Here are some Gers recipes! Guide du Gers selected (and also tested, yum!) these traditional recipes which are full of flavour. We have listed easy recipes, prepared with local ingredients which can be brought back from your trip to the Gers. Some difficult to source ingredients can easily be substituted for more readily available ones. There are recipes to please everyone: foie-gras and poultry lovers as well asvegetarians. The Gers gastronomy uses a large variety of fruit and vegetables. Accompany these dishes with a good glass of Armagnac, Floc de Gascogne or Côtes de Gascogne (taken in moderation!) and you will be ready for a romantic dinner, a family meal or a lunch with friends, just like in the best restaurants.
Please don't hesitate to send us your dishes from the Gers (with a photo!), as we would be delighted to publish them on our facebook page, for the enjoyment of all our readers and travellers.
“AÏGO BOULIDO” – GARLIC SOUP
Aïgo Boulido recipe
This soup is a traditional recipe from Occitane and Provençale cuisine. It means "boiled garlic" and it used to be served on 25th December, after the filling meals indulged in on Christmas Eve. (On the continent the big celebratory meal at Christmas is eaten on the evening of 24th). The cleansing virtues of the garlic containedin this soup, help digestion. It was also served to travellers in order to prepare them for the possible ingestion of microbes during their winter travels... This soup will please your guests either as a starter or main course. Serve it with bread.
· 1litre water
· 5 garlic cloves (white or purple!)
· 4 sage leaves
· 2 thyme branches
· 1 bay leaf
1-) Place the water and garlic in a large pot. Cover and bring to the boil. Boil for 20 minutes.
2-) Remove from the heat, add the sage, thyme and bay leaf. Do not let it boil again. Simmer for 20 minutes.
3-) Place the bread and 1 tablespoon of olive oil on plates. Sieve the stock (or not!) and serve it hot.
L'ALICUIT DE CANARD
Alicuit de canard recipe -photo JPS68 licence CC BY-SA 4.0
This is a typical Gersois dish; it is economical and filling. Duck is not only used for its fillets, foie-gras and legs, other parts can also be enjoyed and the Alicuit uses the "cheap cuts", which can be extremely tasty. If you are looking for a dish to cook for all the family and friends, this is perfect! It can be eaten with fingers, casually, and in a relaxed way. "Al y cot" in the Gascon language means the "wings and the neck", which are used in this delicious dish.
· Various ducks pieces such as wings, neck, feet, rump, gizzard, heart... about 15 pieces are needed for the dish.
· 1 onion
· 5 carrots
· 1 turnip
· 5 potatoes (or pasta)
· Few mushrooms
· Some flour
· Few black olives
· Some dry white wine
· 750ml vegetable stock
· One bouquet garni
· 3 tablespoon of duck or goose fat (or butter)
1-) Peel and chop all the vegetables.
2-) Melt the duck fat in a casserole and brown the duck offal.
Add the vegetables, apart from the mushrooms and potatoes. Let everything brown, sprinkle with flour (to thicken the sauce) and mix.
3-) Add the mushrooms and olives (stoned, preferably). Add the white wine and stock. Add the bouquet garni, salt and pepper.
4-) Cover and let it simmer for 1 hour.
5-) Add the chopped diced potatoes or pasta. Cook until the potatoes are soft. Serve hot!
This stew can be served with a robust red wine, like the Madiran. Serve with garlic croutons.
Lamb with Tarbais beans
This is a traditional recipe, using good local products (substitute your own local products if necessary). As you can see from the name of this recipe, it takes a long time to cook. The meat is soft and melts in your mouth, it is almost caramelised and delicious... Start preparation the day before you want to eat it. This kind of dish is always best reheated! To make this dish, traditionally, the casserole is sealed. A bread dough is prepared which goes on the top of the casserole to hermetically seal it. This prevents the sauce evaporating. It is a fussy step that can be skipped. Just make sure you add a bit of extra stock if the sauce appears too thick during cooking!
