A Friday the 13th is remarkable, but it is even more so when the chef of the restaurant Bleu Lavande in Mouans Sartoux, Bernard Leclerc and his wife Corinne, invited us to discover his famous recipe “L’Oreiller de la Belle Aurore.”
There are recipes that you dream to achieve once in a lifetime because they are gargantuan, extravagant and ruinous. It’s almost a habit for Bernard Leclerc, former starred chef of “La Poêle d’Or” in Cannes, very attached to the culinary heritage and already renowned for its famous “Lièvre à la Royale” of Senator Couteaux. For three days, he has been deploying his culinary expertise to concoct L’Oreiller de la Belle Aurore (the Belle Aurore’s Pillow), a king’s pâté for 25 journalists present for the occasion in this place with southern accents, with taupe and blue lavender colors.
The Oreiller de la Belle Aurore, a rich rectangular pie, cosy as a pillow, soft on the palate as on the nose, is composed of different fillets of meat and various fillings, cushion of veal, red partridge, saddle of hare, chicken, duck, veal sweetbreads and pork tenderloin, all enclosed in two rolled-out pastry dough.
While the logs were crackling in the fireplace and diffusing a soft heat in the room of the restaurant Bleu Lavande, the round tables with beautiful white tablecloths invited us, after a welcome of champagne, oysters from Cancale and roasted scallops, to taste a “menu à l’ancienne” starting with a delicious consommé Germiny followed by the impressive and consistent Oreiller de la Belle Aurore.
The interior of the pâté has the appearance of a mosaic of bright and varied colors, its crust is all imbued with a creamy blend of fresh butter and chicken livers, has a tender bite and melts in the mouth. The pâté, accompanied by young shoots of wild roquette, reminds us that we are here reliving a nice moment in culinary history.
The Oreiller de la Belle Aurore was conceived by the famous gastronome and poet of the gourmandise Brillat-Savarin (born in Belley in 1755) in honor of his mother, Claudine Aurore Récamier, reffered to as “La Belle Aurore”. Today, the Oreiller de la Belle Aurore is the pâté of French gastronomy. The greatest chefs of the century were passionate about it and have revived it nowadays. Lucien Tendret, lawyer in Belley, published the recipe in 1892 in his book “The Table In Brillat-Savarin’s Country”.
We recovered from our savoury sensations with the nice interlude of the refreshing tangy-tasting cheese, the creamy Brillat-Savarin. To top it all, a delicious dessert delighted our taste buds: the timeless Soufflé Chaud au Grand Marnier Cuvée Alexandre Louis, with its featherlight texture and perfectly fragrant aroma. The dinner was accompanied by a cuvee Castrum Domaine des Grands Esclans.
The restaurant Bleu Lavande is located on a hill overlooking the roundabout between Biot, Valbonne and Sophia-Antipolis. This modern Provencal house offers traditional regional cuisine, respecting the seasons, products and terroirs. It’s been managed for six years by chef Bernard Leclerc, one Michelin star, surrounded by his wife Corinne and his brigade.
«The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star.» Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin
Restaurant Bleu Lavande
28, chemin de Pinchinade – 06370 Mouans-Sartoux
Tél. 33 (0)4 93 12 28 01
Proceedings of the recipe “Oreiller de la Belle Aurore”
Day 1: dice half of the veal and pork, cut the rest into strips.
Blanch the sweetbreads, clean them, cut them into sticks.
Bone the hare, cut all the flesh into strips; do the same for partridges, chickens, ducks. Put everything to marinate with vinegar, olive oil, onion roundels, bouquet garni for 12 hours.
Blanch the marrow bones to extract the marrow and reserve into ice water.
Day 2: separate white and brown flesh.
Chop with a knife veal, pork, chicken, bacon; salt and pepper, add 1 egg and breadcrumbs soaked in milk.
Do the same with the brown meat. Add truffles, egg, breadcrumbs soaked in milk and season.
Prepare the puff pastry. Batter and layering.
Cook in cold water: hock and foot calf, cloves quilted onions, bouquet garni, cognac, orange zest, salt, pepper. Skip this cooking through damp cloth.
Day 3: cut large squares of puff pastry.
Lay the first on a baking sheet, deposit on it strips of veal and stuffing. Then do the same with each item until all the ingredients is gone, plus truffles and pistachios, alternating brown and white meat. At the end, put some nuts of butter.
Cover with another square of puff pastry. Brush with egg, make 4 stacks on top to allow steam to get out during cooking. Cook for 2 hours at 180 ° C.
After cooling, pour the jelly made with all the carcasses.
Leave to rest for at least one night before serving with a Châteauneuf-du-Pape fruity white wine or a cuvee Castrum Domaine des Grands Esclans in La Motte with aromas of ripe fruit.
Click on pictures to enlarge.