A Taste of Normandy



Patrice Cauchard, a French chef from Normandy, was the owner of Darcau on Bedford Corner in Chiswick, now sadly closed. He had formerly been head chef at Brinkley's, the highly popular South Kensington Brasserie and had provided dinners for a couple of prime ministers, President Clinton and Her Majesty The Queen.

Exclusively for Talking Of Food, Patrice and his assistant cooked two typical dishes from his native Normandy, Guinea Fowl Vallée d'Auge and a Leek and Camembert Tartlet.

N.B. This dish is equally spectacular made with pheasant or chicken, and is sometimes called Cauchoise or à la Normande.

Serves 4

Guinea Fowl Vallée d'Auge

1 guinea fowl divided into 8 pieces
flaked sea salt, pepper
2 tablespoons flour
100g lardons
250g mushrooms, sliced
2 shallots, finely chopped
approx. 250 ml cider
approx. 250 ml chicken stock
2-3 tablespoons crème fraîche
100g baby onions
2-3 small apples, e.g. Cox
1-2 tablespoons caster sugar
chopped chives to garnish


Season the guinea fowl joints with salt and pepper and toss in the flour to lightly coat.

Heat a knob of butter and a dash of olive oil in a pan and sauté the guinea fowl until well browned all over.

Add the lardons and continue to fry until brown.  Then add the mushrooms chopped shallot and fry until softened.

Pour approx. 2 tablespoons of Calvados into the pan and flambé.

When the flames have died down, add a glass of cider and enough chicken stock to nearly cover the guinea fowl.  Simmer gently until the fowl is cooked and the sauce somewhat reduced.

Add the crème fraîche and stir to incorporate into the sauce.  Cook until the sauce coats the back of a spoon (see video).

To make the garnish:

Slice the cored apples into rings and toss in a little caster sugar.  Sauté in butter until caramelised.
In another pan fry the baby onions until softened and golden.

Combine the apples and onions in one pan and flambé with a little more Calvados.

To serve:

Transfer the guinea fowl with its sauce onto a serving dish and garnish with the apple slices and onions.  Sprinkle with chopped chives.


Leek and Camembert Tartlets

2 leeks, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 soup spoon flour
7-10 cl white wine
2 whole eggs plus 1 yolk, beaten
100 ml double cream or crème fraîche
1 camembert
4 pre-cooked tartlet shells

Sauté the chopped leak in butter until softened then add the shallot and garlic and cook for a minute or two longer, stirring now and then.

Mix in the flour and cook for another couple of minutes, stirring to incorporate, before adding the white wine.  Stir well again and let the mixture bubble before adding the cream and, after that has been thoroughly mixed in, add the beaten eggs.  Stir until thickened.

Fill the tartlet shells with the leek mixture and top with slices of Camembert.  Grind over a little black pepper.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 for 15 minutes.

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