RABBIT WITH PRUNES – Lapin aux Pruneaux

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RABBIT WITH PRUNES — Lapin aux Pruneaux

Season: Year Round

Preparation Time: 5 minutes, longer if you are chopping the rabbit or bacon bits yourself

Total Cooking Time: 1 hour 45 minutes

Serves 4 to 5

It’s been a while (2 years!) since I posted a recipe, my goodness! But that is because I have poured everything into The Bordeaux Kitchen book! I have been adding to the other pages at the top of the home page, slowly but surely. Now, for a recipe! This one is not in the book, as I just made it recently with my lovely friend from Nice, France, Joelle Luson. We did Beef Burgundy together, as well as several other recipes, which you will find in the book.

At 72, Joelle says she feels 27 and doesn’t like the idea of having to grow up. On my most recent trip to Bordeaux, Joelle showed me this family recipe of rabbit with prunes, which she used to cook quite often. To serve 6, procure a whole rabbit of about 1.5 kg. Cut the rabbit into into several pieces (or have the butcher cut it): two halves of the back (rable), 2 thighs (cuisses), 2 front legs. We were only three, so she bought 2 backs and two thigh pieces. In advance of cooking this recipe, pour hot water over the prunes in a bowl until they are covered in water and allow to steep for two hours. If you are using rum, add it to the bowl to steep with the prunes.

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7 ounces (200 g) prunes, pre-soaked in hot water for two hours

Optional: ½ cup (120 ml) rum

2 tablespoons olive oil (or lard), more if desired

7 ounces (200 g) bacon cubes (lardons)

2 lbs 10 oz (1.2 kg) rabbit pieces (4 pieces)

2 onions, chopped

Bouquet garni

Pinch of fine salt

Pinch of ground pepper

Parsley for garnish


A Few Notes


A bouquet garni is a small bundle of aromatic herbs in a combination which may be comprised of laurel (bay) leaves, thyme, leek, and rosemary, parsley, or savory tied together in a small bundle with string or in cheese cloth.


A pinch is using your thumb and first two fingers. Use a little bowl or ramekin in which to store your salt to be able to “pinch” it. For pepper, several rounds out of a grinder will work or else use a mortar and pestle to grind up several peppercorns.



Heat the oil (or lard) over medium-high to high heat in a dutch oven or cast iron pot (faitout or cocotte). Brown the bacon cubes together with the chopped onions until the onions are transluscent (about five minutes).

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Add more oil if the pot looks dry. Extra oil or fat can also keep the meat from burning. Brown each pieces of rabbit on each side (five to ten minutes).

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After browning the meat, add the water from the bowl of prunes to the pot. Add the bouquet garni, salt and pepper. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Allow to simmer for one hour. (Meanwhile, boil a pot of potatoes in water or duck fat as an accompaniment!)

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Add the prunes and simmer another 15 minutes. Warm a serving plate in the oven for a few minutes.

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Remove the bouquet garni from the pot, mix in the potatoes, then place the rabbit pieces, prunes, potatoes, and sauce into the serving plate. Garnish with parsley.

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Wine Pairing Tip: We had a Blaye – Côtes de Bordeaux, a red wine with soft tannins and an appellation on clay and limestone, a good terroir for the expression of the Merlot grape. For other French Southwest pairings, try this dish either with a Bordeaux rosé or a fruity Bergerac. Further afield in France, you might try a Saint Chinian (with notes of red currant) from Languedoc, or a light-bodied, herbaceaus Chinon rouge with notes of dark berries and spice, or else a refreshing Alsatian Pinot Noir with soft tannins and notes of red berries.


Paleo Breaded Veal Sweetbreads

Ris de Veau Panés

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This recipe can be used for both Veal or Lamb Sweetbreads. The photos in this post depict Veal Sweetbreads. The flour used in this recipe is organic chestnut flour, locally-sourced, Paleo-approved!

Prep Time: 35 minutes (plus up to one hour if you wish to soak the sweetbreads first in water)

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Total Time: 45-50 minutes

 Serves:  4

Description: Sweetbreads are the thymus gland of the animal. They have a light texture, like very tender meat and are not chewy. In France, they are a delicacy, as they have a very subtle flavor and are nutrient dense. They are also rare and therefore expensive, as there is only one pair of thymus glands per animal. This recipe can be used for veal or lamb sweetbreads. This can be served either as an appetizer or a main course.


