Thursday, September 1, 2011

Arm Chair Dining, Le Bristol and Artichoke Foie Gras Stuffed Pasta with Parmesan and Truffle Sauce.

I don’t know about you, but I am not a jetsetter.  I don’t fly off to foreign lands to eat at 5 star restaurants every week, few of us do.  But through the wonders of the blogosphere, you can tag along with others when they splurge on great meals and share what they have eaten… often with photos.

For years, I have read descriptions of dishes and tried to capture them without the benefit of a recipe.  My results, as you can imagine, have been inconsistent.  Some are real dogs but, surprisingly, some are gems. 

I have often tried to remake dishes I have eaten, haven’t you?  It’s easier to do when you taste it yourself and can guess at the hidden secret bits or charm the waiter into telling you (“What is that divine flavor???”).  Doing it blind is more difficult but the result is so satisfying when it works. Makes you feel like an alchemist and psychic all at once.

For me, the description of ingredients is what gets me going, even more than photos do.  I imagine the flavors and then set about to recreate them.

I found the blog Luxeat  last winter when I was researching a famous restaurant in Kyoto.  The woman that runs this blog eats all over the world all the time and shares her discoveries ... she must live in an airplane!  Recently, she wrote about Le Bristol in Paris and described a dish that I just had to try.  The result was one of the best things I’ve ever made.

Hotel le Bristol  is a great Parisian hotel with a long history. Wikipedia tells me that it all began in 1758 with the opening of the Place de Concorde in Paris.  A hotel was built at #12 Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré  in the 18th century that became the Vogüé Hotel in 1829.

Frederick Augustus Hervey

In 1925, the hotel became the Hotel le Bristol, named after Frederick Augustus Hervey, the 4th Earl of Bristol   (1730-1803) –– a Brit known as “Earl Bishop” who George III called “that wicked prelate”.  He was a great art collector, filthy rich and possessed of strong opinions that nearly got him arrested.  He actually believed religious factions should try to get along, imagine that?  When he died, members of many faiths kicked in to buy a monument, an extraordinary gesture.  To avoid trouble, he left his houses in Derry, Northern Ireland and the family estate of Ickworth in Suffolk and went to Europe to travel and collect art.  He was a collector with a fine nuanced eye and a boldly individual dresser as well as a great traveler.

Today it is a beautiful grand dame of a hotel.

Within Hotel le Bristol’s walls is a restaurant, a really spectacular restaurant.

These days, Le Bristol Restaurant is helmed by Eric Frechon . The restaurant was awarded 3 stars in 2008 and is one of Nicolas Sarkozy’s favorite spots (Freshon also got a Legion d’Honneur in 2008).  One look at the menu  and you can see why.  There are a million things that I want to try when I read it.  Frechon is a superlative chef. His new book Eric Freshon looks wonderful. Here’s hoping they release it in English soon.
Poularde de Bresse Cuite en Vessie, although a whole chicken is cooked within, they only serve the boneless,
 skinless breast cut from the bird at tableside with the truffled juices.

What I made was one of Frechon’s signature dishes (another one is his 240 € for 2 Poularde de Bresse Cuite en Vessie –– chicken in pig’s bladder with truffles – loved by Marco Pierre White and invented by the papa of modern French food, La Pyramide’s Ferdinand Point). 

I chose to re-interprete his 85€ appetizer –– Macaronis farcis truffe noire, artichaut et foie gras de canard, gratinés au vieux parmesan –– a pasta stuffed with foie gras, artichoke and truffles with 2 sauces.  WOW~
 Macaronis farcis truffe noire, artichaut et foie gras de canard, gratinés au vieux parmesan  Le Bristol photo

After I made it, I found the French blog  La Table des Chefs that had the recipe for the dish from Frechon’s cookbook. As you can imagine, there were some differences. The topping for the pasta was a Mornay sauce instead of the cream/butter glaze with the cheese that I used. Also, I made the pasta and made larger rolls since I wanted a thinner, more luxurious egg dough for this dish.  I didn’t have truffles on hand (it being August and all) so used truffle butter and creamy truffle scented foie gras from D’Artagnan that I had in the freezer to give me the truffle flavor I craved.

I would be remiss if I didn’t pause to relate a little back-story about foie gras for you –– it’s a compelling one.

