The idea for this Bordeaux dinner had been on my plate (pun intended) for about one year since my friends Dianne and Bob suggested it . Doing the dinner is not the problem it is the scheduling that is tough to arrange as there is always one of the guests who can't make it THAT night. We finally decided on a week night and it all worked out . I offered to do the cooking as I thought this would be a special occasion and a treat that a lot of folks would not appreciate at its true value and meaning. Now forgive me if I offended anyone, it's just that it is really really unique to be invited and participate in a dinner like this. I had written a three courses menu and send it to Bob who had no objections and no problem with matching the wine to the food so I went with that menu idea. First he opened a bottle of Veuve Cliquot Rose as a toast was in order; it was perfectly crisp and as perfect as one can expect.
Six guests total was the perfect number and Dianne's kitchen is just great and has everything and then some that any Chef might need. I did not serve any finger food before dinner as the portions were more than adequate and I believe in having something on my plate that I can savor through more than one bite. Bob is a wine connaisseur and has an impressive collection which he showed us and one of his oldest wines is a Barsac 1947 ! I was way in the zone, no question.
For this dinner he had chosen a Bordeaux from St Julien, Chateau Gruaud Larroze. The years ? 1989, 1986 and 1982 . Wow ! All reds for this dinner were just right, starting with the 89 and so on.
I am always in awe when I find myself at the table with great food, great wine and great friends. We all know that it is pretty tough to have those three things at the same time but when we do , it becomes special and that is what I call the perfect ingredients in the making of memories recipe.
This was a great evening relaxing with great conversation and no politics or political correctness in the mix.
Here is the menu:
Crispy sweetbreads,wild mushrooms,Madeira, persillade and frisee
I poached the sweetbreads in milk with aromatics and chilled/pressed them overnight then lightly dredge them in flour and sauteed. Oyster and shitaki mushrooms made a perfect bed for it. Of course the Madeira sauce is ideal with sweetbreads. Nothing new here but traditionally correct.
Wild pheasant, Napa cabbage with my pancetta, Parmentier of pheasant confit, foie gras, spring peas and golden beets. natural pheasant essence.
The boneless breast of pheasant was infused with juniper berries and thyme and pan seared medium pink.The cabbage quickly braised with pancetta and shallots. The essence was all pheasant flavor without the long reducing time which I prefer. This being spring, fresh peas are a must !
Apricot tart with Frangipane
A bit traditional but a lot French and one of my favorite tarts.Of course apricots for dessert scream for a Sauternes and Bob made the perfect choice: Chateau Rieussec 1999 . So well matched !
Bob was not done after dessert and he treated us with a Graham 1983 Port, more wows !
I truly enjoyed cooking this dinner and worked a few hours prepping it in the morning but it was well worth it. The work is one thing but the appreciation of it from the guests is the best. Putting it together was no problem and only fun. Dianne had set up a beautiful table and Bob was at the top of his game in handling the wines.
Chateau Gruaud Larroze1989, 86, 82
Chateau Rieussec 1999
Graham Port 1983
and so it goes !