Other regional dishes include Cassoulet, that thick slow-cooked and comforting stew of duck, pork belly, Toulouse sausages and white beans, confit de canard (salt-cured duck poached in its own fat), and foie gras.
For stage 17, I'm cooking Ragout de Mouton aux Olives Vertes (Mutton stew with green olives). The meat of the sheep which graze on the high pastures of the mountains is flavoured with the aromatic herbs on which they feed. Since mutton is not readily available in my local supermarket, I'm making this with shoulder of lamb, which lends itself perfectly to slow cooking and has a sweet flavour.
250g green olives, pitted
1 tbsp olive oil
1 kg boned shoulder of lamb or mutton, cut into 5cm/2" cubes
2 tsp flour
1kg tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt & pepper
Blanch the olives in boiling water if they are very salty. Heat the oil and butter in a large casserole/Le Creuset pot and add the lamb pieces. Brown them all over.
Sprinkle with the flour, stir well and cook over a low flame until lightly browned. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic and olives, and add a pinch of pepper. Cover and simmer on a low heat for about an hour, or until the meat is tender. Check for seasoning. Serve with mashed potato, boiled new potatoes, rice or couscous.
|A rider tackles a mountain pass in a much earlier Tour de France|