Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Potée Champenoise (French Stew) with Best-Ever Gluten-free Cornbread

We have a good friend who is quite skilled as a culinary artist. He regularly shares that the Italians are the ones who taught the French to cook. I was curious about this so I decided to do a little research of my own. I have never known Dr. Herb to be wrong on matters of the intellect, and here is another case in point. It turns out that the Italians did, in deed, have the highest level of influence upon French cuisine according to what is recorded. 

It seems that French cuisine received  its first infusion of Italian influence when the Medici family's Ms. Catherine married France's King Henry II in the sixteenth century, introducing, as well her Italian-influenced cuisine and methods to the French court. Later, yet another Medici married another French king, and lavish upon lavish meal later, we have the wonderful fusion known today as French cuisine and a style associated with such presentation and display that a French dinner has often been referred to as the likeness of "theatre".

Potee Champenoise must be the only dish in recorded history to which I have added no salt. I caution you, do not...there is no need. And though corn bread is hardly an offering on French table, it complements wonderfully this dish and prepares one, should they be so inclined, to have on-hand one of the best corn bread recipes I've ever tasted, gluten-free or otherwise!

Bon appetit!

Potée Champenoise (French Stew)

1 # organic gluten-free black forest ham, chopped
1 tablespoon organic olive oil
1 organic onion, chopped
2 T. organic garlic, minced
4 oz. prosciutto end, chopped
4 large organic carrots, chopped
4 organic turnips, cubed
1 bouquet garni of fresh organic herbs - thyme, rosemary, sage, lavender, bay, cloves
½ c. dry white wine 
water to cover
1 organic cabbage, thinly sliced
1 # French fingerling potatoes, sliced
1 pound gluten-free sausage**
1 teaspoon black ground pepper

*If you are able to find a gluten-free ham hock, that would be preferable. They are available at PPC Natural Markets in the Seattle-area.
**I used Andouille for this recipe; however, Whole Foods Market has an extensive selection of house-made gluten-free sausages which I highly recommend.
In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil on medium heat and saute the onions and garlic for several minutes. Add the prosciutto ends and saute, stirring occasionally, for about five minutes. Add the black forest ham (or ham hock), carrots, turnips, pepper and the bouquet garni. Stir in the white wine and allow to come to a nice boil. Add enough water to cover the ingredients, then bring to a boil once again. Turn the flame down to a simmer and allow to brew for about 1-1/2 hours, stirring here and there. If the water lever gets too low, add a bit more, but be mindful that you want a stew rather than a soup. (I did not see the need to add any additional liquid.)
Once the stew has cooked for the allotted time, incorporate the cabbage, potatoes and sausage (sliced). It may seem difficult to maneuver your spoon through initially, but at the cabbage cooks, more liquid will be released into the stew. I advise refraining for adding any additional moisture.  Cover but stir frequently; allow to simmer for about 1-1/2 hours more.  often. 
Best-Ever Gluten-free Cornbread
2/3 c. gluten-free hemp milk
1 T. organic apple cider vinegar
½ c. gluten-free millet  flour
¼ c. gluten-free sweet sorghum flour
1/2 c. gluten-free organic polenta, uncooked
1/2 c. gluten-free yellow corn flour
2 t. gluten-free and aluminum-free baking powder
1 t. gluten-free baking soda
3/4 t. organic xanthan gum
1 t. course sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 c. organic coconut oil, plus enough to coat pan
1/3 c. organic fair-trade sugar
2 large organic eggs
1 t. gluten-free pure vanilla

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly coat a 7 x 4 x 3-inch loaf pan with coconut oil.
Pour the hemp milk and apple cider vinegar together in a a small bowl. Set aside. 
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the gluten-free flours, polenta, cornflour, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, and salt. Melt the coconut oil. Combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a small bowl, mix gently, and stir them into the dry ingredients. Incorporate the hemp-milk/apple cider vinegar mixture into the base batter and mix with a light touch until well combined.
Pour the batter into the coconut-coated pan, spread evenly and sprinkle with sea salt atop. Bake the cornbread on the center rack for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the loaf. Allow to rest for 15 to 20 minutes before removing from the loaf pan. Gently insert a knife along the edges of the loaf, then release, inverting onto a serving platter. 

Be sure to store any leftovers in a sealed container.


copyright 2010 Taylor Donovan


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