COCOTTES, stewing along

Cotes from the Lille Brocante 2013
Cocottes are those cast iron cooking pots, whose sheer weight can kill you in an instant. Don't think to be clever and exhibit them high up on a shelf in your kitchen, showing off your kitchen wealth, unless you'r married to a constructor, who fixes you up with a cabinet made out of solid bricks. Put them on a shelf or sideboard in reach, so you don't overstrain your body, but more important, you use them.

Their great fun to work with, I use them for everything. Yes they are expensive, compared to a stainless steel example from my beloved "Sweedish Store" but by Jove, they are unresistable. I bought my first Creusets, yes plura, at a Brocante in the Northern part of France called Nord Pas de Calais. There they stood on the tarmac leaning against a table. The lady wanted E 35,00 for all four. "No no no" I exclaimed in heavely accented semi-french"vingt-cinq" It felt like a scene out of Allo Allo. "Accord" she exclaimed and sone was the deal. My little black cocottes, the ones in the photograph, I bought at the Brocante in Lille this autumn. Great find at E 3,00 a piece. They are great to serve at a dinner. People love individually wrapped and portioned things to eat. The only problem with them is that I need to find tiny little finger mittens, in order to lift if the lids whitout burning your fingers. They are piping hot coming out of the oven. So my search goes on........ treasures can still be found.

Here is my recipe for Wild bore with black olives, sage and white wine.

Cinghiale con olive Nero e Salvia
Wild boar (this recipe is for 1,5 kilos)
A full bottle of White wine
400 gram dried black olives
4 Red onions
1 good bunch of Sage
12 Juniper berrys
6 laurel leaves
30 Pepper corns
Half a Celleriac, cut into tiny pieces
a glass of Madeira whine

Take the piece of wild boar. Any piece will do. I do not bother where it has been cut from, if you make a long hourly stew, all meat gets tender and all bits will taste perfect. Put it in you Cocotte, pour in the wine, olives, sage, cut the onions in big pieces and put it on top of the meat. Put on the lid and set on a high fire.

As soon as the wine gets to the boiling point, immediately put the stove on the lowest heat and put the pot on a heat distributor to simmer for the rest of the day. Occasionally stirring, tasting and basting with more white wine or water.

When the meat is tender and your about to serve, pour of the juice and put it through you kitchen machine. Put in a good whallop of real butter to thicken the gravy. Once nicely mixed, put a bit of gravy in every mini cocotte, tear the meat (with your hands (DO NOT CARVE, SLICE OR CUT) and put some in every cocotte. On top you put some slices caramelized carrot, a piece of caramelized leek, pour over some more grayy, put on the lid and......... Serve

Great with a Hässelback potato or Risotto and a mash of peas and garden beans.