Quick overview: It is believed the whole process began in Egypt over 4000 years ago when the observant Egyptians noticed that geese captured just before they left on their migration had big fat delicious livers from gorging themselves. The ruling class (surprise!) decided they wanted to enjoy them all year round so their farmers began to overfeed their domestic geese.  Some feel Jews were responsible for the gavage force-feeding technique and then spread it throughout Europe as they migrated.  Dan Barber posited this occurred since they wanted an alternative to schmaltz as they couldn’t eat pork fat.  I read elsewhere that big fat geese were the Jewish alternative to pork.  It was thought the Greeks brought the idea to Rome.  The Romans loved foie gras, and fattened their geese with figs, hence the name Jecur{liver}Ficatum{from fig} that slowly evolved to only ficatum then proceeded to fegato in Italian (fegato d’oca) becoming foye (I had trouble finding foie in la Varenne because it was spelled foye) and finally foie in French.

The 1st AD Roman, Apicius  had a recipe for foie gras, Le Viandier de Taillevent and Le Menagier de Paris from the 14th century in France had recipes for the lovely liver.  The Renaissance was all about rediscovering
the glory of the classics in so many ways so 16th century Italian chef Bartolomeo Scappi  mentions it in his 1570 cookbook,  L’Opera (floured, sliced and sautéed with a sugar and orange sauce…mmmm).

As seen above, La Varenne has quite a few recipes for it in the 17th century (*I translated them at the end of the post) and Brillat-Savarin , Careme  and his pupil Gouffé  among others, used it with abandon in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Foie gras with artichoke hearts and truffle is a classic combination in French cuisine (often used with filet mignon as in Escoffier’s  Tournedos Lili) as are the sauces used… Frechon just turned a classic garnish on its ear and made it into a brilliant filling… both honoring and elevating the original inspiration… what we all hope to do when we play with recipes!

The result was insane.  I was crazy about it.  Honestly, I had just made it for myself because I had the ingredients and then had to share with you.  The flavor, the texture…  well, it should be illegal, it’s that good.

PS:  For some reason I never had thought about before, most of the time when one speaks of foie gras it is no longer foie gras d’oie, but is now–– foie gras de canard –– duck.  When I thought of foie gras up through the 80’s it was always goose, then wham, duck!  I read the change began in the 50’s when it was discovered it was easier and therefore cheaper to use ducks. An article in the NYT  said that geese are harder to feed and their necks are more delicate. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I had goose liver, but Schlitz Goose Farm in South Dakota has fat goose liver that isn’t force-fed (a very expensive, labor intensive process) for a great price that I am looking forward to trying.

That said –– I use duck liver here.

Macaronis farcis truffe noire, artichaut et foie gras de canard, gratinés au vieux parmesan inspired by Bristol Restaurant (Artichoke, Foie Gras and Truffle Stuffed Pasta) serves 2-4

1/2 to 3/4 roll of D'Artagnan medallion of foie gras with truffle
2 artichokes or frozen artichoke hearts (about 1/2 c chopped)
2 pinches of salt
1 recipe pasta* or 4 lasagna noodles, or 8 cannelloni or manicotti--cooked
3/4 c cream
3/4 c chicken stock
¼ t onion powder
¼ t celery salt
pinch of pepper
2 T madeira ( I used Rare Wine Co. Boston Bual)
¼ c good imported parmesan

herbs for garnish

Make a recipe for pasta.  You will only need 1/3 of it, but have a bit extra for tearing (freeze the rest) or use bought lasagna noodles. Ideally, the noodles are 4-5" wide and 8-9" long. Cook 8 pieces and reserve.

Steam the artichokes until tender.  Scrape the tender flesh from the leaves and remove the hearts.  If this is too big a pain for you, get another artichoke or 2 and just use the heart or use frozen artichoke hearts. If you used frozen, use just the bottoms and saute them in a bit of butter to release some of the water or gently squeeze them.  Do not use canned hearts for this.  Chop all the artichoke pieces fairly small and reserve.


Warm the demi-glace, reducing till slightly thickened, add the Madeira.  Remove from the heat and add 2T truffle butter and reserve.

Cook the cream and chicken stock with the onion powder, celery salt and pepper till thickened slightly and reserve.

To complete dish:

Warm 2 T truffle butter in an ovenproof skillet.

Lay out  the pasta sheets on a counter. If they are cold, warm them for a moment in boiling water. Combine the artichoke and foie gras and 2 pinches of salt (decide the proportions for yourself you may like more foie gras to artichoke or evenly mixed). Roll up about 2 T of artichoke, foie gras mixture like a cigar.   Lay in the buttered skillet, rolling the rolls gently in the truffle butter. If they are cold, warm them through as the broiler will not heat them completely.  Brush with cream and sprinkle with the cheese and broil for a few minutes until browned on top.

Warm the sauces if necessary, pour on each plate and top with the pasta and garnish with herbs.

