Saturday, November 13, 2021

Lamproie – Lamprey. The Lamprey in French Cuisine.

from
Behind the French Menu
by
Bryan G. Newman 
behindthefrenchmenu@gmail.com


A member of the lamprey family.
Photograph courtesy of AANA, Agence de l’Alimentation Nouvelle Aquitaine

Lamproie de Rivière Européene, the River Lamprey and the Lamproie Marine or Lamproie de Mer, the Sea Lamprey   -  The French name lamproie, like lamprey in English, covers all members of the lamprey family and there are quite a number of members.  However, in France, one of the two noted above will be on your menu. The lamprey is a strange and jawless animal, neither a true fish nor an eel. Lampreys are a unique and separate family of freshwater and seawater animals.


Lamproie au Citron et au Lard
Lamprey with lemon and bacon
Photograph and recipe courtesy of Marie Claire Cuisine et Vins

Lamproie à la Bordelaise – Lamprey prepared in the manner of Bordeaux; this is the most famous of all French lamprey recipes, and its origins go back to the middle ages. The lamprey is cooked with leeks, ham, onions, a red Bordeaux wine, and some of the lamprey’s own blood. Lampreys were and are considered a delicacy and depending on the area where this dish is served Cognac or Armagnac will be added for flavor. This is a recipe that takes lots of preparation, and as so it is quite an expensive dish.


Lamproie à la Bordelaise
The lamprey used in this dish is the Lamproie de Rivière Européene also called the Lamproie Fluviatile, Lamprillon or Flûte.
Photograph courtesy of AANA, Agence de l’Alimentation Nouvelle Aquitaine

Lamproie à la Nantaise  - Lamprey in the manner of the city of Nantes. River Lamprey with red wine, button mushrooms and prunes. Nantes is the prefecture, the capital, of the department of Loire-Atlantique and the region of the Pays de Loire. It is built on both banks of the River Loire and while it is a large city it is regularly voted the best city in France to live and work in.


Lamproie à la Nantaise
Photograph and recipe courtesy of Cuisine Actuelle.

Lamproie au Vin Blanc – This dish highlights lamprey and the Vouvray white wine made with Chenin Blanc grapes that grow along the banks of the Loire River. Also in the recipe will be Armagnac, Bayonne ham, Lardons, and a touch of the Piment d’Espelette pepper.


Lamproie au Vin Blanc
Lamprey with white wine
Photograph and recipe courtesy of Femme Actuelle
 

The European river lamprey is mostly caught when they reach 35 cm (14“)  long.  They are found along the Atlantic coasts of Europe, including the UK and Ireland, as well as the French and Italian Mediterranean coasts. The sea lamprey is larger, reaching 60cm (28“) or more. Sea Lampreys are caught when they return to the rivers to spawn.


The European River Lamprey
Photograph courtesy of the Guardian and Handout

Fête de la Lamproie
The Lamprey Fete in Saint-Terre.

There is an annual lamprey festival held in the village of  Sainte-Terre close to the Dordogne River. The Fete is held annually, usually on the third weekend in April and organized by the Confrérie de la Lamproie, Saint-Terre, the Brotherhood of the Lamprey in Sainte-Terre.   During the fete, there are cookery workshops, a flea market, funfair, and sports, with a dinner dance on the Saturday evening and Sunday noon.


Confrérie de la Lamproie, Saint-Terre,
Members of the Brotherhood of the Lamprey in Sainte-Terre.
Photograph courtesy of the Sudouest

Sainte-Terre is close to the city of Libourne the commercial hub of Bordeaux’s Right Bank wine region.  The Libournais wine region includes the appellations of Pomerol and Saint Émilion.

Lamprey traditions in the UK

According to an article in The Guardian, it was traditional for Gloucester to send a Christmas lamprey pie to the British monarch until 1836 when the practice was discontinued, except for coronations and jubilees. In 2012 a pie was sent to Queen Elizabeth II to mark her Diamond Jubilee but numbers of UK lampreys were so low that they had to be imported from the Great Lakes of North America. Now, it seems the river pollution in the UK has decreased and the river lamprey is returning in large numbers.

