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For the last 35 years, renowned chef Raymond Blanc has inspired the world with his cooking.
It's about celebrating that gorgeous glorious food and sharing a special moment with your loved ones.
Now he's opening his kitchen and sharing his secrets.
I've made all the mistakes which could be made so you don't have to make them yourself.
-Showing, with a little effort...
-Food is so, so beautiful.
..anyone can bring some joy to the dinner table.
Even the most complicated dish is not impossible to make.
On Kitchen Secrets, Raymond shares his favourite recipes for two of the most seasonal ingredients.
-Tres bien. Nice.
-What's happened to her?
On the menu, sep tortellini with fresh pasta.
Served with sage butter and toasted hazelnuts.
With produce like that, you know, it's heaven.
A tasty supper dish of pheasant in puff pastry.
It looks stunning and it tastes absolutely marvellous.
A simple fricassee that celebrates wild mushrooms.
And to finish, an impressive whole pigeon cooked in its own salt crust.
You must have this once in your lifetime.
In his Oxfordshire kitchen, Raymond puts seasonality at the core of his cooking.
Can I have some more sage? Can you give me some sage which is big sage, not baby sage?
First, a mushroom tortellini.
If you cannot find the seps, no problem.
Get nice big fat Portobello mushrooms. They're fleshy and lovely.
Make sure they are young.
Raymond is using seps, also called porcini or penny buns.
They are prized by mushroom lovers for their earthy flavour.
Cutting them very fine like that.
You can do that in here as well. It's a bit inelegant.
Particularly with seps, give them the right treatment.
Olive oil, tres bien.
Now we can go.
So make sure it's very hot.
We want to brown them a little bit.
Not too much, but just a bit of colour. Lightly brown.
Very, very quick. About two minutes on strong heat.
Add some finely chopped shallots and a crushed garlic clove.
Tres bien. Oh. That is so lovely.
OK. I put a bit of lemon juice to keep them nice and white. OK.
And also to bring out the flavour.
With produce like that, you know, it's heaven for a cook. No?
They're the best.
Now begin the fresh pasta.
Give a good clean here. Take that out. Clear all that out.
Raymond is using 200 grams of flour and two eggs.
80...183 gram, so instead of 200 gram you give me 183 gram.
You inched it out earlier, sorry, Chef, when you was drying it.
-Well, if you seen that, just replace it.
-Yeah, I didn't realise.
A food processor makes pasta-making very simple.
I'm not very technical.
Never been in my life.
Pulse the flour and eggs together.
And then you finish off with the hand. Just a tiny bit of flour.
What we are doing here, I'm doing a number of things.
I make that gluten work out, also I'm pressing in the water so better absorption by the flour.
And when you eat a good pasta that you have a nice chew that it's been well worked out.
If I do my pasta like that straightway it wouldn't be very good so I give it nice body and strength.
Then chill the pasta for at least 30 minutes before you start to roll it.
Voila, so we've got our first through here which is nice.
So I will do a double joint here.
-Pasta can be rolled by hand, but a machine creates a smooth and even finish.
Thin it down as you go along.
And when I'm rolling I'm slightly stretching the pasta.
Roll to a thickness of 1mm.
Egg yolk. Is it done, please?
Voila. Tres bien.
Egg yolk sticks the pasta together.
And then wrap
this side here and you just seal.
OK. Seal in between.
So make sure you don't have air as well inside because air will expand and burst your ravioli.
Use a pastry cutter to shape the tortellini evenly.
It's a bit more work but it's quite lovely.
The best way is to press the middle here.
Then bring the two ends here, bring it back and press.
OK. Please, Dan, can you give me a hand, please?
So we can tidy up here before we cook the ravioli. Thank you very much.
So now that my tortellinis are ready, the whole dish comes together.
You need to boil them. It mustn't be a simmering boil.
It must be a galloping boil.
A full boil so the water doesn't sift through the tortellini
into the stuffing. OK.
Boiling water cooks the pasta quickly and reduces the risk of it bursting.
Three looks too small when it sits in a line. Four looks always wrong.
But five works. Somehow five does work.
Next, a herb butter sauce.
You just need that much of butter.
So that's for one portion.
Start it to colour nicely.
Add finely chopped chives and sage with a little water to create an emulsion.
And a dash of lemon juice just to sharpen it up.
That's a simple jus and works so well with that little bit of cheese.
So very simple little jus.
Finish with some chopped toasted hazelnuts.
My god, it's lovely.
Raymond puts provenance at the forefront of his approach to cooking.
-Beautiful rolling mountains here.
-He's in Scotland with his restaurant maintenance manager Steve Truman.
They're joining a game shoot on the Trinity Gask Estate near Auchterarder in Perthshire.