Pasta Dough 

1 cup all-purpose flour  plus 2 T semolina 
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon milk

Mix together and knead for 5 minutes till elastic… you may need more flour to do this.   Let rest for 1 hour then put through the pasta machine in 3 parts.  You will only need one for this recipe.  Put that through on the lowest level so it is thin and lovely.

Recipe from  Eric Frechon’s cookbook via La Table de Chefs

- 2 large pieces of macaroni 'Candele' 
- 2 liters chicken stock
Stuffing macaroni 
- 4 artichokes 
- 1 lemon 
- 100 g flour 
- 50 grams of black truffles (or mushrooms) 
- 100 g of foie gras 
- Salt and pepper
The Mornay 
- 20 g unsalted butter 
- 20 g flour 
- 200 g milk 
- 10 cl truffle juice (or provide 180 g of frozen mushrooms) 
- 150 g of emmental grated 
- 50 g aged parmesan (to brown) 
- Salt and pepper
Sauce Supreme 
- 25 cl of chicken stock 
- 20 cl whipping cream
Truffled chicken jus 
- 20 cl of jus chicken (demiglas, stock?) 
- 2.5 cl truffle juice 
- 40 g chips truffles (or mushrooms)
- 4 arugula leaves 
- 4 leaves of lettuce
Artichokes, foie gras, truffles / mushrooms
Trim the artichokes to the bottom, leaving the choke, and plunge them into a container of water + juice of half a lemon. 
Prepare a large pot with 2 liters of water and mix in the flour, salt. 
Add the juice of the remaining half of the lemon. 
Cook the artichokes for 40 minutes at low heat, then cool in pan juices.
While you cook the artichoke hearts, cut foie gras into small cubes. Keep it cool foie gras to this point it will be easier with a good foie gras rigide. Réserve and cool. 
Finely chop the truffle / porcini. Keep refrigerated. 
When the artichokes have cooled, remove the chokes and cut into small cubes (5mm). 
Blend hearts, truffles / mushrooms, foie gras. 
Put in a pastry bag with an open socket closest to the inside diameter of macaroni.
Cooking the macaroni
The Candele are 50 cm long, therefore no question of cooking without cutting. 
In the end we should have sections of 8 cm, one half of Candele is 25 cm, then 3 macaroni, so I cut in two for cooking. 
It should be cooked horizontally in 
2 liters of chicken stock for 5 minutes.
Sauce Mornay
By following the recipe I got a fairly thick sauce, too much for my taste, which inflates in the oven and gives a bumpy appearance which does not match the aesthetics of the recipe prepared by the chef. I suggest you follow this recipe and thin with milk for a smoother sauce.
Melt the butter in a saucepan. 
Add flour and cook gently for 2 minutes. 
Add cold milk, mix well. 
Cook 5 minutes over low heat, stirring. 
Add the truffle juice / ceps. 
Add the grated parmesan cheese. 
Keep in a water bath.
Sauce Supreme
Reduce the chicken stock with cream until thick.
Keep in a water bath.
Truffled chicken jus
Prepare the jus in a saucepan. 
Add chips and truffle / porcini mushrooms and juice. 
Reduce until thickened then 
put in a water bath.
Manufacture of macaroni
Remove Candele sections of 8cm long from liquid, then stuff with the preparation of artichoke. It's long, difficult but doable. 
Place macaroni in groups of three on a lightly oiled pan. 
Pour a thin layer of Mornay over them. 
Sprinkle with grated aged Parmesan. 
Put in a 180º oven to warm the center of the macaroni. 
When the cheese begins to melt, put under the broiler (or turn oven up to 220º).
Transfer 3 macaroni to a warm plate. 
Divide into three point triangle  the truffle juice and sauce supreme (see photos below). 
Add three leaves of lettuce and arugula.


foye gras in ragout

choisissez-les plus gras & les plus blonds, nettoyez-les &; jettez dans l'eau chaude pour ôter l'amertume, mais les tirez aussi-tost, étans essuyez passez les par la poële avec beurre ou sain-doux &; faites mitonner avec peur de bouillon, persil, & siboule entiere, étans cuits, ostez la siboule, &; servez la sauce bien liée, vous y pouvez mettre truffes, champignons &; asperges