Eating too many lampreys can be bad for your digestion. King Henry I of England, (c. 1068 – 1135), the fourth son of William the Conqueror. Henry died in Normandy, according to legend, from a surfeit of lampreys. 

The lamprey in the languages of France’s neighbors:

The European River Lamprey -  Lamproie de Tivière Européene or Lamproie Fluviatile:

(Catalan - llampresa de riu), (Dutch - amproye),(German – lamprete, lamprida), (Italian - lampreda di fiume), (Spanish  - lamprea de río), (Latin - lampetra fluviatilis).

The Sea Lamprey or Great sea lamprey - La Lamproie Marine or Lamproie de mer:

(Catalan –llampresa de mar), (Dutch -Zeeprik), (German - grosse lamprete, seelamprete), (Italian - lampreda di mare), (Spanish   -   lamprea de mar), (Latiin - petromyzon marinus).

------------------

Searching for the meaning of words, names or phrases
on
a French menu?
 

Just add the word, words, or phrase that you are searching for to the words "Behind the French Menu" (best when including the inverted commas), and search with Google.  Behind the French Menu’s links, include hundreds of words, names, and phrases that are seen on French menus. There are over 450 articles that include over 4,000 French dishes with English translations and explanations. 

---------- 

Bryan G. Newman

Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2016, 2021
 
For information on the unpublished book behind this blog write to Bryan Newman
at
behindthefrenchmenu@gmail.com
 
--------------------

Connected Posts:
 
Agen in South-west France. Home to the Agen Prune, the Gold Standard in Prunes.
 
Anguille, Anguille d'Europe – the European Freshwater Eel in French Cuisine.
 
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Cognac the Town, and Visiting Cognac and Tasting the Product. Cognac IV.
 
Confréries – The Brother and Sisterhoods that Promote and Defend the Foods and Wines of France.
 
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Nantes, The City and its Cuisine. A Wonderful Place to Visit and a Wonderful Place to Dine.
 
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Poireaux – Leeks. The Leek in French Cuisine.
 
Regions - On the 1st of January 2016 Many of France's Mainland Administrative Regions and Their Borders Changed. Keep This List With Your GPS and Map.
 
 

Monday, November 1, 2021

Baeckeoffe – A Traditional Alsatian Peasant Stew That Made the Big Time.

from
Behind the French Menu
by
Bryan G. Newman


A Baeckeoffe.
Photograph courtesy of Joel Bez
https://www.flickr.com/photos/lejoe/5196062504/ 

Baeckeof, Baeckeoffe, Baaekenof, or Potée Alsacienne – A traditional peasant stew from the Alsatian area in the Grand Est region. Baeckeoffe and similar-sounding names all mean a Baker’s Oven in the Alsatian dialect. For hundreds of years, when a baker had finished baking that day’s bread, the villager’s cooking pots would be placed in the baker’s oven where their contents cooked while the oven slowly cooled. Each family’s cooking pot contained whatever they had available, and when taken home, they would be kept hot on the family hearth. The slow cooking allowed all the tastes to mingle and produce wonderful stews, even with limited ingredients.


A medieval baker’s oven.
Photograph courtesy of Hans Splinter
https://www.flickr.com/photos/archeon/15317937928/

Today's Baeckeoffe

Today’s Baeckeoffe is a rich stew and will include cuts of beef and pork and sometimes lamb; there may be pork loin, a pig’s trotter, other pork cuts, a cut from the beef chuck, and or boneless lamb shoulder. Some chefs will add goose and or Alsatian sausages. The vegetables will have been chosen according to the season but will nearly always include France’s favorite white haricot beans, onionscarrots, leeks, and potatoes. In restaurants, a chef will add an Alsatian white wine, that may be a Riesling AOP or a Gewürztraminer AOP, and the herbs and spices will include garlic, thymebay leaves, and peppercorns. Baeckeoffe is still cooked slowly; the slow cooking produces the exquisite tastes and aromas that make the dish so special.