If he still wants his job tomorrow, I think he knows very well I'm a very bad loser.
Still after 35 years in Great Britain.
And the one who is going to get the most today is going to be me.
It's got to be.
Jamie Roberts is the estate owner.
So what are we going to shoot today?
Well, we're going to do two drives.
We're going to do a duck drive and then we're going to do a pheasant drive.
Do you trust a Frenchman close to you with a gun?
Well, if I stand very close I should be OK.
You should say yes, because, come on, guys, there is an old alliance here.
Those guys they've got much more to fear than you have.
They're English, OK.
Beautiful. My god.
Do you remember which one? Yeah, that's your one.
Yours is the smallest. OK.
For Raymond, shooting his own food makes perfect sense.
For me, there is no hypocrisy about food, OK? And killing game to eat it seems to be perfectly straight.
Fine. As long as you don't make the animal suffer.
And, of course...
Shoot in front to the left.
Right, got your go.
-No duck for Raymond.
-I think it's a very good day for the birds.
There will be a lot of happy ducks that will not end up, OK, into the pot for tonight.
So c'est la vie. Sometimes they win, sometimes you lose, so today I lost.
It's all right.
-You did well.
-Oh, fair enough. It's OK.
Next, another chance with a pheasant shoot where beaters drive the pheasants from the woods.
So the wind's picking up now, which is going to help us, I think.
Oh, can't believe it!
That's a good one. That's all right.
A good one.
Yeah, and again.
Come onto the bird. So find the bird with your gun and bring it up to you.
Here we go.
Ah, fantastic. Look at that one.
There you go.
OK, lower your gun and put another one in. There you go.
This is my trademark again.
Shot in the head.
Always. You know I shoot very few pheasants, but always in the head.
-Swap that one over. Slange.
-Thank you, guys.
Slange. Thank you.
Long live the pheasant population, grouse and partridges.
-And sloe gin too.
Next, a pheasant pithivier.
Layers of buttery puff pastry filled with pheasant, mushrooms, chestnuts and herbs.
Pithivier is a very extraordinary word.
Very French of course.
And the techniques come from France. It's basically a pasty, OK?
For the filling, Raymond's using female pheasants which are more tender than the males.
OK, tres bien. So now we are going to remove the legs.
OK. Tres bien.
Breast off. OK.
-Legs and breasts removed, keep the carcass to one side.
That is for the sauce.
Doesn't look very much at the moment, but it is for the sauce. Adam, please.
So to me, pheasant, I find it quite dry, OK.
So the way I'm going to cook it will remove all these problems.
Raymond is going to comfit the legs in duck fat.
A traditional French technique that ensures a flavoursome finish and succulent texture.
First, the legs are cured in a mix of of garlic, bay, thyme, juniper, pepper and salt.
That looks grey.
It's not dirty. It's called fleur de sel
and it's collected at the top of the sea and it's not been treated.
It's absolutely au natural.
After curing for six hours, the legs are ready to be cooked in duck fat for an hour and a half.
So we're going to bring that to a fat temperature of 80 up to 90 degree, but never more than that.
My grinder here.
-The pheasant breasts are pan fried.
That beautiful browning process here where all the sugar of the pheasant are browning, caramelising.
I want it to relax a little bit.
I was advised by a good friend, how to know
if it is medium by touching or medium rare.
How do you know? If you press that muscle here, it is rare.
You should touch your thumb and first finger, it's medium rare.
between medium rare and medium.
That is medium. Medium well.
And then here, because the muscle is going to tense up more,
it's well done and you know what,
I completely agree with that piece of advice.
That's medium rare.
Adam, could I have the next one please.
The filling is finished with a mix of onions and mushrooms to which Raymond adds seasonal ingredients.
We would crumble the chestnuts inside.
Just crumble them. Put the blueberries.
You can put whatever you want inside.
Dan, please could I have the pheasant breast?
Add the chopped breasts.
Now I'm nearly, nearly finished.
Then the comfit legs.
A good comfit, the bone should leave and it's still moist inside.
Just chop it up. Wonderful flavour inside your Pithivier.
Next, roll out all butter puff pastry
until it's two millimetres thick.
OK, so the thickness is very important, OK. Too thin,
the meat is going to go through. Too thick, it's going to be concrete.
So very heavy, huh?
Cut into discs. You can use a large cutter or a saucer.
-Once cool, the filling is ready to go into the pastry.
About 60 grams of each.
Voila. And I press on it
to get the shape.
Stay here, you. Voila.
That on the top here. Around your finger, use
the shape of your finger to make sure that is moving the air away as well.
And then I'm pressing both edges so they can stick.
It's now crucial that the pastry is chilled before being cut.
Because if I cut them now, you see now the pastry is soft.