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2 Lobes of Veal Sweetbreads or 12 oz (350g) Lamb Sweetbreads

Sea Salt

2 oz. (50g) Chestnut Flour or Coconut Flour

2 Tbsp. (30g) Grassfed Butter

1 Tbsp. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)

Juic of ½ Lime

Zest of ½ Lime

2 Tbsp. Parsley

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Rinse the sweetbreads in cold water. (If there are blood residues, place the sweetbreads into a bowl of cold water for 20 minutes up to one hour, changing the water once every ten minutes. This process removes any visible impurities. We rinsed but did not do the soaking.

Boil a pot of water containing 2 pinches of salt. (A “pinch” is using two fingers and your thumb to pick up the salt.)


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Place the sweetbreads in the pot of gently boiling, salted water using a large slotted spoon. Allow to gently boil for 20 minutes. (For lamb sweetbreads, only 8-10 minutes.) This will “blanche” the sweetbreads.


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Gently remove the sweetbreads from the pot, allow to cool a bit so that you may then gently remove the thin outer skin of the sweetbreads with the help of a small paring knife. This may take you a few minutes.

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Slice the sweetbreads into about 5 thick slices each, like cutting a loaf of bread. (Skip this step if using Lamb Sweetbreads, since they are small enough already.)

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Roll each piece in the flour. The flour helps hold the sweetbreads together and gives them a crispy exterior texture in contrast to the interior unctuous texture.

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Rolling Sweetbreads in Chestnut Flour


Tania Teschke Photography-RisDeVeau-2851In the photo above, the sweetbreads at the upper left are rolled in coconut flour, a fluffy white color and texture, while those on the right are rolled in chestnut flour, denser and brownish in color. The bowl at bottom contains coconut flour.


Heat a pan to medium-high and add the butter, allowing it to brown slightly. This is called “beurre noisette,” giving the butter an nutty flavor.

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Add the pieces of sweetbreads, allowing them to brown for a few minutes in the butter before turning them over, sprinkling sea salt to both sides.

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Using a spoon, drizzle each piece every few minutes with the butter sauce. You may add the olive oil if the pan seems dry, or else a bit more butter.

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Sprinkle lime zest onto both sides.

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After about 10-15 minutes cooking time in the pan (for lamb sweetbreads only 8-10 minutes cooking time), add parsley and lime juice, allowing another minute cooking time before turning off the heat.

Tania Teschke Photography-RisDeVeau-2898Remove the sweetbread pieces from the pan and serve them hot.

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Recipe Anecdote:

I first made this recipe with my neighbor Rebecca, who is from Dijon and grew up eating offal at her grandmother’s house. (See the other recipe I did with her: Poached & Suteed Lamb Brains!) We tried both chestnut and coconut flour and in a taste test, the chestnut flour won out, only because the coconut flour masked the delicate flavor of the sweetbreads themselves. Both variants were delicious and are shown in the photo, with the coconut flour variant in the foreground, chestnut in the background. We are both moms with small children and despite being under time pressure we were able to finish this recipe in an hour, including photographing each step! Then we had time to enjoy the meal for a few minutes over a small glass of wine. Try accompanying the sweetbreads with a dry white wine, such as a sauvignon blanc. We had a sauvignon gris from the Francs Côtes de Bordeaux appellation.

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Bon Appetit!

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Stuffed Guinea Fowl

La Pintade Farcie

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Serves 4-6

The Pintade is a wild breed of bird (un oiseau sauvage) which began to be imported into France in the 1900s and has since become domesticated and raised in France and other countries. The taste is more pronounced than chicken. It also dries quickly when being cooked, therefore it is usually tied up to retain not only the stuffed contents but also the juices. The fat in the stuffing also helps keep the bird juicy.

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Depending on the establishment where you purchase the Pintade, and your level of interest in preparing the bird yourself, you will either buy it plucked but with head, feet and entrails (minus the intestines), or stuffed and unroasted, or stuffed and roasted and ready to eat, which is what Le Poulailler d’Augustin in Bordeax offers.

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If you are daring enough, willing enough and time-rich enough to want to prepare the bird and stuff it yourself, here are the steps, some of which I may have left out or gotten wrong, but if in doubt, have an expert demonstrate for you so you can try it on your own another time! In this case, the expert was the patient employee of Le Poulailler d’Augustin, Edouard Remont, who willingly demonstrated his speed and skill in preparing and stuffing a bird. (I love French culinary vocabulary and expressions, so I have included a number of them for your enjoyment.)

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Edouard Remont of Le Poulailler d’Augustin in Bordeaux


Preparing the Pintade:

Cut off the feet (les pattes) at the joints.

