French Countryside Cooking 

French Countryside Cooking 

Michelin-starred chef Daniel Galmiche shows how to make authentic French dishes using ingredients found in the rural parts of the country, from orchard to meadow, river to seashore, in sustainable and inventive ways.

Red Onion Tarte Tatin with Goat’s Cheese

Serves 4 | Preparation time 25 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling | Cooking time 1 hour


375g/13oz ready-made puff pastry
Plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting
200g/7oz/heaped 3/4 cup caster (superfine) sugar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
4 thyme sprigs
6 red onions, peeled, root trimmed to the level of the base and cut into quarters
1 egg, lightly beaten
100g/31/2oz soft goat’s cheese log, such at Sainte-Maure, rind removed
1 tsp black onion seeds
4 handfuls of pea shoots
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured work surface and cut into 4 discs, each about 20cm/8in in diameter. Put the pastry on a baking sheet, cover with cling film (plastic wrap) and chill in the refrigerator for 25–30 minutes to prevent the pastry shrinking during baking.

2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160°C/315°F/ Gas 21/2. Melt the sugar, lemon juice and 80ml/21⁄2fl oz/1/3 cup of water in a non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a low heat. Increase the heat to medium and cook for 10–12 minutes until it turns a rich golden brown. Divide into four 15cm/6in non-stick cake tins or oven-proof dishes. Put a thyme sprig in the centre of each tin, then put the red onion quarters, rounded side down, into the caramel; there should be 6 quarters in each pan. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven and turn the oven up to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5.

3. Take the pastry out of the refrigerator and quickly and carefully put it over the top of the onions, pushing the edges down into the sides of the dishes. Brush the tops with the egg wash. This needs to be done quickly as the pastry will start to melt if you take too long. Sprinkle a little sea salt over the top, then return it to the oven and bake for a further 20–25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.

4. Remove the tarts from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes. Put an upside-down plate the size of the dish on top of the first tart and, holding both the plate and dish, flip it over to unmould the tart onto the plate. Crumble the goat’s cheese over the top of the tart and sprinkle with the black onion seeds. Repeat with the remaining tarts. 5 Toss the pea shoots with the extra virgin olive oil in a small bowl, then season with salt and pepper. Serve the tarts as the cheese just starts to melt, with the pea shoot salad served separately on the side.

Pork Loin with Mushrooms, Figs and Chestnuts

Pork Loin with Mushrooms, Figs & Chestnuts

Serves 4 | Preparation time 20 minutes, plus making the stock | Cooking time 20 minutes


4 pork tenderloin fillets, about 150g/51/2oz each, trimmed
80g/23/4oz unsalted butter
2 tbsp sunflower oil
200g/7oz mixed wild or cultivated mushrooms
12 cooked whole chestnuts
4 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 medium-firm figs, quartered
200ml/7fl oz/scant
1 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp chopped chives
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Boiled rice (optional), to serve


1. Season the pork fillets with pepper, then tightly wrap each one in cling film (plastic wrap). Twist and secure each end with a knot, pushing out any air. Put a large saucepan of water on to simmer, with a steamer insert on top. Put the pork parcels in the steamer, turn the heat down to low, cover and cook for 12 minutes, then remove and leave to rest for 1 minute until cool enough to handle. Remove the cling film and pat the pork dry with paper towel.

2. Heat a frying pan (skillet) over a medium-high heat. Add 20g/3/4oz of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the oil and when the butter is foaming, add the pork and cook for 3–4 minutes, turning occasionally, until browned all over. The pork should still be slightly pink in the centre, which is perfect. (Alternatively, brown in an oven-proof frying pan as above, instead of steaming, then transfer the pork to an oven preheated to 140°C/275°F/Gas 1 for 7–9 minutes. Remove and rest for 1 minute.)

3. While the pork is cooking, heat 20g/3/4oz of the butter and the remaining oil in a frying pan (skillet) over a medium-high heat. When the butter is foaming, add the mushrooms and fry for 2 minutes until they have released all their juices and are golden. Add the chestnuts and cook for 2 minutes. Add the sherry vinegar and deglaze the pan by stirring to remove any caramelised bits stuck to the bottom. Add the figs, pour in the stock and cook for 3–4 minutes until reduced by one quarter, then add the remaining butter. Cook for a further 2 minutes until the sauce has reduced and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste and stir in the chives.

4. Cut each pork fillet into diagonal slices and spoon the mushroom mixture over the top before serving with rice, if you like.

