In just over a week’s time, chef Claus Meyer will visit our small town of Blaye in the countryside of southwest France. Claus was a co-founder of the Danish restaurant Noma – which was ranked best restaurant in the world four times – and is also founder of the newly opened Great Northern Food Hall, as well as Agern Restaurant, in Grand Central Station in New York. He is a visionary regarding the importance of food to good living, has hosted several international cooking shows, and is quite the philanthropist – running charitable organizations in several locations, including Bolivia.

There is a distinct possibility Claus may open a restaurant here in an existing building in Blaye. Regardless, he’ll spend a casual evening with a group of about 70 locals at La Galerie restaurant, where a buffet featuring local foods will be served. Claus will also speak and share the value of learning about (and using) local ingredients when preparing a meal. From this region that includes our local oysters, estuary caviar, cèp mushrooms, seasonal asparagus and more (including, no doubt, our local Blaye and Bourg wines).

I’ll write more after the event and will post a Forbes article.

Sleepy vineyards around Blaye

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This week’s preview of a recipe for the forthcoming book The Winemakers’ Cooking Companion is quite special in that it encompasses several facets of a main course, and was specifically designed and created for this forthcoming book by a chef of growing renown in South Africa – Carmen Muller. The dish goes well with Rupert & Rothschild Baron Edmund red wine (hence the recipe’s name). If this is unavailable, try a full-bodied, excellent quality Bordeaux blend. Thanks Very Much both to Chef Carmen Muller, and to Guest Liaison Manager Genevieve Dorman of Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons, South Africa.

Baron Edmund Braised Veal Brisket, Celeriac Purée, Crispy Sweetbreads, and Pickled Mushrooms

From Head Chef Carmen Muller of Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons, Franschhoek Valley, South Africa

Photo courtesy of Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons


Preparation Time and Quantity –

Baking time for the brisket 3 to 4 hours. Serves 6 to 8 people.


Ingredients and Amounts


Braised Veal Brisket Ingredients

Veal Brisket – 3⅓ pounds (1½ kilograms)

Onions – 3

Celery stalks – 3

Carrots (large) – 2

Garlic cloves – 4

Tomato paste – ½ cup (100 grams)

Red wine (Bordeaux blend, such as Baron Edmund*) – 2 bottles

Beef stock (homemade is best) – 1 quart, or 4¼ cups (1 liter)

Vegetable oil – as needed

Salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaves – to taste


* Includes Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc.


Veal Brisket Preparation –

  1. Pre-heat oven to 340 degrees Fahrenheit (170 degrees Celsius).
  2. Chop onions, celery stalks, and carrots.
  3. Crush olive cloves.


Veal Brisket Recipe –

  1. Heat a large frying pan over high heat and brown veal brisket on all sides.
  2. Remove brisket from frying pan and place in large, deep, roasting tray.
  3. Fry the mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery) in vegetable oil. When almost browned, add garlic, thyme, and bay leaves.
  4. Add tomato paste, and caramelize with vegetables.
  5. Add red wine, about 1⅔ cups (400 milliliters) at a time, then reduce down before adding the next 1⅔ cups (400 milliliters).
  6. Add stock, and reduce for about 10 minutes.
  7. Skim the surface, then place veal brisket in a deep tray and bake in pre-heated oven for 3 to 4 hours until tender, but not falling apart.


Celeriac** Purée Ingredients

Celeriac – 2¼ pounds (1 kilogram)

Milk – 1 quart or 4¼ cups (1 liter)

Cream – ⅘ cup (200 milliliters)

Water – as needed

Salt, white pepper – to taste


** Celeriac (also known as celery knob or turnip root celery) is a type of celery with a large root and lower stem that has little starch. In the U.S. this be found at some Asian markets. Substitutes include parsley root, chopped celery, or can even include carrots.


R&R Tasting Centre
The Tasting Centre where Carmen Muller prepares dishes – Photo courtesy of Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons

Celeriac Preparation –

  1. Wash and peel celeriac, then slice into thin rounds.


Celeriac Recipe –

  1. