Roots to be Savoured
Chef Jean-Michel Lafarge’s stew of forgotten vegetables
At Domaines Barons de Rothschild Lafite, it is impossible to talk about “roots” without going through the kitchen.
The shorter the distance between the roots and the table, the more delicious the dish. Though neither offically proverbial or scientifically proven, the truth of this statement lies very much in the pudding – or, in this case, the stew – produced from vegetables grown in the Lafite garden, mere meters from our kitchen.
There, amongst the carrots and the coriander, you can find Chef Jean-Michel Lafarge drawing inspiration whatever the season, and crafting dishes in accordance with Nature’s offering. With an organic farming certification underway on all our estates, from vineyard to orchard to garden, we are fortunate enough to find rhe very best produce quite litterally on our doorstep.
Here, Jean-Michel’s recipe for a “forgotten” vegetable stew – starring ancient root vegetables, unjustly fallen from fashion when it comes to cuisine. A comforting starter, to keep your feet on the ground and warm the heart’s cockles (whatever they are).
A word from the chef:
“This recipe reminds me of my brother. It really is a family recipe, because we invented it together for the restaurant he ran in Preignac. At the time, there was a farm of forgotten vegetables nearby, which encouraged us to work with these roots.
Once I arrived in Lafite, I asked the gardener to grow them in the kitchen garden. It is a pleasure to see them grow every year. What do I like about this recipe? First of all, its originality! It is unusual to cook these vegetables together, rather than individually.
Then, its complexity.
The combination of wine and vegetables is always complicated for a chef, especially when you have to do without meat, while keeping a balance that is not too acidic. It’s a nice challenge!”
The quantities indicated are suitable for 4 to 6 people, if the dish is cooked as a starter. You can adapt the quantities for more servings, or if you want to serve the stew as a side dish to a main course. The best accompaniments for this stew? White meat such as chicken to roast, or fish, such as turbot or John Dory (St. Pierre).
2 yellow carrots
They ripen between October and February, depending on the climate. Check that they are firm to the touch and not yet split.
1 large parsnip
The ideal partner for the yellow carrot. Cultivated since ancient times, its name comes from the Latin “panacem“, which means remedy. Choose a firm, creamy white parsnip.
300 grams of chervil root
The shape of this ancient root vegetable resembles a small, very conical carrot. Apart from its name, it has nothing to do with chervil. Its taste is reminiscent of chestnuts and potatoes.
1 large rutabaga
This is a cross between a cabbage and a turnip: A cabbage – turnip. To differentiate it from a turnip, look at the size and colour. The rutabaga is often larger and yellower.
1 nice shallot
In principle, we are on familiar ground. Choose shallots over onions for their milder, sweeter taste, that offers a hint of garlic.
1 bottle of Château Lafite Rothschild
Nothing like a 1er Grand Cru Classé to add style. A second bottle – , to be enjoyed with the meal, would be fitting. Favour younger vintages.
2 litres of vegetable stock
The best way to obtain a quality broth is still to make it yourself. In 2 litres of water, add the following ingredients: 5 grams of peeled onions, 1 clove of garlic, 1 bay leaf, 1 nice sprig of thyme, a small stalk of celery (or lovage, a wild celery), a few whole peppercorns, 1 clove and some parsley stems. Simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside until the next day. Strain.
In the oven: Steps
1 . Start by carefully peeling and cleaning the vegetables.
2 . Poach the vegetables in the hot stock, one vegetable at a time. Be careful not to overcook them.
3 . Pour the wine into another container to cook and flambé. Reduce the wine until it is syrupy.
4 . Chop the shallot and sweat it in hot butter. Make sure it does not brown.
5 . Pour the reduced wine over the shallots. Then add the stock and reduce by half.
6 . Season with salt and pepper and a little brown sugar.
7 . Place the diced vegetables in the mixture. Keep a few for plating purposes.
8 . Garnish with the rest of the diced vegetables, serve and enjoy hot.