 Foie Gras Ragout
choose the fattest and the most fair, clean & throw in warm water to remove the bitterness, then sauté with butter or lard, to seal.  go wipe the pan & simmer broth, parsley, & green onion, when cooked remove the green onion, and serve the sauce well connected, you can put truffles, mushrooms &; asparagus

foye gras sur le gril

Mettez sur le gril, &; le poudrez de mie de pain & and de sel, etant rosti, jettez un jus de citron par dessus &; servez

foie gras on the grill

Put on the grill, and sprinkle the bread crumbs and salt &, being browned, take  lemon juice on top &; serve

foie gras cuit dans les cendres

il faut le barder de lard, & le bien assaisonner de sel, poivre, clou batu &; un bouquet fort petit, puis l'enveloppez avec quatre ou cinq feuilles de papier, & le mettre cuire dans les cendres comme un coing.  Etant cuit, prenez garde de perdre la sauce en le remuant, ostez les  feuilles de dessus, & le servez avec celles de dessous si vous voulez, ou sur une assiete.

foie gras cooked in the ashes

Take slices of bacon, and season well with salt, pepper, & a bunch cloves beaten very small, then wrap with four or five sheets of paper, and put cooked in the ashes like a quince. Being cooked, beware of losing the sauce by stirring, remove leaves above, and serve it with those below if you wish, or on a plate.
If any of you can improve the translation, be my guest!!!

Thanks to Gollum for hosting Foodie Friday!


Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Deana:
Oh,how we should love to taste this delicious dish, particularly within the confines of the Hotel Bristol restaurant. Our culinary skills are woefully inadequate to even contemplate creating such a diamond of a dish, but we do like foie gras which is freely available in Budapest and features on many restaurant menus.

A most informative post.

Tasty Trix said...

You are a genius. Have I mentioned that? I mean, while I 100% relate to trying to recreate dishes you've read about or had, I don't think I've attempted something this ambitious. Amazing!!!

Diane said...

I will not eat foie gras on principal, I feel sorry for the poor birds. For all that, your photo made my mouth water :-) Interesting post. Diane

La Table De Nana said...

Not only do you research everything so professionally..but the execution of your flawless:)
Not to mention the old world feeling of your photos.
You go to such work!

I thought foie gras was goose.(blush).my husband knew it was duck.
I for one..have had it done by a pro for us..and I don't like the pan seared foie gras at all..
I bet in a dish like would be different.My husband is just like me.. We just don't enjoy it...
I love to try and recreate recipes:).
I saw an ABourdain show on Foie Gras:) I must have dozed off or been distracted when they showed the actual ducks:)

Everyone has their own thoughts on eating foie gras.
I accept both.
The "gavage" is not used by all.

I saw another show on that:)
I just Googled and apparently I remembered well.
I hated seeing Gavage :(
But then again.. I hate seeing animals killed for our food..
I am rambling here..
Great post!!

I mean it..~
It had me researching..thinking.. etc.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

What heavenly morsels Deana! And I've always associated the French with foie gras so it's really interesting to read that the origins are actually Egyptian!

Lori Lynn said...

Hi Deana - I like your version better that the photo from La Table de Chef.
Such an interesting post.
P.S. I would definitely spring for the extra artichokes...

Lazaro Cooks said...

I know that girls blog. She eats at some the most amazing restaurants.

Fantastic rendition of this dish. Amazing flavor profile and posh ingredients list.

You've outdone yourself. If that's even possible.

Two enthusiastic thumbs up!

Magic of Spice said...

Beautifully done! I know the French site you mentioned but not the other blog, sounds like quite a bit of traveling going on. I love to re-create some of my favorite dinning finds as well, but you have done a spectacular job with this beauty :)
Hope you have a lovely weekend...

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

I am totally impressed, Deana! I think your version is so much better without the mornay. It thank that would have overpowered the rest of the ingredients.

I also am not a foie gras fan. I've had it a couple of times and it's just too rich for me. I love liver pates and terrines but just not foie gras on it's own. I'm sure in this recipe, it would be much more delicate and extremely enjoyable. Well done!

Anonymous said...

When we were in Paris last summer, Le Bristol Restaurant was actually our first choice, but unfortunately it was the end of July when a lot of these restaurants are closed. Maybe next time :) In the meantime, I am thrilled to see this fabulous appetizer, the pasta stuffed with artichoke and foie gras sounds amazing, your execution is flawless. Awesome!

myFudo said...

*drooling* Looks really great. Love your post, Nice blog, looks professional.

Sippity Sup said...

Of course it's a restaurant on my radar. But through your eyes it takes on a new dimension. GREG

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Wow. You are good.

