Welcome to Shaking Up Chèvre, a six-part collaboration between Goat Cheeses of France—the official US campaign for spreading the word on the tasty goodness of French chèvre— culture, and some amazing food bloggers. Our mission? To hand down tips and tricks on how to cook with and pair French goat’s milk cheeses! In this post, Anne Maxfield of the Accidental Locavore whips up some fine treats and accompaniements with and for Crottin de Champcol and Pico. Missed Thursday’s post from Don’t Believe in Jet Lag on Tomme de Chèvre Bethmale and Valençay? Click here and salivate!
Finally in receipt of my chèvre (courtesy of Goat Cheeses of France), the tangy Pico and some classic Crottin de Champcol, the Accidental Locavore needed to come up with a good recipe for them. Normally this just would have been some fun time in the kitchen with a good dinner as the result, but since these both were fairly strong, specific chèvres, it took some time to figure out how best to showcase them.
I love mac and cheese and Bobby Flay’s cauliflower gratin with goat cheese and started envisioning a hybrid of the two. Maybe roasting the cauliflower first, to get it caramelized, and then mixing in the chèvre and pasta, with some homemade bread crumbs to give it a little crunch. The sweetness of the roasted cauliflower would work well with the pungency of the goat cheeses. My only fear was that using strictly the Pico and the Crottin would be too pungent, so I added a fresh, mild domestic chèvre. This made a big dish, serving 4-6.
- 1 small head of cauliflower cut into small florets
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 3 cups whole milk
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ½ cup flour
- Salt and pepper to taste (white pepper if you have it)
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 ½ ounces fresh, mild goat cheese (about ¾” slice from a log)
- 2 Crottin de Champcol, cut into chunks
Mac and Cheese
- 2 cups elbow macaroni
- Butter for greasing the pan
- ½ wheel of Pico, sliced into thin wedges
- ¾ cup breadcrumbs
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, toss the cauliflower with the olive oil, salt, and pepper until well coated. Roast on a baking sheet for 25-30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from oven and set aside. If you’re going to cook the mac and cheese right away, turn the oven down to 350°F.
- While the cauliflower is cooking, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil and cook the elbow macaroni for about 10-12 minutes, until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Heat the milk in a medium-sized pot until warm, but not bubbling, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. In a large, heavy pot, melt the butter over medium heat. When it’s melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to very low.
- Slowly pour in the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, whisking constantly. It will get very thick and gradually thin out when all the milk has been added. Once all the milk has been added, raise the heat to medium and keep whisking. After about 3 minutes, the sauce should thicken again. If it coats a spoon, you’re good!
- Stir in the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Start adding the cheese, stirring until it’s melted. When all the cheese has been incorporated, taste and adjust the seasonings.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add in the cooked elbow macaroni. Stir to combine. Add the roasted cauliflower and toss until evenly coated.
- With the butter, lightly grease a large gratin pan. Add the mac and cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and then dot the top with the wedges of Pico. Bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes until browned.
I decided on a condiment to go with the Pico while I was playing golf with friends; our course was originally an apple orchard, and apple trees line the fairways. This is a terrific year for apples and there are literally thousands of them, ripe for the picking. I grabbed a bunch of Romes and Macintoshes from the course and made a simple relish for the cheeses:
- ½ cup of sugar, more or less depending on your apples
- ¼ cup cider vinegar
- 1 ½ pounds tart, crisp apples, peeled and cut into ½” chunks
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, heat the sugar and vinegar, stirring to dissolve.
- Stir in the apples and cook for about 5 minutes, until the apples are cooked but still hold their shape. Stir in the ginger, taste and add salt as needed.
- Cool to room temperature. Serve and enjoy!
Tummy rumbling over these beautiful French goat cheeses? We got the answer to your culinary prayers! Visit the Accidental Locavore and enter a contest sponsored by Goat Cheeses of France—you could win an exclusive package of five French goat cheeses, a collection of tried-and-true recipes, trivia cards, and temporary tattoos to show your Original Chèvre love. Check it out!