Cook Like the French with Chef Roland Parny’s Cookbook

Chef Roland Parny of Fordland’s La Galette Berrichonne has released A Taste of the Berry cookbook, and it’s filled with more than 100 tried-and-true French recipes. We snagged a copy and tried a couple recipes at home.

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

It’s no secret that when it comes to good food, I’m a sucker for it all—French food included. I dream of feasting on baguettes and flaky, buttery croissants straight from the cooling rack. I’ve wanted to try beef bourguignon, or shall I say boeuf bourguignon, ever since I drooled all over my remote watching Julie &
Julia a few years ago. And don’t even get me started on French desserts. I love all desserts, and French varieties drizzled with chocolate and puffed to abnormally large sizes with cream are at the top of the list.

My love of all things food first took me to La Galette Berrichonne in Fordland a few years ago. La Galette Berrichonne and its chef—the one and only Chef Roland Parny who was born in France and trained at a French culinary school—is one of those unexpected, semi-hidden 417-land gems that we’re oh-so-grateful for. After eating a gourmet seven-course dinner prepared by Parny, I was convinced that I’d drive to the Oklahoma state line for more of his cooking, so that quick drive to Fordland is a small price to pay.

We have worked with Parny fairly often since he opened his Fordland eatery in 2009, so we were thrilled when he contacted us about his latest project last year: he released A Taste of the Berry, his very own cookbook that contains 122 of his favorite bourgeoisie recipes. Once he dropped a copy off at our office, I was more than eager to get my hands on it and head to the kitchen.

After thumbing through the cookbook, I felt as if I’d just sat down and chatted with Parny himself. He presents the book in a way that’s cute and charming in its own right—much like his Fordland eatery that serves gourmet French cooking from a metal building. The book starts out with Parny’s notes on cooking and hints on how to navigate his compilation. Next come the recipes, which are divided by sections: Les Pains, Desserts, et Viennoisseries; Le Saucier; Les Accompagnements and Les Viandes, Poulet, Poissons, et Oeufs.

I was impressed by the variety—you’ll find recipes for basic French breads and desserts, mother sauces and dressings, side dishes and a hefty selection of entrees. Each recipe is thoughtfully written in a way that gives you a bit of insight—sometimes Parny shares personal tasting notes or memories, sometimes he talks about the region the recipe is from. Each selection also includes the difficulty level, servings, prep time, ingredients and steps—all tips I found helpful.

After thumbing through the 140-page book, I decided on trying an entrée I was more familiar with, Cordon Bleu, and a side dish made with potatoes and cheese called Gratin Dauphinois. Both recipes were perfect as far as prep and instruction—everything is well spelled out and easy to follow.

What I didn’t plan for, though, was the time they’d take to prepare. Parny explores the art of cooking, making the recipes more suitable for weekend culinary adventures rather than quick weeknight meals.

Although it was a few hours before I could enjoy my food, it was worth it. I enjoyed stepping out of my normal cooking routine with these French-inspired dishes, and I even got to shop in the fancy cheese aisle.

Now that I’ve tackled a couple of basic recipes, I see freshly baked baguettes and buttery croissants in my near future. I think I might even take a stab at my very own boeuf bourguignon—this time with no drool-covered
remotes in sight.

 

Gratin Dauphinois

Servings: 8
Prep time: 2.5 hours
Difficulty: intermediate
Equipment: small roasting pan, paring knife

 

Ingredients:

8 small Russet potatoes

8 ounces Gruyere or Swiss cheese, shredded

salt

black pepper

3 tablespoons chopped garlic

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

 

To prepare:

Peel and slice the potatoes thin, and drop them in water to keep them from turning brown. After all the potatoes are sliced, drain them. In a small roasting pan, layer half of these ingredients: potatoes, cheese, salt, pepper, garlic. Repeat twice to make two layers. Pour the cream across the potatoes. Then, pour the milk almost to the top of the potatoes. Bake at 400ºF for 90 minutes. After about an hour, check the color; if the top is already brown, cover with foil. Most of the time, you will not need foil since this recipe needs to be dark brown and crispy on top to enhance the taste and appearance. Insert a paring knife to check the potatoes. If the potatoes are very moist and tender, the dish is ready. Remove them from the oven. Let rest for 15 to 30 minutes before you serve the Gratin Dauphinois.

 

Cordon Bleu

Servings: 4

Prep time: 90 minutes
Difficulty: difficult
Equipment: plastic wrap, tenderizing mallet, skillet with lid

 

Ingredients:

2 12-ounce chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise (scalloped) or 4 6-ounce chicken breasts, pounded thin

salt

black pepper

½ cup all-purpose flour

4 slices ham

6 ounces Gruyere, cut in 2-inch by 1.5-inch slices

2 beaten eggs

½ cup breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Sauce Mornay

 

To prepare:

Lay the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap. Using a tenderizing mallet, pound the chicken as thin as possible without creating holes. Open the wrap, and sprinkle salt and black pepper on one side; then, pick up the chicken from underneath the wrap and lay it in a shallow plate of flour. Lay the ham and cheese in the center of the chicken; fold the chicken breast around the ham and cheese. Check to be sure all surfaces of the chicken are covered with flour; rub or sprinkle more flour around the chicken if needed. Place each chicken breast in a bowl of beaten eggs. Turn gently to the other side to coat the chicken with beaten eggs. Place the bread crumbs in a plate; lay each stuffed breast in the crumbs and coat well. Melt the butter in a skillet over low heat. When the butter is hot, add the chicken and cover. Cook for six minutes until the first side is brown. Turn, cover and cook for six minutes on the second side until brown. Right before serving, you can spoon a light layer of Sauce Mornay over the chicken. Serve Chicken Cordon Bleu with pasta and a green salad.

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