The recipes of our Gers grandmothers: alicuit and foie gras with figs are on the menu at Solange, in Marsan

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For this second part of our series highlighting the recipes of our Gers grandmothers, Solange Pomès welcomes Rémi Dispersyn to Marsan with a foie gras with figs, an alicuit and a homemade crisp.

A pleasant smell of grilled meat is already floating in the kitchen of Solange Pomès, this Sunday morning when Rémi Dispersyn enters the house. “I have already cooked the pieces of ducks, indicates the retired breeder. It must simmer for a good while afterwards.” La Marsannaise has invited family and friends for the Sunday meal and is preparing an alicuit. “Generally, we put the less noble parts of the duck there, such as the necks, thighs or muffs”, specifies Solange, 69 years old. Once the meat is grilled, she covers it with water and simmers over low heat. Rémi and Célia, Solange’s granddaughter, then begin to peel the apples for dessert: the Gersoise prepares a crisp with an adapted recipe. Solange likes to cook and has no shortage of ideas to try.

For her foie gras recipe, Solange starts by removing the veins.
DDM – Sébastien Lapeyrère

The starter, for example, she has been making for a few years after thinking of pairing figs with foie gras. “I soak the dried fruit in Armagnac and then I garnish the liver with it, describes the municipal councilor. I also often cook it by soaking in Muscat. For the salty, I work on instinct”. Foie gras is his favorite test subject. Feeder for more than 40 years with her husband Robert and now with her son Frédéric, who also raises nearly 80 Blondes d’Aquitaine, duck is not generally lacking in Coumes, even if this year it is rare due to avian flu. “It’s the first time in 46 years that I’m going to have to force-feed canes”, regrets Solange, installed with her husband on this hill of Marsan since 1976.

Cooking, a family affair

While Solange places the liver in a terrine in a bain-marie in the oven, Célia, 17, a hotel student at the Pardailhan high school in Auch, and Rémi, a former high school in the same sector, cut carrots, onions and garlic for the alicuit. The opportunity for the Bordelais to remember some memories of his high school years and to give advice to the young girl. Carrots and onions end up in the pan and once returned, Solange adds the vegetables to the alicuit broth as well as the herbs, freshly picked in front of the house.

Solange adds onions and carrots to the alicuit broth.

Solange adds onions and carrots to the alicuit broth.
DDM – Sébastien Lapeyrère

She then takes the puff pastry out of the freezer. “I tried for the first time to make it with the Thermomix”, she specifies, a little worried about the behavior of the preparation. She then spreads it on the table, quite thin, and arranges the bottom of the pie in a mold. The apples, cut into strips and macerated in Armagnac accompanied by vanilla sugar, are then arranged by Rémi, who does not fail to taste a piece on the way. Then, the cook covers the fruit with a second circle of the dough. “It seems that some reproduce the lace of the traditional croustade with sheets of sweet bricks. But I prefer to keep it simple”. The foie gras is replaced by the crisp in the oven, for an hour.

The meal is just waiting for the guests. The large table is set for 13 guests – “Rémi, you’re not superstitious, I hope?” asks Solange. Then the Gersoise takes the oenologist on a tour of the family estate. In the barn, the little calves a few days old accompany their mothers while Frédéric and Olivier, his son, check that everything is going well.

The first guests arrive shortly after Rémi and Solange have joined the house. A couple of friends and neighbours, Robert’s father, Frédéric and his family arrive little by little. Everyone settles down on the terrace for a rapier-based aperitif, then around the dining room table. The cooks of the day then bring the dishes, each one more garnished than the other. A tradition at Solange, slips her friend: “When we come to eat here, we know that we are not going to leave hungry”.

Foie gras with figs from Solange

The foie gras is garnished with figs in Armagnac.

The foie gras is garnished with figs in Armagnac.
DDM – Sébastien Lapeyrère

Ingredients (for 12 people):

  • a fresh liver of 500 grams
  • dried figs
  • armagnac
  • salt
  • pepper

Macerate the dried figs in the Armagnac for several hours.
Take the foie gras out so that it is at room temperature.
Devein the liver, salt and pepper on both sides.
Top with the figs.
Tighten well and place the liver in a terrine.
Cover and cook in a bain-marie in the oven for 30 minutes, at 120 or 130 degrees.
Enjoy, place under vacuum or put in the freezer.

Solange’s alicuit

Pasta cooked directly in the alicuit broth.

Pasta cooked directly in the alicuit broth.
DDM – Sébastien Lapeyrère

Ingredients (for 12 people):

  • duck meat: 10 necks, 10 wings, 20 sleeves
  • a dozen carrots
  • 2 onions
  • some tomatoes
  • seasoning: salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, parsley, garlic
  • pasta, rice or potatoes

Fry the pieces of meat until they are well grilled. Cover with water.
Brown the carrots and onions in a pan. Once cooked, add to the sauce.
Add the chives, rosemary, thyme, parsley, garlic and bay leaf.
Simmer for two hours over low heat.
Add some tomatoes to the sauce (optional).
A few minutes before eating, pour the pasta (or side dish) directly into the sauce so that it cooks in the broth.

Solange’s homemade crisp

Solange's crisp or pie.

Solange’s crisp or pie.
DDM – Sébastien Lapeyrère

Ingredients :

  • two puff pastry sheets (homemade or purchased)
  • a dozen apples
  • armagnac
  • 3 packets of vanilla sugar

Peel the apples, cut them into thin strips and macerate them in Armagnac and vanilla sugar.
Roll out a dough. Cover it with apples. Place the second dough. Bind well.
Bake for 45 minutes at 180 degrees.

Rémi Dispersyn, taster of stories

Rémi Dispersyn grew up in the Gers then left for Paris and Bordeaux, where he is a sommelier. Passionate about his profession and everything that revolves around the transmission of the knowledge of the table, he wants to sublimate our grandmothers, refusing to let their anecdotes, memories and knowledge fall into oblivion.

For this, he decided to meet these women and to honor the gastronomy of our territory, by describing recipes and moments of sharing, as we could do on a Sunday around a family meals. A desire to transmit knowledge, but also to dust off received ideas about our elders. During this series, Rémi sets out to meet these “ordinary” women and wants to tell their story through their knowledge. He then imagines bringing all these recipes together in a book.

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