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Slice at the neck (le cou).

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Then cut off the head (la tête).

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Separate the skin (la peau) from the carcass (la carcasse).

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This is where things get tricky. Separate the stomach membrane from the inside of the carcass and cut it off with the trachea. (I was trying so hard to understand what was happening, that I forgot to take a picture of this step!)

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Turn the bird around and make an incision into the back to be able to remove the organs.


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Remove the organs by making an arc around the top of the bird and then a small curve below left and right to remove the lungs and pull out the entrails.

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Also remove the testicles and ovaries – Pintades are grown to adolescence, both male and female. (I didn’t catch a shot of these organs, either.)

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Carefully remove the green bile sack, as this contains bitter material that can make you sick.

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Clean off the gizzard (le gesier).

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Make an incision into the fatter side of the gizzard without cutting into the stomach (sans écarter l’estomac!), and rinse the gizzard, heart (le coeur), and liver (le foie).

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Now burn (cramer) all around the outside of the bird to remove feather (les plumes) residues.

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If you are going to tie up the bird yourself, you will need a sturdy trussing needle and cotton cooking twine.


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Push the needle through the thigh (la cuisse) and through the body of the Pintade.

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Push the needle through one wing, through the middle of the back and into the other wing.

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All this threading is better for the cooking (c’est mieux pour la cuisson), as it will help retain the juices (garder le gras).

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Edouard rotated the bird several times, knotting here and there, a bit too fast for a novice like me to catch every detail! A true pro, he made it look easy!

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Tightly closed, the pintade will roast in its own juices. (Bien serée, mieux la cuisson dans son jus!) But don’t knot it off just yet, as you still need to stuff it!

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After finishing the threading, put into the fridge to cool it down while you prepare the stuffing, unless you have made the stuffing in advance.

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For the Stuffing (la farce):

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The stuffing keeps the meat from drying out. It’s also a delicious, nutritious bonus to the meal, arguably more nutrient dense than the bird itself, but who’s arguing? This already is an unique bird that one doesn’t eat every day, which already makes it diverse in terms of nutrients.

You’ll basically only need about 150 grams of stuffing per bird, which typically weigh about 2.5 lbs.

I don’t have exact amounts for each ingredient as Edouard was working with ingredients to make 3 kg (6.6 lbs!) of stuffing, so for one bird, just eyeball it and freeze whatever is left over for then next bird! At some point I will come back and add more precise quantities for one Pintade.


Shallots (les echallottes), minced (Probably you’ll only need one. Edouard chopped 10 for his purposes, but that’s for a very very large batch of stuffing!)

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Tomato Purée

Parsley (le persil)

Ratio of 80/20 Pork Back (échine de porc) to Veal (le veau)

Chicken Breast Meat (le blanc de poulet), puréed

Mushrooms (trompettes entières are used here but one can also use girolles, or else not add mushrooms, if, like me, you are allergic to molds and fungus)

Olive Oil

90g (3 oz.) Porto

Dab of Honey

Sea Salt (Sel de Mer) & Pepper (le poivre)

Pinch of Dried Thyme

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Mix all the stuffing ingredients by hand.

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Chef’s Tips:

  • Using gloves keeps the ingredients from being oxidized by contact with one’s skin.
  • You can add raw chicken livers or the Pintade’s own liver, heart and gizzard, adding richness to your stuffing. These can be puréed or left whole in the stuffing.
  • You can also add a raw egg.
  • You can also add a pinch of mixed spices, such as mustard seed powder, coriander, turmeric, cumin, or a premixed curry powder.
  • Smell the stuffing, make sure it smells well spiced (bien épicé!)

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Stuff the Pintade, but beware: stuffing it too full won’t allow you to sew the opening closed, making the stuffing ooze out annoyingly.

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Allow 15 minutes extra in the oven (au four) than you would cooking an unstuffed chicken (1 hour and 15 minutes for a typical chicken, un poulet) at 185C (365F), for a total time of 1 hour and 30 minutes. At Le Poulailler d’Augustin, they roast their birds over the fire!

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An added tidbit about the Pintade, or Guinea Fowl, apparently, they are low maintenance and good for pest control, in case you are considering raising some yourself: http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/raising-guinea-fowl-zmaz92aszshe.aspx

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Thanks to his enterprising spirit, the proprietor, Augustin Jallon, allowed me to observe the preparation of this dish in action! Visit his rotisserie Le Poulailler d’Augustin, full of delightful goodies when you are in Bordeaux!

