La Bonnebouffe

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Do you know the word bouffe?  It’s a slangy term for food, kind of like chow or grub in English.  And the French use the expression la malbouffe, the bad grub, to indicate food like burgers, fast food, junk food in general.  In other words, what they think of as typical American food.  But take a gander at this made-in-America savory pea ice cream.  Nothing malbouffey about that, is there? 

This little treat was part of a Franco-American dinner we went to this weekend, and by Franco-American you can rest assured that I do not mean spaghetti.  Our friend Steve loves all things French, and he has a group of accomodating friends who indulge him once per season by cooking up their spin on French food and getting together at his house to bouffe it up.  This time it was the printemps dinner, all things Spring.

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Everyone took a turn in the kitchen, either cooking

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or washing dishes.

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Ellie would have liked to help wash dishes, but instead waited politely under the table for the inevitable bounty of crumbs.

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There’s nothing like good entertainment 

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to help an appreciative audience work up a serious appetite.  And their patience was rewarded by a dinner that included but was not limited to

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an asparagus soup in duck stock,

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pounti auvergnat, about which more anon,

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halibut with morels and peas,

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veal paupiettes with pea shoots,

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and homemade chocolates with molten salt caramel centers.  Now honestly, if that’s not a meal worth coining a new word for, I don’t know what would be.  Hence, and henceforth, la bonnebouffe, definition: truly good and beautiful food made by dedicated home cooks and eaten in excellent company with high spirits.  I invite you to incorporate my new word into your own vocabulary, just say “bun-boof.”

Now, about that pounti auvergnat.  My assignment was to make part of the before dinner nibbles, and I wanted to make a terrine, but one that no one would have tasted before, including me.  Et voilà, my searches led me to a terrine made of pork, Swiss chard, and prunes.  Three of my favorite things, and a combination I’d never before imagined.  Because it’s a dish that was originally created to use up leftovers there are dozens of recipes, each with its own twist. 

I settled on this recipe as my basic version, but I tweaked it with the addition of lots of nutmeg and some unsmoked bacon, since that’s the closest thing to the poitrine salé that appears in many of the recipes.  I urge you to try this dish, it’s easy to make, original, and wildly delicious.  I served it cold, but it can also be seved hot or warm.  Even if prunes are on your personal malbouffe list (which proves that you’re American, since the French adore those dried plums) give this a try, and I promise that you too will become a bonnebouffeur.

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8 Comments on “La Bonnebouffe”

  1. John DePaula Says:

    Holy Cow, those chocolates look incredible! Very professional! And I think that your friends in France will think that maybe you never left! ;-)

    Can’t wait to try out that terrine recette.


  2. I just loved that terrine. I swear I went back for 5ths.
    Very nice photos.
    For those who want to know, the savory pea mint ice cream is from ‘Frozen Desserts’ by Liddell & Weir.

  3. Abra Bennett Says:

    John – well, it’s FWED who made them, so you know they’re semi-pro. The filling is to die for.

  4. Debra Says:

    absolutely amazing!

  5. Kathy and John Says:

    Sorry we missed Eric and the party.
    Good food + music + dog = high sociability in any language.

  6. jgrussell Says:

    Lovely blog, lovely photos — and doesn’t Shel look good!! Nice to stumble across this !

  7. jan in dallas Says:

    HELP!!! HAVING COCKTAIL PARTY AND WANT TO MAKE THE TERRINE. YOUR INPUT WOULD BE SOOOO APPRECIATED!!!
    HOW MUCH FLOUR DID YOU USE? (200g. equals ? CUPS )
    DO YOU THINK THE BACON ADD.IS A GOOD MOVE? I TYPICALLY DON’T LIKE THE FLAVOR OF(SMOKED) BACON BUT WONDER IF IT IS TOO BLAND WITHOUT IT. HOW MUCH DID YOU ADD AND WHERE DID YOU FIND UNSMOKED BACON(WHOLE FOODS?)CUT IN THIN STRIPS?
    DO YOU THINK MAKING A DAY AHEAD IS OK OR IS IT A NOTICABLE IMPROVEMENT TO MAKE THE DAY OF AND SERVE @ ROOM TEMP? ANY OTHER COMMENTS ARE WELCOME. THANKS JAN

  8. Abra Bennett Says:

    Jan – I think the bacon was Applegate unsmoked, but I’m not sure now as it was a while ago. You definitely don’t want a smoked flavor in this terrine. As to the grams, get a scale, you’ll use it a lot and they’re not expensive! I can’t give you a good conversion, since flours differ a lot in weight according to whether they’ve been sifted, the humidity, etc. All terrines are better made in advance.


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