When you cut it you're going to compress those layers and there will be no rise.
I want my Pithivier or pasty to rise.
Adam, please put that in the deep freeze for five minutes.
Once chilled, you can trim the edges.
Next, a sauce made from the reserved pheasant carcass.
I am about to show you a lovely little sauce you can make easy at home. OK?
Maybe a little bit of alcohol.
So with my carcass pheasant.
After caramelisation I'm going to place it here.
Add some roughly chopped onion and celery to the pan.
Just blond caramelisation.
Not too strong. Just blond. OK.
You notice I don't add the mushroom at the same time as the onions. Why?
If I add the mushroom now, the mushrooms are going to give their juices.
That's defeating the object.
Now, return the browned pheasant bones.
And then add some Madeira.
And now I'm going to add about only 100 gram.
Being careful not to spill any on an open flame.
I shouldn't have done that. That's not clever.
That's less clever as well.
May I tell you why? Because that's how you burn the meat on the top. OK?
The same amount. 50-50.
So you taste. Very important.
Because you want most of the alcohol to go away, otherwise it's going to be very bitter.
The sign of a bad sauce is when it's aggressive, bitter, acid, alcoholic.
Now simmer for 20 minutes.
When ready, strain the sauce and thicken with a little arrowroot.
Voila. Voila. That's it. Perfect.
Glaze the pushovers with egg yolk.
If you want a bit of shine, you can put a bit of salt into your egg yolk.
I don't know why. I've got to find that out, OK, and then I'll tell you.
But if you know, let me know.
The pithiviers go into a preheated fan oven at 200 degrees centigrade for 15 minutes.
Adam, look as well.
Voila. They're lovely.
Serve with the sauce and decorate with some warmed walnuts, prunes and golden raisins.
That Madeira goes very well.
It's nice and sweet.
So out of ten?
-Eight and a half, Chef.
-Eight and a half.
-My god, I've got to try harder.
Lovely little James.
Scotland's woodlands are famous for their wild mushrooms.
Passionate foragers Raymond and Steve are visiting keen mushroom hunter Alan Murray.
-Raymond. How are you? You finally made it. Oh.
-I told you I would.
-I know, I know, but we've been counting the days.
Oh, we're so happy to see you.
This is a lovely perfectly formed Scottish girolle here, and I know you've never picked
a girolle ever in your life, and I thought you were a mushroom man.
Oh, my gosh.
-Voila. What a perfectly beautifully formed girolle.
-There we go.
That smell of apricots and almonds.
Girolles grow all over Europe, but those found in Scotland
are the most highly prized for their pungent aroma.
So if we just go up here a bit.
I think I know a spot where we'll get some more of these girolle.
OK. I've got two little girolle here.
Look at that, guys.
That's lovely, guys. That must be the last of the baby girolle.
They grow in mossy forested areas, appearing a few days after heavy rainfall.
Here's some more, Raymond.
Have you ever noticed... I find when there's gullies like this,
they seem to be on the top as if they're sucking the moisture out of the water trenches up this way,
so that they get the moisture but they're not swimming in it.
I used to make a lot of money out of girolle. From the age of seven, I was
a very rich young man because every wild mushroom I would sell it to market places.
I would sell it to restaurants, and you know which is the best payer?
-Well, it won't be the restaurants.
-It is the restaurants.
-Sell it to my place, that's what I'm saying.
-OK, I will then.
When I get lots, I will.
-Brilliant, thank you very much, Alan...
-Oh, my pleasure.
..for introducing me in your neck of the woods.
You'll be back. I know, I saw the look in your eyes. You'll be back.
-I can see the sep season coming.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah.
-Both of you will be back.
-Definitely be back.
-Right, shall we?
OK, let's go.
In the kitchen, the Scottish haul is supplemented by a few extra mushrooms.
Tres bien, voila.
Raymond's next dish is a simple mushroom fricassee.
So we're going to cook a few of them.
-OK, you cook them, I cook them?
-I'll cook them.
-You cook them.
-Steve cook them.
Although any fresh mushroom will work in this recipe, Raymond is using four particular favourites.
-They're lovely, yeah.
-He has chanterelles, girolles, pied de moutan and trompette de l'amour.
Trompette de l'amour, OK, always, well, you know
that anyway, open them up because there is bits of forest inside.
So open it up like that.
OK. No tree inside. Now we're OK.
Tres bien. Voila.
Very gently with the finger.
Don't break them. They're delicate.
OK. A mistake people do often is to soak the mushrooms in water.
Never leave them more than 10, 15 seconds in water otherwise they soak up. They're a sponge.
Raymond adds a squeeze of lemon juice to the water.
Again, more flavour. OK.
And more, it will prevent the oxidisation.