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The ingredients are fresh and the fowl come from local farms around the region.

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They even have rosé wines and seasonal lavender honeys from Provence, local foie gras, crème brulée, fresh farm eggs, and a variety of side dishes (potatoes, Brussel sprouts, carrots, green beans) to go with their roasts, yum!

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May the Farce be with you!

Poached & Sautéed Lamb Brains

Cervelles d’Agneau Pochées

Serves 1 per person

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1 Lamb’s Brain (per person)

3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar (per brain)

2 Tbsp Butter (per brain)

4 Tbsp Parsley, minced

Sea Salt & Black Pepper to taste

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Soak the brains in a bowl of cold water and 2 Tbsp vinegar for 15-20 minutes to remove impurities.

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Bring the salted water to a boil in a pot. Reduce the heat to a simmer and place each brain in the water to simmer for 10 minutes without bringing the water back to a boil.

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Remove poached brains from the water allowing them to drip excess water onto a plate.

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Melt the butter in a pan and gently place the brains into the pan to sautée them lightly on the bottom and top for a few minutes on each side. Add the rest of the vinegar and mix in with the butter. Use a spoon to pour the melted butter and vinegar over the brains (arroser in French).

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Remove the brains from the pan and place gently on a plate.

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Poached and Sautéed Lamb Brains


Sprinkle with Parsley, Sea Salt and Pepper.

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Chef’s Tip: Brains are extremely fragile and may fall apart a bit as you handle them during each step. This is only a problem when you are trying to photograph the finished product! Another way to do this recipe so that the brains do not fall apart is to remove the brains from the boiling water and to put them directly onto a plate and to just heat the butter in a pan and pour it over the brains on the plate. After a taste test, however, my friend Rebecca and I both agreed that the light caramelization effect of sautéeing the brains in the butter in the frying pan added texture and flavor to a dish that is otherwise pretty mushy in texture if one is not used to it.

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Poached Lamb Brains (no sautéeing)


Chef’s Tip: Another tip regarding sea salt is to add the crunchy (croquant) Fleur de Sel (the top layer, whitest and most revered of sea salts – see my photography expo on Ile de Ré Salt Harvesting on my photography website www.taniateschke.com): It’s pretty, crunchy and adds just the right amount of salt with just a few grains on top of almost any dish!

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Ile de Ré Salt Harvesting

Wine Pairing Tip: Go for a medium red, either a Bordeaux Graves or Cotes de Castillon, for example, something balanced between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, so as not to overpower the dish. Or else a crisp white, I love the Bordeaux Graves dry wines myself!

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My friend Rebecca, a working mom and cook, is originally from the Dijon region, where she grew up, showed me this recipe. Her grandmother used to prepare lamb brains for her as a nutritous treat, and Rebecca says she never thought of this as an odd thing to eat. She was just happy to eat it at her grandmother’s house. I find that the French who grew up on offal and other foods Americans might find “strange” had the good fortune of just that: growing up with these foods so that they never thought of them as strange and as a result never missed out on the nutrients, as well as the convivial feeling of eating a warm dish prepared by a grandmother.

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Greens Straight from Rebecca’s Garden


First Raw Beef Heart, and now Cooked Brains?!

I know this may literally be tough to swallow at first, but as I have said before, organ meats, or Offal (les Abats in French), are the most nutrient dense foods we can eat. Add butter, which is rich in K2 and saturated fat, and sea salt, which has a delicious blend of many of the trace minerals we need, and you’ve got yourself a power-packed meal (or part of a meal)!


I can say that it was a little hard to swallow the first bite or two, as the smell was subtle but new to me, and the texture a bit mushy. To Rebecca, the scent takes her back to her days visiting her grandmother. This is the same effect that smooth pork liverwurst has on me, it transports me to my childhood when I would smear that liverwurst on dark German bread for my breakfast. I am truly grateful for that small indoctrination into “strange” foods, as I think it has helped me to be able to enjoy other foods like chicken livers paté or just plain old liver. And foie gras, of course.


I will admit that it can be difficult to eat more than just a forkful or two of lamb brains on one’s first attempt. But again, I am motivated by the quest to heal my gut, strengthen my body and accept those foods which keep me on that path, and lamb brains are just one example of the rich diversity of French traditional cuisine I am determined to learned about! Join me on this journey of discovery!

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Rebecca’s Handmade Bowls from Spain

For some excellent video watching, and something that sums up much of what I have been learning over the past two years, watch The Weston A. Price Foundation’s President Sally Fallon-Morell’s talk on Nourishing Traditional Diets: The Key to Vibrant Health. If you want more, check out her video on The Oiling of America. Skip the usual TV series and listen to or watch these videos while you are in the kitchen, which is what I do, but beware, each one is two hours long.

