Frequent readers know that Marilyn and I are avid collectors of old cookbooks. Here is a recipe I found in The New Orleans Cookbook by Rima and Richard Collin. Yes, I admit I was first attracted to the book because of one of the author’s first names and its connection with the great novel, Green Mansions, but the cookbook’s wonderful recipes go far beyond one of my favorite characters of all time.
The book is subtitled Creole, Cajun, and Louisiana French Recipes, Past and Present. It is an eighth printing from Alfred A. Knopf, published in 1980. Not only are the recipes good, the pictures and illustrations alone are worth the price of the book. I highly recommend it. If you can find a copy, buy it. Here is one of my favorite recipes from The New Orleans Cookbook.
The richest sauce in Creole cuisine, made with Madeira wine, currant jelly, green grapes, beef stock, and truffles. When green seedless grapes are in season, we buy them in quantity and freeze them, for this sauce and for Trout Veronique. The truffles are a grand touch but do not change the flavor of the sauce, so if you have none on hand, do not be deterred. We like Sauce Paradis on squab, quail, duck and chicken.
1/4 cup salt butter
1/8 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 cup green seedless grapes (drained if they have been frozen)
2 cups rich beef stock
1/2 cup Madeira wine
3 large truffles, sliced thin
3 tbsp red currant jelly
In a heavy 2 to 3 quart saucepan melt the butter over low heat then add the flour stirring to keep the mixture smooth. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 10 minutes, and then slowly add the beef stock, stirring as you pour.
Cook over low heat until sauce thickens slightly (about 6 minutes), then add the wine, currant jelly and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Cook until the jelly has melted and then add the grapes and truffles.
Continue cooking for about 3 minutes more, just long enough to heat the grapes and truffles through. Remove the pan from the heat. Right before serving stir gently to mix.