Wednesday, July 29, 2009

#172 Cucumber Ragout

I chose this unusual recipe as the accompaniment to roast chicken – Griggers really bigs this “delicious” and “piquant” dish up and suggests eating it with chicken, veal or lamb. I had never eaten cucumber as a cooked vegetable before and was not feeling too hopeful about it (she bigged up the Mocha Cake and that was total crap!). However, a quick look in Larousse Gastronomique showed me that we English are missing out on something – there are loads of cooked cucumber recipes! Still dubious, I made it in advance so that if it did become watery pap, I could cook some peas and carrots to go with the chicken!

FYI: the word ragoût can mean two things: a stew (usually poultry or meat), or something usually a bit boring, tarted up into something delicious (from the French ragoûter, to revive the taste), which generally applies to vegetables, particularly if you are French.

Peel and slice two cucumbers and brown them in a wide saucepan with some butter. In a separate pan, brown two medium onions and brown those in some butter too. Place them to a saucepan and add 8 tablespoons of chicken stock and 3 tablespoons of dry white wine. Cover the pan and simmer until the cucumber is tender. Mash together 2 rounded teaspoons each of flour and butter and add it bit by bit into the cucumber mixture until it thickens into a sauce. Season well with salt, pepper and ground mace.

#172 Cucumber Ragoût. A revelation. I can’t believe how transformed the cucumber becomes once it is cooked. It is like an extra-tasty courgette. Why on Earth do we not as a nation cook with cucumbers? The same I suppose goes with lettuce, which is used extensively in French and Italian cookery. I say we should try and revive it. Give it a go, you shall not be disappointed.


Anthea said...

I also didn't think you could cook cucumbers till my dad gave this recipe. It's for using up excessive amounts of summer garden veg and the quantities are completely flexible.
Slice 4-6 courgettes or a marrow into 1cm (ish) slices & put them into a big roasting pan along with 2 peeled, deseeded & chopped cucumbers, 2 chopped onions, 2 sliced leeks, 2 chopped peppers & maybe 6 chopped fresh or one tin of tomatoes. Add salt, pepper & lots of nice herbs. Give it all a good mix & then glug over a wine glass or so of good olive oil. Then add some white wine - enough to come about 3/4 of the way up the sides of the veg. Cover tightly with foil & put in a hot oven (190C ish) for about 40 min or until the veg are tender. Remove the foil, grate over a nice layer of parmesan cheese & put back in the oven for 10 mins to brown the cheese. Done! it freezes brilliantly & works as a side dish, goes well with jacket potatoes , basmati rice or pasta. I keep it portioned in my freezer for a fast healthy dinner. You can also add pumpkin or squash to the veg mix. xx

Neil Buttery said...

Hi Anthea.

I am defintely up for more cucumber recipes - that sounds a good one. I shall try it!