Lunch with my husband
Friday was the last day before the Toussaint. It is a Christian holiday to honor and pray for the deceased (All Saints day – November 1st and All Souls day November 2nd), where relatives gather and visit family graves, decorating them with chrysanthemums, which is the official flower for Toussaint. The kids get to have a well-deserved two weeks holiday from school, the best treat they could ever get. This time of the year is all about union and family, celebrating fall with all the pumpkins, squashes, mushrooms, brown ferns, acorns and pomegranates.
My husband and I realized it was the last Friday before a two-week fanfare parade at home with les enfants, so we decided to have late romantic lunch. Our days are filled with non-stop activities, from work, dogs, gardening, cooking and kids, so we really value a bit of quiet time together. We were thinking of going out to a nearby bistrot, but luckily I had a duet of coquelets in the fridge, and lots of squashes on my kitchen table, almost too pretty to eat. As much as I enjoy eating out, I had a great recipe in mind for those little chickens so we just had to stay in. I layed an elegant yet rustic table, opened a bottle of St Julien wine, and we happily savoured coquelets à la moutarde (spring chicken with mustard), roast thyme potatoes and baked squashes with garlic cream. Sometimes simplicity works best. This meal is inspired by all the countless lunches we had in Paris at Yves Camdeborde’s ‘le Relais du Comptoir‘ (9 Carrefour de l’Odéon 75006 Paris). It’s one of our regular (and favourite) places to eat for numerous reasons. The food is excellent, we adore Yves Camdeborde, the terrasse is charming, they have given me the best seats throughout my pregnancies, seen all our kids grow up and you can eat there at any time of the day. The menu is fantastic and we always order the same dishes. ‘Coquelet à la moutarde’ or ‘Joue de boeuf with coquillettes’ (beef cheeks with small shell pasta). When we are back in Paris, it’s one of our first obligatoire stops.
The squash with garlic cream was a little last-minute idea. Baking it nearly naked (only with one garlic clove, salt & pepper) was simple, so I wanted to add crème fraîche for extra density (I just can’t help it, I love cream and butter so much). The cream melts in the squash and does the job all by itself creating a perfect garlic cream mash. It was a real hit!
Roast coquelets à la moutarde (serves 2)
2 coquelets (spring chickens, or you can roast 1 chicken)
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp strong classic mustard (I use Maille)
1 tbsp Savora mustard (it’s a special mix of mustard and spices – available at supermarkets – I also love using this for my quiche lorraine)
Preheat oven 180°C/350°F.
In a bowl, mix 3 tbsp of mustard, 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt. Place chicken in a roasting pan. Spread the mustard marinade all over the chicken including the cavity. Place one garlic clove in each chicken and a 2-3 small sprigs of thyme. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Halfway in cooking time, pour some of the dripping on the chicken. Repeat if necessary. Bake for 35-40 minutes for a coquelet (spring chicken) or 1 hour-1 hour and a half if you are using a larger chicken.
Baked squash with garlic cream (serves 2)
2 squashes (I used carnival squash, but you can use any small-sized variety)
2 garlic cloves (peeled)
120 ml/ 1/2 cup crème fraîche per squash (alternatively you can use sour cream)
Salt & pepper for seasoning
Preheat oven 180°C/350°F
Slice the top part of the squash (leaving you with a lid), remove the seeds. Season the inside of the squash with salt and pepper, add one peeled garlic clove and close the lid.
Place squash in a roasting pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until soft. When ready, remove the lid and leave to cool on a plate. Scoop out the garlic and 2 tsp of squash and add to the crème fraîche. You can mash it up with a fork or place in a food processor and mix for a few seconds for a creamier sauce. Pour cream back into squash and close the lids. Serve on a plate with a spoon.
Roast thyme potatoes
Preheat oven 180°C/350°F
10-12 small potatoes, roasting types (I count 5-6 small potatoes per person)
Sprigs of fresh thyme (or dried thyme)
Coarse sea salt
60 ml/ 1/4 cup olive oil
Rinse potatoes, slice them in half or quarters depending on size. Place in roasting pan, drizzle with olive oil, sprigs of thyme and coarse sea salt. Mix well and bake for 35-45 minutes (give the potatoes a good stir halfway).
You can roast both the potatoes and the chicken at the same time. I start with the potatoes first for 15 minutes, then add the chicken to the pan – this saves space & time.
A beautiful lunch in an idyllic setting – can’t complain!
Mmm, sounds wonderful. Any idea of the spices in the Savora mustard to allow this American to come up with a plausible substitute?
I really like the idea of the baked squash because, of course, squash and cream love each other. 🙂
Bonjour from Médoc! Savora mustard has a hint of clove, cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg, celeri salt, garlic, tarragon, honey, malt vinegar & cayenne pepper. I believe if you had a tiny pinch of each ingredients you will get something similar. I hope this helps! Mimix
Your lunch looks fantastic! I too would be interested in what spices make up the Savora mustard 🙂 Beautiful photos as always!
Hello from Médoc! Thanks for your kind comments. it was a delicious lunch indeed. Savora mustard has a hint of clove, cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg, celeri salt, garlic, tarragon, honey, malt vinegar & cayenne pepper. I believe if you had a tiny pinch of each ingredients you will get something similar. Is this not an easy product to find in the US (the brand is Amora, a bit like our local Heinz)? I always used this as a condiment/mustard for dressings, but I discovered how wonderful it is for roasting, and I recently added a spoonful to my quiche Lorraine recipe – I love it. I hope this helps! Mimix
Thank you! I’ll have to try making it sometimes…maybe it would go great with the Finnish Christmas ham baked in the wood oven.
Lovely…the nice thing about cooking at home is any day can be special.
Yet another mesmerizing post. I love the simplicity of your stories and the mouth watering recipes!
absolument dé-li-cieux! les photos sont merveilleuses et les recettes à copier!
FB page: Luce d’Eventi
The pictures of the roast chicken are lovely. You can find the mustard on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Amora-Savora-Spice-French-Condiment/dp/B00171GVAO
Ah that’s great to know Patricia! Thanks!
Beautiful lunch – wonderful photos, as always. I love your puppies.
I share your sentiments about Le Relais du Comptoir. One of our favorites in Paris.
Will look for and try Savora mustard. Thanks for the tip.
Wow, what a beautiful lunch! Looked too pretty to eat (not really, hehe).
hmm. this looks delicious. I love autumn just for the multiple things you can do with squash and pumpkin! I’m definitely this meal this weekend when I go home to Normandie. I might cook the chicken with some calvados instead… check http://www.jouli-kouli.com to see how it turns out! x
I love the idea of the baked squash with garlic cream. I’m definitely going to do it. Thank you for the inspiration!
You are unbelievably talented Mimi!
[…] I’m very lucky to be able to have lunch with my husband every day. With our budget we eat very little meat, but the baked squash with garlic cream sounds […]
Tout ça, c’est très romantique! Everything looks delicious, and I love the pictures.
I made the Carnival squash as a side dish for Thanksgiving, but baked it for about 15 minutes longer, it was not quite done after 45 minutes but it was very good. And so pretty – my son thought it was a decoration rather than something to eat!