Smoked Duck and Lentils with Lavender

Smoked Duck & Lentils with Lavender

Serves 4 | Preparation time 20 minutes | Cooking time 35 minutes


For the crystallised orange

1 large orange, washed and scrubbed
2 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar

For the smoked duck

100g/31/2oz/1/2 cup basmati rice
3 tbsp green tea
1 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
2 small lavender sprigs
1 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
2 duck breasts, about 200g/7oz each
1 tbsp clear honey
A few chervil leaves

For the lentils

200g/7oz/1 cup Puy lentils, picked over and rinsed
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves
1 bouquet garni, made with 1 thyme sprig and 1 parsley sprig, tied together with kitchen string
50g/13/4oz unsalted butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


You can hot-smoke your duck at home or use a cold-smoked, air-dried duck, sliced and served as a salad with the hot lentils. Either way, using corn-fed, free-range birds will give the best results. I enjoy both and usually decide depending on the weather, but these flavour combinations always work well.

1. To crystallise the orange zest, pare the zest from the orange into fine strips using a peeler or small, sharp knife, taking care to cut away the pith. Put the zest in a small saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Remove from the heat, drain, refresh under cold water, then drain again. Repeat this blanching process.

2. Return the zest to the pan over a low heat and add the sugar and 3 tablespoons of water, stirring until dissolved. Raise the heat to medium and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low and simmer for 4–5 minutes, or until the zest becomes transparent. Remove from the heat and leave the strips to cool in the syrup.

3. Put a large piece of kitchen foil, shiny-side down, in the bottom of a wok or steamer. Add the rice, tea, sugar and 1 lavender sprig, and drizzle with the rapeseed (canola) oil. Cover with a wire rack or steamer insert and lid, and put over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the mixture starts to smoke. Quickly put the duck breasts inside, cover with kitchen foil to help seal the duck, then put the lid on, turn the heat to low and smoke for 5 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, put the lentils in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil, then skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Add the onion, cloves and bouquet garni, turn the heat down to low and simmer for 5–7 minutes until only just tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then strain, discarding the flavourings.

5. When the duck is almost ready, heat a non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium heat. Turn off the heat under the smoker and lift out the duck. Put the duck, skin-side down, in the frying pan and cook for 4–5 minutes. Flip the duck over, brush the skin with the honey and sprinkle over a little of the remaining lavender, then cook for 5 minutes. Lift out, cover with foil and leave to rest.

6. Heat a non-stick frying pan (skillet) until hot, add the butter and lentils and stir-fry for a few minutes until hot. 7 Cut the duck into chunks and serve on top of the lentils, sprinkled with the orange zest strips with a little of the syrup, the chervil leaves and a pinch more lavender.

Spiced Autumn Fruits with Pan-Fried Brioche

Spiced Autumn Fruits with Panfried Brioche

Serves 4 | Preparation time 15 minutes | Cooking time 10 minutes


4 Victoria plums, halved and stones removed
4 greengages, halved and stones removed
1 yellow peach, quartered and stone removed
1 nectarine, quartered and stone removed
2 figs, quartered
75g/21/2oz/heaped 1⁄3 cup light soft brown sugar
2 small cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
generous 4 tbsp Drambuie
juice of 1/2 lime
2 large eggs
4 slices of brioche loaf, about 1.5cm/5/8 in thick
50g/13/4oz unsalted butter
Vanilla ice cream, to serve


I’ve chosen my favourite fruits for this recipe – including yellow peaches, which I love – but be adventurous as it’s a great way of using up any surplus stone fruits or apples or pears you may have. You can also use vanilla instead of star anise, or even black pepper to substitute for the cinnamon, but use them with care to avoid overpowering the fruit. I like to use Drambuie but you can use whisky instead, if you like.

1. Heat a large, non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium-high heat. Add the fruit in a single layer, cut-side down, and cook for 1 minute. Sprinkle one-third of the sugar over the top, add the cinnamon and star anise, then continue to cook for 3–4 minutes until the fruits start to release their juices and soften slightly; they should still keep their shape.

2. Pour the Drambuie into the pan and immediately set it alight (it should burn for a few seconds), then turn the heat down to low so some of the Drambuie remains in the pan and cook for a further 1–2 minutes, taking care not to let the fruit soften too much. Stir in the lime juice and remove from the heat. Cover the pan to keep the fruit nice and warm while you cook the brioche.

3. Beat the eggs with the remaining sugar in a large, shallow bowl until thick and creamy. Dip each side of the brioche briefly into the egg mixture until just coated, then leave to one side.

4. Heat a second large, non-stick frying pan (skillet) over a medium-high heat. Add the butter and when foaming, add the brioche and cook for a few minutes on each side until just golden brown and slightly crisp. Serve with the fruits and juice spooned over the top and with vanilla ice cream.

Extracted from French Countryside Cooking by Daniel Galmiche (Nourish). Available to purchase at any good book retailer.

From France Today magazine

Lead photo credit : Red Onion Tarte Tatin with Goats' Cheese

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