Food and Wine of Loire Valley, Class 3 Part 2

Part 2 of our third cooking class in this series featured Chicken Fricassée Braised in Milk and Potato, Asparagus and Mushroom Gratin paired with a fabulous Sancerre, followed by Strawberry Sorbet and Rum Cake with real Champagne!

Chicken Fricassée Braised in Milk

The ‘Chicken Fricassée’ started by cutting up a whole chicken into eight pieces (video: How to cut up a chicken into eight pieces). The chicken pieces were dredged in flour, salt and pepper and then browned in a small amount of oil. After about five minutes per side, brandy was added and flamed. The chicken pieces were transferred to a casserole dish, and chopped shallots added to the remaining fat. Once the shallots were soft, sliced carrots were added and the fry pan deglazed with a cup of white wine. This was poured over the chicken pieces in the casserole, whole garlic cloves, reduced veal stock, milk, bay leaves and sage were added and the casserole was put in the oven.

Chicken Stew

the ‘Chicken Fricassée Braised in Milk‘ is a actually a rich tasty stew that I would definitely have again!

Potato, Asparagus and Mushroom Gratin

An interesting variety of mushrooms went into the Potato, Asparagus and Mushroom Gratin.

Loire Valley Cooking: a Selection of Mushrooms Other ingredients included onion, asparagus, garlic, thyme, chicken stock, wine, whipping cream, and a pinch of cayenne and nutmeg. This was a fancy French version of scalloped potatoes, with a lot of grated Gruyere cheese on top!

a tasty French version of Chicken Stew & Scalloped Potatoes

a tasty French version of Chicken Stew & Scalloped Potatoes

The wine chosen to accompany dinner was a 2007 Serge Laloue Sancerre Wine. Although this wine is quite common in France it is very hard to find in BC. A balanced clear red with strawberry notes, it went perfectly with the chicken.

Serge Laloue Sancerre Wine

Serge Laloue Sancerre Wine

Strawberry Sorbet, Rum Cake and Champagne

Chef Eric overdid himself in choosing the desserts for this class — we had two!  The first was a fresh strawberry and sparkling wine sorbet; the second was the Nantes’ classic rum and almond-infused cake served with a pricey bottle of real champagne. In actuality, I found the sorbet went well with the champagne but the rum cake was too sweet. At $65 I think I would just serve this champagne in beautiful antique glasses with perhaps some raspberries and blueberries floating in it, sort like this fantastic photo by one of the people I’m following on Flicker:

fresh strawberry sorbet in the making

Fresh strawberry and sparkling wine sorbet in the making.


Rum Cake

Rum Cake & Champagne

Moet & Chandon Champagne

Moet & Chandon Champagne

Class 1 of this series focussed on the Food & Wine of the Loire Valley.

Class 1 Part 1:  featuring Frog’s Leg Soup, followed by two excellent appetizers: one of scallops served in the shell and the other of pork belly nibbles with mustard sauce.
Class 1 Part 2:  a main course of light salad with hazelnut-crusted goat cheese plus the dessert of cookies with homemade Cointreau ice cream.

Class 2 of this series moved north and slightly east to the Food & Wine of the Province of Champagne.

Class 2 Part 1: appetizers of Belgian endives in a Béchamel sauce and savoury eclairs with smoked salmon, with Champagne, the real thing!
Class 2 Part 2: a main course of Stuffed Trout and Spelt Risotto with Biscuits de Rose de Reims for dessert, and more wine of course!

Class 3 of this series covered a variety of dishes from both the Loire Valley and Champagne.

Class 3 Part 1: salmon, corn and leek chowder paired with Pouilly-Fumé, followed by a popular French brasserie appetizer of filo stuffed with Loire Valley cheese and prosciutto, and served with a Rosé Anjou.

Chef Eric posts many of his recipes on his website:


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