Veal Heart Tartare

Tartare du Coeur de Veau

Serves 2-4

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Half of a Veal Heart (about 250 g or 2 cups, or 8 oz)

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3 clementines (or else one orange or one grapefruit, depending on which citrus fruit is in season), the inner fruit diced after removing the white flesh beneath the peel surrounding the pulp, in French: lever les supremes

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2 Limes, skins zested and finely diced, inner fruit diced after removing white flesh beneath the peel surrounding the pulp

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2 Shallots, finely diced

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1 Green Apple for tartness

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Olive Oil (several tablespoons to taste) to melt some of the acidulated tang of the dish

1 tbsp Cider Vinegar to add acidity to the dish

1-2 Pinches Black Pepper

1 Pinch Piment d’Espelette (a specialty of the French Basque region, or else use Cayenne Pepper or Paprika, or if you are on a Paleo AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), avoid the red peppers altogether)

8-10g (2-3 tsp) Fine Sea Salt

1 tbsp Sesame

1 tbsp Poppy Seed

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Have your trusted butcher devein the outside as well as the inside of the heart as well as the thin encasing around the main artery.

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The heart meat should be sliced into fine steaks either by the butcher or by you, then cut into fine cubes.

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Gently MIX in all ingredients, rectifying with extra salt as needed.

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Add sesame and Poppy Seed at the end and place it all into a nice dish.

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Chef’s Tip: The Secret to a “Bon Tartare” is finely chopped ingredients! Also, have little containers at the ready for each ingredient to keep yourself organized, along with one recipient for “garbage.”

Mind your Butcher!

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About the Chef

Currently the main butcher at Biocoop Cauderan (an organic grocery shop in greater Bordeaux), Florent is a Charcutier from the French Basque town of Bayonne, so he not only knows his ham, which Bayonne is most famous for, but he also knows his meats: preparation of carcasses, meat preservation and curing, cutting and preparing meats, making sausages and terrines, and preparing recipes using meats and meat products. Florent told me, “I never get invited over to eat at friends’ houses, I get invited over to cook!” Such is the fate of a good chef, and he loves it!

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Eat Your Heart Out

Why eat heart? Raw? Eating raw meat keeps the nutrients and enzymes intact. Heart meat in particular is packed with the most mitochondria of all our organs, which we can utilize to fuel our own mitochondria when we consume them. See The Wahls Protocol. Charcutier Florent makes this recipe with raw heart because that is how he learned it in Bayonne and he enjoys the taste and texture. To be honest, for me, it was like eating cold steak salad, with the predominant taste being of course citrus, or agrume, in French. When we did this recipe together, he gave me the rest of the unused heart and I tried frying it in a pan and it tasted like a steak, as I fried it up in ghee, garlic and parsley, like I would a regular steak. And it pretty much tasted like steak.

Why Eat Organ Meat?

Organ meats, or “offal” were and are prized in traditional cultures for their nutrient density and were often saved for young couples of child-bearing age, so as to prepare the couple for optimum conception and pregnancy. These peoples demonstrate their high regard for future generations by essentially offering them the most nutrient-dense food. Check out Naked Calories, among their other books. One book I wish I had is Jennifer McGruther’s The Nourished Kitchen. One of these days! But she also has a great blog called Nourished Kitchen as well.

Won’t Raw Meat Make You Sick?

Here’s a controversial subject: MICROBES! In our over-sanitized world, we have been at war with microbes for generations. It doesn’t look like we are winning this war, however. We are made up of mostly bacteria, and basically when we eat, we are feeding them. Being overly scared of bugs has gotten us sicker, it seems. The French have always eaten raw meat in various forms and those who are knowledgeable about proper preparation, such as chefs, butchers and traditional cooks, are entrusted by the rest of the population to provide them with delicious tartares that will not make them sick. A butcher who knows the source and treatment of his animals usually has the experience as well to understand when the meat of an animal is healthy or not, along with the date the animal was slaughtered so he may determine the freshness of the meat.

Health Over Hospital!

For me, ignoring my microbiome in my twenties is what got me sick in the first place, so now I pay attention. And to me, eating is more about surviving and thriving than about being finicky and squeamish over certain foods. Especially while healing, the choice is: health over hospital! More on that story another time. For now, it’s time to eat!