Elsewhere in France, similar stews with slightly different recipes are called a Potée, Pot-au-Feu, Bouilli or a Potée Boulangère. The word potée means a cooking pot, and a boulangère is a baker.


Where is the Alsace?
The Alsace is in northeastern France, It is part of the region of the Grand Est.
Map courtesy of About-France.com.
(The region marked PACA is Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur).

In the Alsace, when coming in from a cold winter’s night, a modern Baeckeoffe along with a large Alsatian beer may be just what the doctor ordered.

A 1664 Beer 6-pack.
French Kronenbourg 1664 beer is produced in Obernai in the Alsace.
Photograph courtesy of Carrefour

The Alsace is in the eastern part of France’s northeastern region of the Grand Est. French and German influences affect the Alsace’s cuisine and language. From the time of the French revolution, two departments, the Haut Rhin and the Bas Rhin made up the Alsace; however, since 1-1-21, the two departments have been merged into the Alsace European Authority (the Collectivité Européenne d’Alsace’).  


The ingredients for a Pot-au-feu
Photograph Le Journal des Femmes.

Baeckeoffe de Poissons – An Alsatian stew made with freshwater fish instead of meat. Today, saltwater fish and shellfish may sometimes be added.

My own experience, and twice was enough, saw that the slow cooking used to combine the flavors can only apply to the meat recipe; the fish would have disintegrated if cooked for a long time. The Baeckeoffe de Poissons was tasty but offered few of the subtle flavors of a very slowly cooked beef stew. Stay with the traditional Baeckeoffe for a meat stew, and for a fish, stew consider a thoroughly classic Alsatian freshwater, sometimes freshwater and seafood, fish stew, called a “matelote.” The matelotes of the Alsace, like the one in the picture below, include anguillle, freshwater eel; brochet, pike; perche, freshwater perch; truite, trout; and sandre, zander, or pike-perch.


Matelote a l’Alsacienne
A recipe of Pascal Lanoix
Photograph and recipe courtesy of alsace.nouvellesgastronomiques.com

Cholent

In Jewish villages, a remarkably similar dish called cholent was prepared for the Sabbath lunch.  In the Alsace, the Jewish family’s recipes would be very similar to those of a Christian peasant family’s however, scraps of goose would have replaced the forbidden pork. The two communities mostly lived side by side and shared many recipes; the pot of cholent would be taken home from the baker before the Sabbath began on Friday at sundown and transferred to the family’s hearth.  When the fire in the hearth had been stacked correctly, the family would have a hot stew for their Sabbath lunch.  

 


A dish of cholent
Photograph courtesy of Becky  
https://www.flickr.com/photos/35694730@N00/2738330081/
 

More about the Alsace

The two departments of the Alsace were moved back and forth over hundreds of years between France and Germany, returning finally to France at the end of WWII. The Alsace borders Germany to the North and Germany and Switzerland to the East.  In most restaurants the menu with be in French with Allemand Alsacien as well. The local dialect is called Allemand Alsacien or Elsässerditsch, but all the citizens speak perfect French.

-------------------------------- 

Searching for the meaning of words, names or phrases
on
a French menu?

Just add the word, words, or phrase that you are searching for to the words "Behind the French Menu" (best when including the inverted commas), and search with Google.  Behind the French Menu’s links, include hundreds of words, names, and phrases that are seen on French menus. There are over 450 articles that include over 4,000 French dishes with English translations and explanations.

------------------ 

Bryan G. Newman


Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2016, 2021
 
For information on the unpublished book behind this blog, write to Bryan Newman
at
behindthefrenchmenu@gmail.com
 
--------------------

Connected Posts:
 
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Dining in the Alsace, France. - Cuisine à l'Alsacienne.
 
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