Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Pistachio 'roast'

There was a time when I bought cooking magazines on a monthly and sometimes even weekly basis. After a couple of years, however, I noticed that the same recipes returned every year when the main ingredients were in season. After three or four years I therefore stopped buying them. When I moved into my current apartment ten years ago I filed them by date and season in the hall closet, where they filled up two one-meter shelves. Two years ago I realized that I never used them anymore, as it was so much easier to look up a recipe on the internet.

Last year in September I packed them up in several large boxes and gave them to my friend B’, whose son is a chef. I’ve never regretted my decision and have since then used the shelves to stock some pots and pans that I rarely use. However, last Saturday I went into our local librarian’s to buy a lottery ticket. Something I seldom do as I never seem to win anything.

Last weekend there was a big jackpot, though, and I decided to give lady luck another chance. Apparently a lot of people shared my idea and there was a long queue of men and women waiting to buy a lottery ticket. While I stood around awaiting my turn, I looked at some of the magazines that were on display. One of them, ‘Cuisine Actuelle, had a ‘Petits Prix’ special (Low budget recipes), which looked very interesting. I picked it up and quickly glanced through it. And this is how I came across this recipe.

The original recipe in 'Cuisine Actuelle'.
A delicious meal for just 3.30 euro per portion!

It looked very appetizing and easy to make. So I went to the supermarket and my friendly butcher to get the necessary ingredients. I slightly altered the ingredients as I’m not a big fan of onions in minced meat. And I also wanted to make a roast-like version instead of individual portions.

These are the ingredients I used (serves 4):

- 4 thin slices of Ganda ham (Ganda is the Belgian equivalent of Parma ham)*
- 4 thin escallops of turkey breast
- 1 large slice of braised ham
- 250 gr. of minced pork
- 15 gr. of roasted pistachio nuts
- 1 small egg*
- 1 large carrot

- butter and olive oil
- white pepper and salt

(*) my personal touch!

This is what you do:

Start by grinding the pistachio nuts. I used a small electric cutter to do this. Mix the pistachio powder with the minced pork, add some pepper, salt, and a small egg. At this stage you can also add a finely chopped onion.

Spread the slices of Ganda ham on a flat surface. Make sure they overlap. Carefully arrange the turkey escallops on the Ganda ham. Next comes the slice of braised ham. Take the minced meat mixture and spread it on the ham. Make sure to leave two centimetres around the edges, otherwise the meat will spill out when you roll the meat into a roast-shaped cylinder. Carefully tie up the cylinder and set aside.

Peel and cut the carrot in 1x1x1 cm pieces and melt the butter in a ‘Le Creuset’ type pot. Add a dash of olive oil to prevent the butter from burning.

Put the ‘roast’ in the pot and sear it on all sides. You can add some pepper and salt at this point, but personally I don’t think the recipe calls for salt as the Ganda ham is quite salty. When the meat is seared, turn down the heat and put the diced carrot in the pot with the meat. Put the lit on the pot and let the meat gently sizzle for about 35 to 40 minutes. Baste it regularly.

When the meat is ready, remove the cooking string and slice the ‘roast’ in 2 cm thick slices. Pour some baking juices and some carrot dices around and over the meat. The original recipe recommends serving this with a mash of sweet potatoes and celeriac. Sweet potatoes being hard to find in Belgium, I served some roasted potatoes and braised Belgian endives with it.
We thoroughly enjoyed this Sunday lunch, as the pistachios really give this dish an extra dimension. This exquisite meal definitely made up for the fact that lady luck once again ignored my lottery ticket!


chm said...

Miam! Looks delicious. I'll try to make it if I can find the ingredients, especially good ham.

The Beaver said...

This sounds a bit like "oiseaux sans têtes"

chm said...

That's exactly what I was thinking. Or, paupiettes de veau à la Maréchale!

ladybird said...

Chm and the Beaver, The original recipe, which consists in rolling the escallops in individual portions, is quite similar to the 'oiseaux sans tête', which in Belgium are traditionally made with beef escallops and a minced pork filling. My 'roast' version, however, would be more like a 'poulet sans tête', considering the size and the weight of it. :^)

The Beaver said...


My mum had a recipe with beef escallops filled with either half or the whole boiled egg ( depending on how big the egg is) with parsley and other herbs) and cooked in a tomato sauce with carrots. She did that on Sundays for lunch so that we can have only a light supper in the evening.

ladybird said...

The Beaver, Mmmm, that sounds delicious. Do you have the recipe? If you don't mind sharing it with me, I really would like to try it!

The Beaver said...

I will ask my sisters for the recipe ( since Mum passed away nine yrs ago ) and will forward it to you by e-mail.

chm said...

Bonjour Cousine,
Your "alouette sans tête" sound delicious. I'd love the recipe too. Maybe with some chopped green olives. Hey!

ladybird said...

The Beaver, Thank you in advance! I'm looking forward to your e-mail!

Chm, As soon as I have the recipe I'll do a post on it and take some photos. That way we can compare the results! lol

The Beaver said...


You will get a copy also. Mum used to spice the sauce or the stuffing depending on what was available. During our winters, some herbs were not available and in went " la mie de pain" with dried parsley and thyme.