Our old and rich Picardy recipe ideas to celebrate Christmas
Picardy gastronomy is rich in many dishes that you can make for your end-of-year celebrations. Forget the Picardy ficelle, a recent creation, to discover some more festive, more local or much older recipes: with the duck with turnips, the turkey stuffed with Picardy, the Caghuse pork, the sautéed lamb from the foreshore, the cugnot, and the dariole of Amiens, whose origin dates back to the Middle Ages.
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René Normand writes in an article published for Christmas 1937 in the magazine The automobile in the Picardy country : “We say the Picard willingly fanciful. He was so when he had the idea of bringing together (in the casserole) two irreconcilable ones: the turnip deeply attached to the native soil and the wild duck whose mood is wandering. However, it is from the meeting of the vegetable and the bird that a succulent dish is born! Once brought together, the duck and the turnip penetrate each other, the taste of the second impregnating the flesh of the first which gorges it, in exchange, with its fat. succulent.“
Are you hungry? Depending on the size of your holiday table, here are two recipes that will allow you to combine poultry and vegetables: duckling with turnips (Picardy recipes from our Grandmothersby Louis Gildas published by CPE, 2005)…
And the roast duck with glazed turnips, crosnes with cream (Love the cuisine of Nord Pas-de-Calais and Picardyby Pierre Coucke and Patrick Villechaize at Éditions Ouest-France, 2002).
It’s hard to ignore the turkey when talking about the Christmas table. Enjoy this recipe proposed by Yves Sudrès, cooking teacher, in the Collection of Picardy gastronomy – 85 simple recipes (published in 1986 by Delta 2000), recipes that the author experimented with the students of LEP Edouard Gand in Amiens.
Jacques de Wailly and Maurice Crampon describe this dish as follows: “the caghuse is a piece of pork leg braised with onions” in their work The Folklore of Picardy (Somme, Oise, Aisne) – Collection of the Picardy Linguistic Society IX (Musée de Picardie, Amiens, 1968).
If the pudding (black) would have been the essential dish served at the New Year’s Eve table in Picardy, also recall Wailly and Crampon, the caghuse could be part of the meal which followed the slaughter of the pig. This meal was the “tripée”, with giblets of the beast and choice pieces variously accommodated. A tripe which was done among other things, point out these same authors, on the day of the local festival, in autumn, at Mardi Gras, at Easter, or at Christmas!
Recipes, you can find many on the internet (n’in déteuper des monts dins l’toéle)! So try the fairly simple one by Yves Sudrès (work cited above).
The sheep of salt marshes, which graze on the molières in the Bay of Somme and Authie, areas covered during high tides, have been renowned for several centuries. De Wailly and Crampon write in The Folklore of Picardy (see above) : “In the 18th century, the Intendant had the marshes of Marquenterre dried out to raise ewes of great reputation already since it was from Châteauneuf, in the bay of Authie, that Marie-Antoinette received twelve ewes judged by the king to be the most beautiful in France. They will be, in 1789, the last amusement of the queen in her park of Trianon where she liked to play the farmer“.
And the sheep, in addition to its place in the nativity scene, was also present in the religious ceremonies of Christmas. We can still read from the pen of Wailly and Crampon that, in some of the Picardy churches, the shepherds once brought a lamb to midnight mass to have it blessed, and that “In Crotoy, until 1822, a sheep was offered to the priest at the first Christmas he celebrated in the parish.“.
There is now a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) “Prés-Salés de la Baie de Somme”.
Pierre Coucke and Patrick Villechaize offer in their collection (cited above) a recipe that combines Picardy and the north of France with a sautéed foreshore lamb with dark beer.
This traditional pastry whose origin dates back to the Middle Ages is present in Picardy, as well as throughout the north of France, in Champagne and in Belgium. In the book Picardy epular mores (Annals of the CRDP of Amiens, 1977), Jeannine and René Debrie cite many variants: cogno (Glossary of Abbé Corblet, 1851, who defines it as a “small round bread that we make at Christmas“), quintet (“in Bray-sur-Somme, cake with four corners in the shape of an X“by Abbé Leroy in a work of 1904), cuignet (reported to Montonvillers in a manuscript of 1894”common brioche-like pastry in the shape of an elongated bread (…)“), and still cognié, quignou, quéniou, cogneu in several towns to the east of the Somme.
In the north of France and Belgium, this pastry is Christmas shell or queniole, or even cugnolle or fisquemalles.
Does the cugnot represent a little swaddled Jesus? If this pastry is now closely linked to the Christmas period, this was not always the case. The X shape or with four corners is not attested everywhere. Still according to Jeannine and René Debrie, this brioche was a “Christmas cake, dry and flat” in Domart-sur-la-Luce, “crescent shaped” Where “flat and narrow“ at Hesbécourt, or even round as Abbé Corblet pointed out (see above). And for Jacques de Wailly and Maurice Crampon (The Folklore of Picardy1968), the “cugnet” is in Thiérache and Ham “an elongated bun ending in four points, perhaps in memory of the star“!
Finally, the same Wailly and Crampon point out a tradition of Amiens and Santerre: the young girl presented the cugnet to her promised during the Christmas family meal. At midnight, the young man had to start it, avoiding touching a (knitting) needle placed inside. If he hesitated, it was because he was not ripe for marriage; if his knife met the needle, he was to regale society!
You will find as many recipes as there are different names for this Christmas pastry. Test A sacred cugnot!, the recipe offered by the website of the Aisne department.
Finally, do you know the Amiens dariole? This pie comes directly from the Middle Ages! De Wailly and Crampon (quoted above) remind us that Montaigne and Rabelais praised those of the Amiens cabaret of the pastichier Guillot, one “fourteen ancient and aromatic scorches” of Amiens. According to Rabelais, Pantagruel delighted in “darioles, more precious to his taste than the porphyries and marbles of Florence“.
This pastry bears the same name as the mold that was used to make it, a tapered mold of a few centimeters. You can also use pie pans to make it.
Try the recipe from the Cuisine Classique association, whose main objective is to promote the richness and diversity of France’s food and culinary heritage.
Good appetite to all, and happy holidays!