· 1 leg or shoulder of Gers lamb
· olive oil
· rosemary and thyme
· 2 carrots
· 2 onions
· 1 Lomagne white or purple garlic clove
· 2 slices of black Gascony pork belly
· 250ml veal stock
· dry white wine
· bouquet garni,
· salt and pepper
1-) In the morning, remove the fat from the meat and brush it with olive oil, rosemary and thyme. Leave to marinate all day (lamb + pork).
2-) In the evening drain the meat, keep the flavoured oil! In a large casserole, brown the meat with a bit of this oil.
2-) Remove the meat, add 1 onion and the chopped carrots, deglaze the pan with the dry white wine. Reduce the liquid a bit; add the meat and the veal stock.
3-) Place the meat in a casserole dish, with the other chopped onion, the bouquet garni and the salt and pepper. Put the lid on and pop it in the oven for 6 hours and 30 minutes to 7 hours (all night!). Add a bit of water if necessary during the cooking process (yes, in the middle of the night...).
4-) The following day, remove the meat carefully, as well as the herbs. Reduce the sauce and put it to one side.
5-) Serve hot, with a rocket salad and the famous Tarbais beans. Blanch the dried beans the day before, then throw them in a pan with goose fat (or butter), add a thyme infusion and cook for 1hour, seasoning it in the middle of the cooking time.
The “CROUSTADE AUX POMMES” – Apple pie
The “Croustade aux pommes” recipe
The croustade aux pommes is a delicious dessert from southwest France. “Crostada” means crust in the Occitan language. The croustades can be salted or sugared, it is an old mixture from the bakers and very popular in the Middle Ages. It was garnished with all sorts of things such as cheese, honey, vegetables, fruit, meat ... It can be eaten hot or cold. To make it, the recipe is always the same: thin layers of dough are layered (puff, shortcrust, filo pastries ... you can choose the one you prefer), then the filling is added and finally other layers of pastry are crumbled on top to give some volume. The main difficulty with the traditional recipe is the making of the pastry, as it needs to be stretched until it is almost transparent, to guarantee the dessert is light and tasty.
Marion Barral is a wine expert, she lives in the southwest and her blog provides us with a delicious recipe, made in the traditional way.
· 3 sweet apples
· 140 ml of Armagnac
· 10 to 12 sheets of filo pastry
· 100g of melted butter
· 4 sachets of vanilla sugar
1-) Peel and cut the apples into thin wedges, add the Armagnac, mix and leave to marinate overnight.
2-) The following day, add sachet of vanilla sugar to the marinated apples.
3-) In a buttered tart plate, layer 7 sheets of filo pastry, buttering each sheet well and sprinkling with vanilla sugar.
4-) Place the marinated apples on the 7 layers of filo.
5-) Take 3 more layers of pastry (buttered and sugared) and crumbled them to give them volume and an airy effect.
6-) Cook at 160°C (T5) for 10 minutes in the middle of the oven, then cook for an additional 20 minutes at the bottom of the oven.
Served hot with a glass of Armagnac and a scoop of ice cream!
The Aïade Toulousaine recipe
The Aillade is a sauce, different from the Aïoli served in Provence, which uses a walnut oil emulsion, rather than olive oil one. It is served with duck fillets, to dip bread into, or served with cooked vegetables as a vegetarian option. Note, this sauce is strong (but exquisite) and may not be suitable for a romantic dinner…
· 70g walnut kernels
· 50g garlic (white or purple, which is the most sugary)
· 200 ml walnut oil
· 1 tablespoon of parsley
1-) Peel the garlic and crush it in a mortar with the walnut kernels. Add a bit of water to form a homogenous smooth mixture.
2-) Add the salt and pepper then the oil. Mix well to integrate the oil. Add finely chopped parsley.
3-) Serve in a lovely bowl or a gravy boat.
To use for dipping bread or raw vegetables, use less oil.
THE PASTIS LANDAIS OR COQUE DE PÂQUES
Pastis Landais recipe
La coque (or Pastis) is a traditional brioche, which is also called kingdom, it can be made in the shape of a crown or a classic round shape. At Easter this brioche, or galette of kings, is made with marzipan. Now, you know what to cook to do something original and bring an Occitanie touch to your meal or Easter tea!