Bordeaux Oysters with Wrapped Pork and Shallot Meatballs

Huitres à la Bordelaise, Crépinette de Porc à l’Echalote

Serves 6

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For the Oysters

36 Oysters (6 per person)

Large Sea Salt Crystals

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Open the oysters carefully with the appropriate dull, thick blade of an oyster knife. (Two short videos on opening an oyster: British and American. In both of these videos, they say to hang onto the water in the oyster and to detach the oyster from its shell upon opening. They emphasize using a towel to protect your hands!)

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Chef Fred’s Tip: No need to hang onto that water that sprays or drips out of the shell upon opening. Do use a towel, however, he did not in the photos, but don’t try that at home! Also, the French leave the detaching of the oyster from it’s half shell to the consumer of the oyster by supplying them with a nice oyster fork! This ensures freshness at consumption as well.

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Place the oysters on each place over some large sea salt crystals, it looks pleasing, and holds the half shell in place on the plate!

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For the Meatballs (Warning: lots of “weird” ingredients here! Feel free to improvise!)

350g (1.5 cups or 12.5 oz) Pork Liver

300g (1.3 cups or 10.5 oz) “Fatback” (see “Lard Explained” note below); Lard in French

300g (1.3 cups or 10.5 oz) Pork Neck; Gorge de Porc in French

Flat Parsley, handful, or half a bunch, leaves removed from stems

1g (one Pinch!) Ground Nutmeg (freshly ground or already powdered)

400g (1.7 cups or 14 oz) Pork Caul (see “Lard Explained” note below)

30g (1 oz or 4 tbsp) Unsalted Butter (Option for Casein Intolerant: Olive Oil or Lard)

100g (0.4 cups or 3.5 oz) Liquid “Leaf” Lard (see “Lard Explained” note below); Saindoux in French

3 shallots, finely chopped

Laurel Leaf

Freshly Ground Pepper

Fine Sea Salt

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Rinse the Pork Caul in cold water.

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Place fineley chopped Shallots into a large mixing bowl.

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Grind the Liver, Fatback, Pork Neck and Parsley leaves in a meat grinder to a medium consistency (not too fine) and add to the mixing bowl.

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Add Salt and Pepper generously.

Add Nutmeg and MIX everything well by hand.

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Spread the Caul out on a large cutting board and cut the caul into about 18 rectangular pieces, or make meatballs into about a teaspoon to tablespoon size ball and place them on the caul as you go, cutting around each meatball; the caul will be your “envelope” or covering, around the meatball.)

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Chef Fred’s Tip: You can place a small torn piece of Laurel Leaf at each spot on the caul where you will place a meatball. The laurel leaf adds to the flavor and aroma of the finished product.

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Place the meatballs in a frying pan with the Leaf lard and butter (or other lard or oil), sautéing them on medium high for several minutes on each side until they are cooked through (or place them covered in the oven to roast.)

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Place the finished meatballs, one on each oyster. The warm flavor of the pork meat contrasts nicely with the fresh, cold, salty, iodized flavors of the oyster.

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Accompanying WineA light red, a crisp white or Bordeaux Sweet!

I am posting this oyster and pork meatballs (crépinettes) recipe now because I just worked on it with my Bordeaux-born pal Chef Fred on Instagram at: FREDO_TRUCK_ and am so excited to share it. Plus, oysters are almost always in season in Bordeaux! In fact, the Bordelais eat oysters for Christmas! Chef Fred is a wizard when it comes to dreaming up recipes, though he says this dish is one from this region of France. I am nevertheless grateful to him for his creativity and generosity!

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Preparation Trumps Complication

Despite the fact that this recipe looks complicated with lots of steps, it’s basically oysters and meatballs! You can eat either of these separately, but also together, who knew?, to pack a one-two nutrient-dense punch for your health, because it combines zinc and selenium-rich oysters with nutrient-dense pork balls (containing pork fat, meat and liver, and let’s not forget the all-powerful but under-exploited vitamin-rich parsley). Plus, you can double the recipe, make bunches of meatballs in advance and freeze them for future snacks and meals when you have less time to prepare a meal. So make this recipes on a day you have set aside several hours for prepping meals ahead for the week. This is one key to success to having access during the busy times of the week: prepared, homemade food! The oysters must be consumed immediately, of course, particularly once opened. So that’s a fun way to invite some friends over and share a meal, making sure one of them knows how to open an oyster! (This is a skill I have yet to master!)

