The Gastronomic Meal of the French – #recipes from my friends @SucculentParis

My friends at Succulent Paris enjoying the treats I brought them from Alberta - photo - Kim Irving
My friends at Succulent Paris enjoying the treats I brought them from Alberta – photo – Kim Irving

My friends Marion Willard and Aurélie Mahoudeau of Succulent Paris food tours are wonderful cooks who love to share their passion with visitors to their city. This post will highlight a day where I booked them for a private gourmet tour. We met for coffee, shopped on Rue de Levis near their home and then prepared a seasonal multi-course gastronomic meal.

Cooking with Willard and Mahoudeau is a joyous occasion. Sitting down and sharing a meal together even more so. I hope that you’ll see that in the photos I’ll share here and that you’ll try some of the recipes as well. If they all seem a bit too much skip ahead to the next post where I share a ridiculously easy and fun Mug Cake that anyone can make and enjoy. It’s all good.

Menu for a French meal from Marion Willard and Aurélie Mahoudeau of Succulent Paris food tours
This pair of friendly Parisians have lots of tours for visitors to choose from but I love the chance to spend the whole day cooking, talking and visiting in the comfort of their home. Here’s the menu we prepared when I took my friends Kim Irving and Tandi Wilkinson to meet them.

Shallot Tart
Lamb Navarin
Choux Chiboust

Shallot Tart
Time: 60 minutes
Yield: 16 slices as an appetizer or 8 as a starter
1 sheet puff pastry
2 Tablespoons olive oil
12 shallots sliced lengthwise
4 teaspoons sugar
4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
4 oz thinly sliced hard cheese (Ossau Iraty sheep’s cheese works well)
Salt and Espelette pepper
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Roll out the puff pastry on parchment paper and set it aside on a baking sheet.
Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan and cook the shallot slices in olive oil until they begin to turn caramel brown in colour.
Drizzle the shallots with the sugar and vinegars and simmer another 10 minutes – until very dark burgundy.
Prick the dough all over with a fork and spread the shallots on top.
Spread the cheese over and season the top with the salt and Espellete pepper.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before cutting into squares for an appetizer or first course.

Lamb Navarin
Time: 90 minutes
Yield: 6 – 8 servings
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2.5 lb lamb shoulder cut into pieces
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 yellow onion
6 small spring onions
1 minced clove garlic
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup white wine
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
4 quartered carrots
6 – 8 small new potatoes
4 small halved turnips
1 cup chopped green beans
1 cup shelled green peas
Heat the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan (Dutch Oven or Cocotte).
Dredge the lamb pieces in the flour and salt and pepper; add them to the pot and brown on all sides.
Add the chopped onions and garlic and cook until they soften and turn translucent.
Add the tomato paste, wine, thyme, bay leaf and carrots and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat to simmer, add the potatoes, turnips and green beans and cook covered until the vegetables are tender.
Add the peas, cover again and cook 10 minutes more.

Choux Chiboust
This recipe is in three parts. Make the crumble topping first, then the choux pastry and finish with the chiboust cream and assembly.
Because this recipe calls for precision the measurements are given in grams and you will need an electronic kitchen scale.
Crumble topping
40 grams soft butter
50 grams brown sugar
50 grams flour
Mix the ingredients to form a dough ball, place it beaten two sheets of parchment paper and flatten it with a rolling pin until it is 2 mm thick.
Freeze for one hour.
The Choux pastry
150 grams water
66 grams butter
86 grams flour
½ teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs (150 grams)
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Boil the water in a small saucepan and add the butter.
Add the flour, sugar and salt all at once and stir for 5 minutes until the mixture is smooth and forms a ball that comes away from the side of the pan.
Transfer to a bowl and add the eggs, one at a time.
Transfer this mixture to a piping bag and pipe the choux in equal amounts onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
Remove the crumble topping pastry from the freezer and using a cookie cutter the same size as your choux circles, cut a circle to top each.
Bake for 25 minutes and let cook on a rack.
The Chiboust cream
5 grams gelatin (we used sheets)
120 grams egg yolks (+/- 6 yolks)
50 grams sugar
25 grams cornstarch
8.5 ounces whole milk
1 vanilla pod
150 grams egg whites
50 grams sugar
Soak the gelatin in cold water.
Whisk the egg yolks with the first 50 grams of sugar and the cornstarch.
Boil the milk with the vanilla pod after opening it and scraping the seeds into the milk as well.
Remove the milk from the heat and slowly pour half of the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking all the time.
Return this mixture to the remaining milk in the pan and bring the mixture back to a boil and then simmer for one minute – stir continuously until smooth.
Remove from the heat and add the drained gelatin.
Pour the mixture into a cool flat glass dish and cool in the fridge.
Whisk the egg whites adding the sugar gradually and increasing the speed till stiff peaks form.
Fold the egg whites into the cooled pastry cream and load another pastry bag with this mixture.
Putting it all together
Make a small hole in the bottom of each of the choux pastries and pip the cream mixture in.
Variation: instead of the pastry cream you can use a mixture of whip cream and finely chopped seasonal fruit.

Voila – There you have it. A wonderful meal that you can supplement with the purchase of a few nibbley things for aperitifs, some great wines, cheeses and a few treats for your guests to linger over with a liqueur after dinner or to pack up and enjoy the next day.
Bon Appetit. Savour it all. Cheers, Karen


  1. Tandi

    Reblogged this on The Song I Live By and commented:
    When I was in Paris recently, my friend and food writer Karen Anderson from arranged a food day. We spend the day with Marion and Aureilie at Succulent Paris food tours. First we met them at the local coffee shop in their neighborhood, then we shopped for the day’s ingredients. This included a stop to taste honey at the honey store and olive oil at the olive oil store. From there we went on to the vegetable store, the cheese shop, the butcher shop, as well as a few other delicious shops, all within a block from the home of Aurelie. We spent the day creating an amazing meal and it was a revelation to me, one of those heart stopping experiences when life suddenly expands, to realize I could ACTUALLY make choux pastry. I could do this!

    See below for Karen’s post and the recipes of the day, and also check out Karen’s previous post, which talks about the importance of sharing food and cooking skills to our culture. It turns out its actually nation building! Let’s go out and build our nation people! Feel free to invite me over for a meal at any time – I am happy to give of myself for this important cause. 🙂

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