Cardon de Noel is a traditional vegetable dish for Christmas in Provence. You can find some during the Holiday season in the Italian markets like Mona Lisa ( Cardone ) Italian usually just fry them but we make them in a light cream sauce . The delicate flavor tastes like artichoke bottoms and pair very well with truffles . It is simply delicious and I wish I could find some year round ! Here is the way to prepare them ...not complicated but the preparation on the vegetable is a bit labor intensive . The best would be to find super fresh young cardone , as white as possible ( that makes it easier to clean ) but it's not always the case ...They look like big celery stalks but are a bit "furry" and more grey .
You have to remove all the threads like for celery ....and there are always a lot ! Wear gloves as it will stain your hands . Put in a bucket of cold water with a lemon juice or the cardone will turn black .
In a large pot , boil water ; salt and sift in a large tablespoon of flour without making lumps. This will whiten the cardon as it cooks . Boil slowly for about an hour or until soft and tender . You probably will have to ad some water from time to time .
Pierre is just over looking my job today !
Strain in a colander ...this can all be done in advance and put in the fridge to keep straining . The day you want to eat it just a make a light consistency white sauce or "bechamel sauce " This is the most basic of all french sauces ....but I remember it took me a year to master when I was 18 and just moved out of my parent's home and in with Pascal my husband ....some 30 years ago now ! Since then I never weigh or measure anything and always just make a perfect bechamel ( put a good chunk of butter in a sauce pan , when bubbly ad the flour and "foam " to make a "roux" ...ad more flour as needed to thicken your roux and your sauce later ; ad milk and whisk non stop , keep adding milk until reach the right consistency , then ad a small container of whipping cream .) For this recipe you want it to be pretty liquid like an "english cream " and you want to make more than enough so your vegetable is swimming in the sauce because as you bake it in the oven it will thicken and reduce . I do not put any cheese or other seasoning as it kill the delicate flavor ....only a good shaved truffle is perfect addition . bake for 30mns or so until gold on top and serve .This dish goes perfectly with any poultry . Hope you like it !
This is a traditional recipe from Provence with bold mediterranean flavors. It's also very healthy and delicious !
This recipe is normally made with rabbit...a common meat in France , very lean and tasty. Here it is hard to come by rabbit but I found some at Siesel meat market in Bay park near Morena Bvd in their frozen section. ( 1 rabbit cut into parts : legs, trunk in 2 or 3 pieces, liver...will serve 6 people ) You can also use chicken thighs ( skinless ), breast would be too dry. ( count maybe 2 thighs per person )
In a cast iron pot , saute the meat in olive oil until brown. Ad , 4-6 thin slices of pancetta , 2 large onions chopped in cubes, 1 shallot chopped and toss until onions are soft and gold . Pour in 1/2 a bottle of white wine ( it should not cover the meat entirely but come half way ) Do Not Salt or pepper ( a lot in the pancetta ) , cover and simmer for about 1 hour. There should always be some liquid but it is not a liquidy stew...more like a "civet " . In a pan , saute 1 pack of small white button mushrooms and 1 pack of small crimini mushrooms washed and cut into 4 pieces . Cook until all the water has evaporate. Set aside. Remove the pit of some black olives and cut in small pieces ( but not chopped) , set aside. When the meat is tender ad the mushrooms and olives, turn a few times and remove from the stove to let cool down over night. This is much better the next day ....and this way you can prepare it in advance. The following day ; just re heat the stew ; when hot ad 80grs of Black Tapenade ( about 1 jar ) and serve with some fresh linguine or some baked potatoes with bay leaves : Cut the potatoes so you can insert some bay leaves ( do not cut the potatoes all the way so they stay together) , 2 cuts per potatoe.
Display in a baking dish, ad a few spoons of chicken broth at the bottom, drizzel with olive oil, salt. Bake in the oven 350F for a bout 1 hour or until cooked. ( for a faster version , cover and cook in the microwave for 10mns then put in the oven for the finishing crispness.
Enjoy it !