Nutrient Density

When it comes to oysters and liver, those are about the two most nutrient-dense foods you can consume. But don’t take my word for it, check out Mark Sisson’s article on Mark’s Daily Apple. Everything we eat affects us, so why not go for the things that heal and maintain our health rather than those that do not? This is a question I now ask myself every time I eat or am offered something to eat. Sometimes, when confronted with a whipped cream-laden hot chocolate, I tend to have amnesia in this regard. (This might be referred to as the 80/20 rule whereby most of the time you are on your own “right track” and occasionally, you fall off the wagon, but get back on and keep on rolling.) Dr. Terry Wahls, who beat MS using primarily food and lifestyle modifications, discusses the choices one makes between healing vs. harmful foods in The Wahls Protocol.


Lard Explained

Pork Caul is the thin membrane of fat surrounding the intestines of the pig. Because it is thin and malleable, it is helpful in holding things together, like the ground meat of a meatball, as in this recipe. Fatback is the subcutaneous fat between skin and muscle on the back of the pig. Leaf lard is the highest grade lard from surrounding the visceral organs. Wikipedia has an entire Lard explanation.

Nose to Tail

Fergus Henderson’s book The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating provides us with a foundation for the modern (though actually very primal and ancestral) concept of Nose To Tail Eating. I would love to get that book! (So many cookbooks, so little time!) Pork, which has a long history of being rich man’s and poor man’s foods in societies over the millennia (check out Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig by Mark Essig) is available year-round and the lard and fat in a dish like this really satiates as the cooler fall weather arrives.

This recipe incorporates the ancestral notion of eating the whole animal to derive the most nutrient density and economical potential from the animal. Why would you waste any of it? So many parts of the whole with which to create delicious meals! No waste! Economical! (The Weston A. Price Foundation is founded on the premise of nutrient-dense foods, the way traditional, ancestral societies nourished themselves.) When you eat oysters, you are eating the whole animal. As for the meatballs in this recipe, as you can see from the ingredients list, so many parts of the pig, including the liver are included.

A Sense of Community and Economy

Chef Fred explained to me that in a bygone era, French villagers slaughtered their own pigs, making their own products and preserves from these to last through the winter. Indeed, my own German ancestors did this, even up until about 15 years ago, my uncle and aunt in Germany slaughtered a village pig annually to be able to create their own sausages to eat year round. This was a most economical and quality-assured way to feed one’s family, as they knew the farmer who raised the pigs as well as his farm. It also brought the family together, with my uncle’s brothers joining to help, each with his own skill set to contribute to the sausage, meat and preserves production in the cellar of my aunt and uncle’s home. In France, this is no longer allowed in villages. Pigs must be taken to special slaughterhouses, which, of course, costs the individual much more. At any rate, by eating nose to tail, we receive a variety of nutrients, similarly as we do when we eat vegetables of all colors of the rainbow.


If you have read all the way to here, thank you for your attention! I know the pork part of this recipe looks very complicated, but actually, you could just form some ground pork and onions into little balls and call it a day. Again, as with most recipes, you can improvise! I actually don’t like following recipes. Maybe it’s an inability to focus on the page or to take the time to read and prepare all the ingredients. The fun part is in just mixing whatever I have and fitting a recipe to that. Hopefully the next recipe will take me less that two weeks to write up! Bon Appetit!

Le Foie de Veau – Veal Liver

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Le Foie de Veau – Veal Liver & Petits Pois à la Française – French Green Peas

For the Veal Liver

  • 1 thick piece of Veal Liver per person
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • Red Wine Vinegar (Vinaigre de Banyuls used here)

Heat pan on medium-high

Salt one side of the veal

Put salt side down onto heated pan, turn once when colored on bottom

Put pat of butter into pan

Use spoon to drizzle the liver with butter several times to avoid the butter from burning

Remove from pan when cooked through (remove earlier for a less cooked version) and slice

Add vinegar to pan, then spoon this sauce sauce onto sliced pieces of liver

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For the Green Peas

  • 1 kg (2.2 lbs) pea pods per 2-3 persons, peas removed from pods
  • 1 tsp Duck Fat
  • 1 Medium Onion, finely cut (or else Green Onions, as shown above)
  • Sea Salt
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 ladles of Bouillon (Chicken Stock or Bone Broth)
  • Young Lettuce, finely chopped (Sucrine is used here, in season in summer)

Add peas to boiling, salted water, boiling them for 5-8 minutes total on high burner (Boil them longer at the end of the pea growing season)

Quick-cool the peas in a bowl of ice water to fix the chlorophyll in the peas (maintains green color)

