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dear cooks,

Ever wonder if professional chefs use cookbooks? They do, and many of them rely on their well-worn copies of Larousse Gastonomique. Since its original publication in 1938, Larousse Gastronomique has withstood the test of time and trend to remain the world’s most authoritative culinary reference book. Generations of serious cooks have turned to it for guidance that encompasses every fashion and taste, making it a veritable food encyclopedia. 

Now, for the first time, every one of the 2,500 recipes has been lifted from the gargantuan tome (1,360 pages!) and organized into four compact volumes to create a convenient and essential addition to every cook’s library. The new collection has been pared down to include just the recipes, making it easy to use every day. 

The volumes are Meat, Poultry & Game; Fish & Seafood; Vegetables & Salads; and Desserts, Cakes & Pastries. Each volume of the Larousse Gastronomique Recipe Collection also includes recipes for basic pastries, condiments, garnishes, sauces, and more, turning this collection into a complete course in kitchen classics. 

Bring these dishes to your holiday table this spring and discover how indispensable Larousse Gastronomique is to the home chef.

Braised leg of lamb with spring onions

Calculate the cooking time for a leg of lamb at 40 minutes per 1 kg, 20 minutes per 1 lb, plus an additional 40 to 20 minutes. Cook the lamb in a covered flameproof casserole in a preheated oven at 200°C (400°F, gas 6) for 25 minutes, then drain. Melt some butter in the casserole. Lightly coat 1 kg (2¼ lb) spring onions (scallions) in sugar, then fry them in the butter. Place the leg of lamb on the onions and put the casserole back in the oven. When the onions have softened, add 2 tomatoes, peeled and cut into 8 pieces, and 500 ml (17 fl oz, 2 cups) white wine. Complete the cooking process, turning the leg to make sure it is browned all over and basting it as required with reduced beef stock.

Remove the leg of lamb from the casserole, draining off all the cooking liquor. Drain the spring onions. Cover both and keep hot. Thicken the cooking juices with beurre manié (recipe follows). Carve the lamb. Arrange the spring onions on plates and coat with the sauce. Arrange the lamb on the plates and serve.

Beurre Manié

Beurre manié is a classic thickening mixture of sauces, casseroles and other cooking liquors.

To thicken 500 ml (17 fl oz, 2 cups) stock or sauce, work together 25 g (1 oz, 2 tablespoons) butter and 25 g (1 oz, 4 tablespoons) plain (all-purpose) flour. Add this paste to the boiling liquid and whisk over the heat for 2 minutes.

Fillets of sole à la bordelaise

Prepare some button mushrooms and baby (pearl) onions and cook in butter. Butter a small fish kettle or flameproof casserole and sprinkle the bottom with finely chopped onions and carrots. Season the fillets of sole with salt and pepper and arrange in the fish kettle. Add a bouquet garni and 175–350 ml (6–12 fl oz, ¾–1½ cups) white Bordeaux wine, according to the size of the container. Poach the fillets for 6-7 minutes, then drain, retaining the liquor. Arrange the fillets on the serving dish surrounded by the mushrooms and baby onions; cover and keep warm. Add 2 tablespoons demi-glace or fish stock to the cooking liquor and reduce by half. Add a knob of butter, sieve and pour over the fillets.

Artichoke hearts à la forentine

Slowly cook some artichoke hearts and some spinach in butter in separate pans. Stuff each artichoke heart with a heaped tablespoon of prepared spinach and coat with Mornay sauce (recipe follows). Sprinkle with grated cheese and brown in a preheated oven at 240°C (475°F, gas 9).

Mornay Sauce

Heat 500 ml (17 fl oz, 2 cups) béchamel sauce. Add 75g (3 oz, ¾ cup) grated Gruyère cheese and stir until all the cheese has melted. Take the sauce from the heat and add 2 egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon milk. Bring slowly to a boil, whisking all the time. Remove from the heat and add 2 tablespoons double (heavy) cream (the sauce must be thick and creamy). For browning at a high temperature or for a lighter sauce, the egg yolks are omitted. If the sauce is to accompany fish, reduce fish stock is added.

Leckerli

Also known as lecrelet. A spiced biscuit (cookie) with a distinctive flavour, sometimes coated with icing (frosting). It is a Swiss specialty from Basel. The name is an abbreviation of leckerli kuchen, meaning ‘tempting cake’.

Sift 500 g (18 oz, 4½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour into a bowl, add 350 g (12 oz, 1 cup) liquid honey and beat with a spoon. Add 75 g (3 oz, ½ cup) candied orange peel, 40 g (1½ oz, one-third cup) flaked (slivered) almonds, 20 g (¾ oz, ¼ cup) spices (half mixed spice, half ground ginger), and 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda). (The candied peel and flaked almonds can be replaced with chopped hazelnuts and cinnamon.) Mix well until blended. Butter some square sheets and spread the mixture in them to a depth of 2.5 cm (1 in). Bake in a preheated oven at 180°C (350°F, gas 4), for about 20 minutes, or until well browned. When done, brush with milk and cut into even rectangles.

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