September in the Périgord means duck soup

September 2nd, 2009

Or should I say, rooster soup?  While September winds rustle in the maple trees, a pot of soup simmers away on the back burner.  Rich aromas of leeks, carrots and herbs in chicken soup fill the house.  After Sunday’s delicious dinner of braised coquelets, the obvious follow-up is to fill a kettle with vegetables, the trimmed wings and necks  (no feet this time) and gizzards of the little roosters. One advantage of living in southwestern France is an abundant supply of poultry – all sorts of feathered fowl.  So, when a friend thins out the number of young roosters in her chicken coop, the meaty little birds are on the menu.  They are bought with necks intact, so these and the wing tips are loped off for Monday’s rich broth.  With fond memories of Julia Child’s inimitable “Making Chicken Bouillon”  TV episode, I pull the gizzard, heart and liver out to reserve as well. The hands-on approach becomes second nature when fresh fowl is so much a part of the culinary landscape.  Actually, the coquelet can be prepared as you would squab or quail or small game birds: they need to be wrapped in strips of smoked bacon to retain flavor, stuffed with garlic and herbs, then roasted or braised in red wine. In this Bergerac region, there’s no shortage of red wine.

It does take time, making soup, and in France, “…time bows at the altar of gastronomy” as Roger Cohen observed in Monday’s  International Herald Tribune (August 31, page 7, Views). In an article titled, Advantage France, he cleverly recounts the ceremonial trimming of canettes (female ducklings) in a French market, and ladles out astute philosophy while noting innate cultural differences.  Being more involved with our food sources, and the less appealing tasks of preparation is, well, part of the process.  It is, as Cohen points out, connected to time, place and terroir.  And often this can’t be specifically translated, but ….it can be tasted.

September’s bites :  White figs,  Limousin markets, making fresh chèvre, and notes on the almond harvest.


  1. inge says

    nice stories Marolyn and nice new website

    September 20th, 2009 | #

  2. marolyn says

    thanks, Inge! stay tuned for more diversity in upcoming posts…

    September 21st, 2009 | #

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