First of all, your visits are a REAL TREAT for me, because you have a certain connection with my heart. You see what is go to the heart of the matter and I love what you said about putting all "....pettiness aside...." and JUST BEING KIND AND GENEROUS!! YES, YES.....and look at this post. Dearest, I can read your work anytime, and it always takes me to places I LONG TO SEE. I was fortunate to finally go to France about 9 years ago, with a detour in Italy. But it wasn't enough. MORE OF FRANCE, I NEED ENGLAND and other parts of Europe that you so elegantly include in your posts. The history you provide is just as delicious as these recipes. OMG that chicken....AND I EVEN got to see LE GAVAGE when in La Dordogne!!!! Those geese were super fat; I could have had a meal of goose meat...Tell me dearest, have you become published yet, or are there any prospects waiting in the wings? Your writing is impeccable, and your approach to food and history is original. Thank you for this feast for the intellect, the heart and BELLY!!! There is nothing like FRENCH CHICKEN! The taste is so different from (Perdue)!!!!!

Fondly, Anita

Sarah said...

It is fun to have such a stock of ingredients 'on hand'! I loved the foie gras when I was in Paris and it wasn't that expensive at a bistro. This dish is exquisite! And all your laborious research. You have such a curiosity.

tasteofbeirut said...

That is some dedication! You must be the MOST epicurean blogger in the world, bar none! I don't know anyone else who would go through all this trouble! I bet it was really worth it and cheaper than hopping on a plane to eat at Le Bristol, le Pré Catalan or any other of these fine establishments. That chicken de Bresse, mind you, cooked in this vessie (bladder?) is the most intriguing thing I have seen. When are you going to reproduce this Deana? Now I don't think we can get poulet de Bresse in the US but certainly there is an equivalent?

Laura@Silkroadgourmet said...

Hi Deana:

Wonderfully inventive post - agree with others that the Mornay would have been too stifling.

A couple of favorite parts - the history of foie gras in the ancient world - you are right about the Greeks and Arabs bringing this to Rome. Chances are many other ancient cultures (such as the Mesopotamians) knew of the process as well, either before the Egyptians, or as a result of contact with them after they invented the process.

Other issue I found interesting is that there seems to be a humane way to produce foie gras. I've never heard of that before - I hope they don't use drugs or hormones to grow the oversize organ (like rBST). Thanks for the link - will look into that.


Barbara said...

I'm familiar with Luxeat....such fun. What a lovely life. (I bet she's skinny too. Damn her.)
Le Bristol is indeed a gorgeous hotel. I've never eaten there, always going to my daughter's favorite haunts from the years she lived in Paris. But she's a foodie so I am going to suggest it when next I go with her.
Your dish is smashing, Deana. Exquisitely presented. I am not overly fond of foie gras, but when I took my granddaughter to Paris a couple years ago, she had it three days in a row and the results darn near ruined the rest of our trip! She looks askance at it now. :)

El said...

What an incredible restaurant. I've always found the hotel to be incredibly beautiful and want to stay there. Then, I see the prices and find somewhere else to stay. You did an amazing job with your macaroni!

Unknown said...

I've heard Ina Garden talk about Le Bristol. I looked it up before my trip but it was too expensive for us (as we were staying for a week). I learned they do an afternoon tea with fashion shows, I'd love to see that!
As for that bladder dish, I've seen someone eat it on tv. It was fascinating, but I wouldn't order it LOL
I LOVE that dish you made, it's so you: elegant in the extreme! Your husband is the luckiest man ever!
*kisses* HH

indieperfumes said...

Deana you are ambitious, skillful and single minded, great qualities to have when forging your way into the past while still firmly planted in the modern world. You continue to amaze me.

From the Kitchen said...

Could I just make a reservation at you table? I can only imagine that the conversation would be as delicious as the meal. I am tempted to try this dish. Perhaps on a cold winter's day. I'll have to check out the sources you've listed--which, by the way, is appreciated!!

Many years ago I saw a Czech movie called "Closely Watched Trains". What has remained in my mind was the very sensual forced feeding of geese.

Ah, you mentioned Michelle Bachman's statement. What a woman!! Your statement makes more sense but you aren't a presidential hopeful!!


Linda said...

Wow are really amazing!
How much fun it must be to have dinner at your house!
I adore your blog...
L~xo said...

I really like your recipes. There is a new platform where you can upload them and are seen with a design adapted to iPad. You can also link to your blog, get statistics... It is


Las elaboraciones con Foie grass deberían de estar presentes, por lo menos, en algún primero o segundo de una Carta de un restaurante, comnbinando su sabor con agrios sabores, por ejemplo.
En Galicia, destacamos el segundo plato de alcochofas con foie del restaurante El De Alberto en A Coruña, que podrás ver en
Un abrazo, desde la guía de restaurantes en A Coruña