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Saturday, November 5, 2016

Agneau Charolais du Bourbonnais, Label Rouge. Charolais lamb on French Menus.

Behind the French Menu
Bryan G. Newman
The Charolais sheep and young.
The Charolais Bourbon Lamb were awarded the Label Rouge, the red label grading given to some of France’s finest and highest quality foods.  Charolais Bourbon Lambs have a consistently high quality meat, and the manner in which they are raised is a condition of the award. The lambs are raised by their mother until they are weaned and then allowed to graze freely.  They may reach your table at anywhere from three to seven months of age, The taste of the Charolais lamb comes from the long, natural weaning  along  with the natural grazing; the lamb is tender and very much deserves its red label. Most Label Rouge   products and produce now go through annual tests. The taste and smell levels are now checked annually by a panel of highly trained tasters; the results are called, wait for it, an “organoleptic panel” rating. I think those test should be instituted, at least once every ten years, for the AOC wines that have not been tested in over 100 years!
Charolais lambs may be on the menu under a variety of names: Agneau du Charolais, Agneau Charolais du Bourbonnais, or Agneau Charolais Fermier du Bourbonnais, Label Rouge, and  or Agneau  Bourbonnais.
From the same areas comes the Charolais AOC/AOP goat’s cheese and the Bœuf Charolais AOC  also called the Bœuf Charolais du Bourbonnais AOP.  The Charolais cattle are one of Frances most famous breeds. (For more about the AOC and AOP labels click here).

The Charolais cattle.
In winter the cattle are brought into barns. Otherwise, they would vanish in the snow!

The Charolais lamb on French menus:
Canon d'Agneau Charolais En Croûte de Sel et Son Jus Corsé – A Canon of lamb roasted in a shell of salt and served with its natural cooking juices..
The en croute shell of salt will be removed before serving, it does not leave a salty taste. Then the Canon will be sliced and served with the natural cooking juices.

A canon of lamb is a traditional French cut, originally created for veal, and then adapted for lamb.  The canon begins with a cut from the loin, the upper leg, with the bone removed. The cut is usually stuffed and almost always roasted. The name Canon comes from the shape of this cut; it does look somewhat like a small canon.
Carré d’Agneau du Charolais Rôti,  Ravioli de Tomates  Basilic  – A roasted rack of Charolais lamb served with tomato ravioli flavored with basil.

A rack of lamb.

Côtes d'Agneau du Charolais En Croûte de Noix, Jus de Thym et Harmonie de Haricots - Charolais lamb chops baked ‘en Croûte” inside a walnut covering. This dish is flavored with the juice squeezed from the herb thyme and is served with three different beans. The beans, taken from among France’s many dried beads will be chosen for the way their tastes and texture work together in harmony.  In this lamb dish, it is probably White Kidney Beans, Red Kidney Beans, and Haricots Blanc beans

Lamb chops ready for the grill

Filet d'Agneau du Charolais – A fillet of the Charolais lamb, the lamb tenderloin. A lamb filet will be grilled or occasionally fried. The French prepare lamb very well; however, be aware that for grilled and or roast lamb the French will expect that you prefer it slightly rare, rosé in French. When roast lamb or grilled lamb dishes are on the menu, French waiters, unlike for steaks or cuts of beef, will rarely ask how you want your lamb cooked.  If you have ideas that do not include lamb rosé, then advise and discuss your preferences, with your waiter when ordering
Gigot d'Agneau Charolais aux Épice – Leg of Charolais lamb prepared with spices.  

Roast leg of lamb
Salade d’Agneau du Charolais et Haricots Blancs, Sauce Gremolata – A salad of Charolais lamb prepared with Haricot White Beans served with Sauce Gremolata – Gremolata is an Italian sauce/condiment made with garlic, lemon, and parsley.  Gremolata is really a condiment and served when the lamb is served. In Italy Gremolata is often served with osso buco.
Souris d'Agneau Confite et Caramélisée, Haricots Cocos de Paimpol Souris d’agneau is the fore shank and knuckle of lamb. Here it is served as a caramelized confit accompanied by the highly rated Coco de Paimpol AOP beans. A Souris d’Agneau is nearly always prepared as part of a stew or, as here, as a confit.   Confits of lamb are made by very slowly cooking the meat on a low heat in its own fat and juices. A slow, low, heat breaks down the muscle and other tissues so that the meat will practically melt in your mouth. Here the lamb and its juices are cooked until they are caramelized.
Your French-English travel dictionary will offer the translation of souris as a mouse or rat!  Worry not,  there are no mice or rats in this dish. The name came at some time in French culinary history when a chef thought that the cut resembled a large mouse or a rat and that unfortunate name stuck.
Duck, Goose and Pork confits as well a fruit and vegetable confits are prepared differently.  For more about the different confits that may be on your menu click here.

Souris d’Agneau.
The Province of Bourbonnais and the Bourbon Kings of France:
Bourbonnais was a historical province in the center of France. That province corresponds to the modern department of Allier in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes along with part of the department of Cher in the region of Centre -Val de Loire.  King Henry III of Navarre became Henry IV of France and the first Bourbon King.  The last Bourbon King was King Louis-Phillipe (1773-1850) who ruled France from 1830 -1848. Louis-Phillipe abdicated during the second French revolution in 1848 and chose exile in England where he died in 1850.


Statue of King Henry IV, “Good King Henry,” the first Bourbon King,
The statue is on the Pont-Neuf Bridge over the River Seine, Paris.
Connected Posts:
Bryan G, Newman
Behind the French Menu
Copyright 2010, 2016
For information on the unpublished book behind this blog contact Bryan Newman

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