Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Grand-Mère (Garnish of bacon, onions, mushrooms, and potatoes)

The garnish called Grand-mère, is a medly of bacon, mushrooms, potatoes, and onions that goes well with braised meat such as chicken or beef. I found out after attempting this recipe that in order to cook the medly properly, you should prepare each ingredient separately and blend them in the end. Instead I used a recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking for Potatoes Sautéed in Butter and threw in the remaining ingredients of bacon, mushrooms, and onions in the middle. Although it worked, I think the patient path would give better results.

Recipe adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking

Serves 4-6

1 pound (2½ to 3 cups) “boiling” potatoes or new potatoes, tournéed 2 to 2½ inches long and 1 to 1¼ inches at their widest diameter
1½ to 2 tablespoons clarified butter or 1 tablespoon butter and ½ tablespoon olive oil, more if needed
⅛ teaspoon salt
½ pound bacon, blanched and cut
½ pound (about 2 cups) mushrooms, diced
2 medium onions (about 2 cups), diced
1 to 1½ tablespoons butter, softened
1 to 1½ tablespoons parsley, chives, or fresh tarragon, or a mixture of fresh green herbs
big pinch of pepper

Blanch the bacon in simmering water for 10 minutes to remove the smokiness.
Peel the potatoes, and tournée, 2 to 2½ inches long and 1 to 1¼ inches at their widest diameter. If you cut them smoothly, they will roll around easily and color evenly when sautéed. Make sure the potatoes are dry before cooking.

Add the fat (either clarified butter or butter and oil) so that it films the pan by 1/16 inch and set over moderately high heat. (Don’t add too much oil or it will taste oily.) When hot, put the potatoes into the skillet. Leave them for 2 minutes. Shake the skillet back and forth to roll the potatoes and to sear them on another side for 2 minutes. Continue for 4-5 minutes more. The potatoes should be a pale golden color all over.

Season the potatoes with salt and roll them again in the skillet.

Add the mushrooms, bacon, and onions.

Lower heat, cover the skillet, and cook the potatoes for about 15 minutes, shaking them every 3-4 minutes so that they don't stick to the skillet and color evenly.

When they are done, pour out the fat.

If you're holding the garnish for later, set cover askew to allow for air circulation, and place skillet on low heat. The potatoes can be kept for about half an hour. Just before serving, reheat just to sizzling hot.

Off heat, add the butter and herbs, season with pepper.

Tasting Notes

I couldn't get this recipe right. It tasted oily the first time I made it, and bland the next time. After re-heating it to serve alongside a steak, I crisped it up in a skillet. This helped.

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Running total: $51.90 + $9.20 = $61.10

Butter used so far: 9 tablespoons