· 600g flour
· 4 eggs
· 100g sugar
· 100g butter
· baker’s yeast
· 50 ml orange blossom buds
· 2 vanilla pods
· 2 tablespoon of rum or cointreau
· 60g icing sugar (optional)
· candied fruit (optional)
· 10g salt
1-) Melt the butter, leave it to cool in the pan.
2-) In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar.
3-) In another bowl, place the flour with the yeast, mix them. Add the salt and the eggs/sugar mixture.
4-) Add the orange blossom buds, rum, the scraped vanilla pods and the butter.
5-) Mix in a food processor. Add lukewarm water until a ball forms. Knead until the dough becomes stretchy (around 10 minutes). Form into a ball, cover with a clean dishcloth and let the dough rest away from drafts.
6-) Remove the air, but do not knead the dough anymore. Place the dough into an oiled cake tin, or make a crown shape directly onto an oiled baking tray.
7-) Let the dough rise again, when it is well risen (note: not too well risen as it would deflate during cooking) place it in a hot oven at 180°C, with a little water in a ramekin dish (to add moisture to the oven) then cook for 30 minutes.
You can include candied fruit in the dough (before you leave it to rise for the second time). You could include some pieces of candied melon from Lectoure. For a beautiful Easter decoration, you can glaze the cooked brioche with sugar icing (made from a little warm water added to icing sugar) and candied fruit.
Prunes in Armagnac liqueur recipe
This is easy to make with a few ingredients from the Gers!This economical recipe for adults can be kept for many years and improves with time. The Armagnac soaks into the fruit that become candied. You can then enjoy them after a meal or include them in recipes such as clafoutis, tart, brioche ... Yum!
· 1kg Agen prunes (half cooked is perfect)
· 1litre strong black tea
· 600 ml Armagnac
· 250g sugar
1-) Soak the prunes in the tea for 4 to 5 hours. Drain and keep the juice.
2-) Place the prunes in a sterilised glass jar.
3-) In a saucepan, heat 200ml of the prune soaking water, the Armagnac and the sugar to make a syrup.
4-) Pour the boiling liquid onto the prunes in the glass jar. The fruit must be covered, add a bit of water if necessary. Seal with a clean lid, sterilise the glass jar (put it to boil in a pan of water for 20 minutes). Keep in a dry place away from direct sunlight for at least 1 month or for as long as you can resist opening it…
Try the Garbure Gersoise, made with duck legs, knuckle of pork and beans stewed for a long time. It has a soft texture.
The “gâteau à la broche”, is not easy to make as it is traditionally cooked in a wood fire oven. The liquid cake dough is poured onto a conical spit, the dough is added little by little, this one flows and forms characteristic little bumps. Sheets of pastry are added and when the cake is cut, it forms layers. It is very interesting to watch, the baking requires a certain know-how and special dexterity! The only way to appreciate it would be go to a fair in the Gers and taste it.
Prunes stuffed with foie-gras, a perfect mix of sweet and savoury. This has a melting centre surrounded by a sweet pulp. You need to use fresh prunes or rehydrate them in tea (or Armagnac?) for this recipe. An appetizer to please everyone!
The “daube de cèpes” (porcini mushroom stew), uses this mushroom, so loved by the French, and which can be found in the woods. In the Gers, they are available in Autumn and Spring. Be careful, picking wild cèpes is not legal on private property... It is best to go to the market to get some “legally”. Follow this recipe provided by the great Chef Helène Darroze for a truely local recipe.
The “cou farci” (stuffed neck) is a Landaise speciality that can also be found in the Gers. The neck is stuffed with duck, pork meat and foie-gras. You can easily find this product in the big traditional preserve houses.
The “millas” is a cake from the southwest, it is a cake which is a cross between a clafoutis and a flan. It is a very old peasant recipe used since the dawn of time; it's delicious and very simple to make. It was originally baked in the winter on the days pigs or ducks were being prepared. Initially, millet, an ancient cereal was used. You can still find millet flour in organic shops but you can also prepare a millas with cornflour or wheat flour.