Discoloration of the mushroom.
Raymond and Steve prepare the other ingredients.
Finely diced tomato and chopped parsley, chervil and tarragon.
I need your fingers, you know that. The business needs your fingers.
Perfect. Not too fine. Want a nice chew inside. That's all right.
To start, melt a little butter in a small frying pan.
The whole lot?
Next, add some finely chopped shallot and some crushed garlic.
Just throw it in.
When I am in somebody else's home, I will probably be the one who
appreciate it the most because I understand the effort.
No browning, Steve. No browning.
Voila. Just put them in. Not all.
Just those. Voila.
Tres bien. Those will cook together.
The shallots softened, add all the mushrooms except the trompette de l'amour.
You put those at the last moment because they cook for five seconds
and they can discolour completely your fricassee. That's perfect.
Voila. That's it. Just to give...
-..a bit of acidity.
-And a little water creates a jus.
Tres bien. To make the nice jus.
Add the chopped herbs, tomato, and the fricassee is ready to serve.
Just put it in the middle. Right in the middle.
Voila. It's so simple.
Just pour it in. Brilliant.
-Simple and lovely.
-Taste of the forest.
-Forest on a plate.
-Thank you very much. Cheers.
-And thank you for everything. Really thank you.
-Pleasure. Thank you.
For his final recipe, Raymond returns to a classic.
A pigeon baked in a salt crust.
I did this dish 25 years ago and it's still modern in its concept.
It's still very much loved.
That's what classic are all about.
This is the old truffle pigeon or the wood pigeon. That one is special.
It's a special one.
Raymond is using a French farm-raised pigeon known as squab. You'll need one per person.
No seasoning. No salt, because remember, we are going to put it into a salt crust.
So no seasoning.
The pigeons are seared in hot goose fat to brown the skin for extra flavour.
Finish off, OK, the side.
OK, tres bien.
And then now we are going to do our salt crust.
Although not eaten, the salt crust prevents
small and lean game like pigeon from becoming dry and overcooked.
Put one kilo of plain flour into a mixer.
Add 600 grams of fine salt and nine egg whites.
Enormous amount of salt. You don't eat it.
It's really to seal the meat and get a very special flavour.
I'm going to prepare it. Cut it into four.
Chill the dough for 30 minutes before rolling to a thickness of five millimetres.
So now I'm ready to wrap the squabs into the dough.
To decorate the salt crust, Raymond cuts out some wings.
Place it breast down.
OK. To help the sticking,
that's the egg yolk.
Not too much, otherwise if you put too much it will not stick, it will slide.
So lift this side here, tres bien.
And then lift. Put your breast.
Pressing right so there is no air pocket whatsoever.
Doesn't look very pretty at the moment, but it will.
We are going to do the head.
Pigeon without head is not good.
Pinch the beak.
For eyes, two cloves are perfect.
This technique works without the need for decoration,
-but for Raymond, the extra effort is worthwhile.
So all you have to do is finish it off with the egg yolk on it.
All over. That's what is going to give it its wonderful colour.
Don't chop his head off.
Not yet. Later.
The last finish
that you do is salt.
The salt crust pastry shell protects the meat from the heat creating an oven within an oven.
In an oven, the temperature goes very high and the meat detract.
Here, the heat go very, very slowly, permeating the meat quietly inside.
Changing completely the texture and the flavour.
The pigeons are cooked for 20 minutes at 220 degrees centigrade.
Can we have some fennel tops? Just the top of the fennel.
To go with the pigeon, cabbage.
I'm asking for cabbage. Look, they give me lettuce.
It's amazing. Amazing!
When the cabbage arrives, it's quartered and steamed.
Raymond is also serving his favourite.
The fricassee of wild mushrooms.
So, of course, as a cook, anything wrapped into something you cannot see, cannot smell or touch.
It's rather unnerving what's happening inside. Is it overcooked?
Is it undercooked? And you've got all sorts of nightmares. Doubts.
To serve, remove the pigeon from the crust.
Yes, you guillotine it.
Well, come on, out, that's it. That's perfect. Tres bien.
Slice the blade gently towards.
Voila. Quite a nice medium, actually.
I think that is one of the most beautiful food experience you may have.
It's unctuous. Most melting quality.
You must taste it once in your lifetime.
Have you ever tasted squab before?
-I grew up with very dry pheasant.
Poor you. Sorry.
-How is it?
It's amazing how the salt crust has seasoned the breast so well.
-It's seasoned perfectly.
-See, for my mother, that would be too rare, but that's delicious.
OK, tell your mother we can teach her a few tricks. Is it possible?
Could you tell her, Chef?
Of course I'll tell her. OK, thank you, mate.
OK, good. Lovely.
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