Heat a pot, add duck fat and allow it to melt

Add onions over medium-high heat, allowing them to sizzle (this is called “sweating the onion” – “suer les onions,” when they release their water)

Add sea salt

Add butter, which will help bind the bouillon with the onions

Add peas

Add 2 ladles of bouillon

Add chopped lettuce at the end and remove from heat


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The Backstory

This recipe combination comes from a grandmother named Gaby, a native of the Bordeaux. She is the paternal grandmother of my pal Chef Fred here in Bordeaux, who demonstrated these recipes for me. Chef Fred worked in several famous restaurants in Paris before returning to his native region of Bordeaux about 10 years ago. He taught cooking at an atelier in Bordeaux and has plans to start a food truck on his own, we’ll keep our eyes peeled for that! You can follow him on Instagram at FREDO_TRUCK_

A Word on Liver

Liver is one of the most nutritionally dense foods we can consume. Liver from a healthy, grass-fed, grass-finished animal is the best, of course. There is some debate over whether peas (legumes) can be part of a “paleo” style diet. Some eat legumes and others don’t. If you do not, this liver dish can of course be prepared with other seasonal vegetables of your choice! Which brings me to the next topic…

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Seasonal Eating

By following the seasons we eat what is in season in our area at any given time of year. This limits carbon costs of shipping products (often picked while still unripe) across the world, encourages the support of local farming, and keeps our bodies in the natural rhythm of the earth. If you are eating certain fruits year round, for example, you may be accelerating your body’s aging by telling it, here, it’s spring again, let’s eat this fruit for the fourth time this year, when the natural cycle of life is to only have that fruit available during a certain season. (For more on this check out T.S. Wiley’s work Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival). Enough for now, more next week!

Let’s Get Started: About Me

This Is Me With My Mixing Tools

This Is Me With My Mixing Tools

Like everyone else on this planet, I like to consider myself as having something unique to contribute to the world. So what could that unique thing be? I think, therefore I am. Not unique. I speak five languages? Getting there. I have a parasite called Cryptosporidium? Boom! That’s unique! Ugh, it’s also unhealthy and tedious.

Now before you hit the Gong on this blog entry, that reference will date me, I encourage you to read on: I have a unique spin I’d like to share with the world other than that of battling a parasite alone. The spin? Actually, it’s several spins. Here are some key words: ancestral, seasonal, French, recipes and wine pairings. I like to mix language, culture, ingredients, art styles, music, thoughts. I like to meet people, speak their language, and then go home and take a nap.

Some other quick tidbits about me:

I am a mom. I am usually tired. I take pictures when I’m not too tired. I have lived in seven countries longer than two months. I cook to feed my family. I write to soothe my soul. I like sports but sometimes avoid them altogether. I looked Death in the eyes on my 25th birthday and have been on a journey of healing since and even before then. Thanks in part to my ruptured appendix from that time in my life and the ensuing scars, you will not see photos of my abs on this blog. I will try not to complain too much, as those of us sick and tired over-achievers tend to do.

The one place I do still enjoy overachieving is the kitchen. Everywhere else I am trying to underachieve: No activities after school? Check. Saying no to playdates? Check. Use the car as little as possible? Check!

So this blog is an account of my healing journey, recipe by recipe, from people I have met along the way. Living in France for the past two years has given me the unique (there it is!) opportunity to learn recipes from my French friends and acquaintances, to mix them, photograph them and to share them now with you! And plus, without an outlet to share this knowledge and journey, I might go nuts spending so much time in the kitchen.

So by reading this, you are learning along with me and giving me an audience with whom to share and mix! Thank you, and here we go!

Find my photography work at www.taniateschke.com

Twitter @BordeauxKitchen


Recipes from the Bordeaux Kitchen: Ground Rules

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I am about to embark on a new path, building a repertoire of recipes within a new paradigm of healthy eating that the French have always known, but within some limitations that are not unlike other approaches to eating such as paleo, primal, metabolic, raw, GMO-free, etc.

I will try to work within the boundaries of no refined sugars, no vegetable or hydrogenated fats, non-GMO, grain-free (which also means gluten-free), pasteurized dairy-free, and instead unlock the secrets of French cooking using ingredients that do not fall into those categories.

And if there’s one thing I love to do, it’s MIX, whether it’s ingredients, languages, cultures, art forms, sports, ideas and approaches to living life to its fullest.

Please join me on this journey of health, wellness, vitality and fun!   ~Tania

Find my photography work at www.taniateschke.com

Twitter @BordeauxKitchen