amount of butter and flour blended together into a paste, usually to thicken sauce)
– salt and pepper

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat half the oil and butter in a large skillet, brown the chicken pieces on both sides until golden brown. Lower the heat, add the shallots and garlic and cook for 2 minutes.

2. Add the wine and stock, bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked.

3. Meanwhile, saute the mushroom in a little of the remaining butter and oil and season with some salt and pepper. When the chicken is done, lift the pieces onto a serving dish and scatter over the mushrooms.

4. Mix the cream and egg yolk together in a bowl. Remove the skillet from the heat and skim any excess fat from the surface of the remaining juices. Stir in the lemon juice. Add the cream and egg liaison to the pan with the beurre manie, return the pan to a low heat and stir over a very gentle low heat until the sauce thickens lightly, but never let it boil. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then pour the sauce over the chicken and mushroom. Serve with steamed rice and some green salad.

Chicken breast strips with white onion sauce

Posted in Chicken dishes, French cuisine on October 8, 2007 by yongtzetan

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My girlfriend and I both like Kun Ming’s chicken with onion sauce on rice so I thought I would try to make something similar. However, it turned out to be quite different because I have no idea how to make the sauce they make in the restaurant. My version of the onion sauce is actually a variation of the classic French velouté sauce, flavoured by onion and enriched by butter by the end. It tastes very home-cooked and not as salty as the one in the restaurant and I pan-fry the chicken instead of deep-fry them. A very quick and tasty meal.

Serves 2:
– two chicken breast fillets, skinned, cut into 4 pieces from each
– 1 large onion, sliced
– 5 tablespoons butter
– 1 1/2 tablespoons flour and extra to dust
– salt and pepper
– 1 1/2 cup boiling chicken stock

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Make the sauce: Melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. When bubbling, add 1 1/2 tablespoons flour and mix it well with the butter until it is well incorporated and then cook over low heat for 2 minutes, until the point where a raw flour taste is no longer apparent, keep stirring.

2. Remove the saucepan from heat, slowly add the boiling chicken stock and use a whisk to stir the butter-and-flour mixture (also called roux) well with the stock. When well-mixed, cook the sauce over medium-high heat for 1-2 minutes, bubbling gently but not boiling vigourously. Add the onion and stir well. Cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and set aside.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan. When the bubbles start to subside, dust the chicken with flour quickly, and pan-fry them in butter for about 4-5 minutes, turning twice, until nicely browned and just cooked.

4. Transfer the chicken on a warm plate, beat in another 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter into the onion sauce and blend well. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Serve immediately with rice.

Brussels sprouts in brown butter

Posted in French cuisine on September 13, 2007 by yongtzetan

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Brussels sprouts are great winter vegetable. They have this very fresh bright green and they go well with all sorts of meats, like here – roast lamb.

To prepare the Brussels sprouts: Trim off the stems close to the heads and pierce a cross about 1cm deep in the stem ends.

Brussels sprouts in brown butter

serves 2 as a hearty accompaniment
– 250g Brussels sprouts
– salt and pepper
– a big pot of rapidly boiling water
– butter

1. Plunge the sprouts into the lightly salted boiling water and blanch for about 4 minutes. It is done when you can pierce it with a sharp-pointed knife fairly easily. To be sure, cut one open and eat it, it should be slightly crunchy. (If not serve immediately, cook the vegetables in a large basin of ice cold water.)

2. Halve of quarter the blanched sprouts lengthwise. Add 1-2 tablespoons of butter in a moderately hot skillet. Add the sprouts when the butter starts to bubble. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Toss and swirl the skillet for several minutes until the sprouts begin to brown very lightly. Serve as soon as possible.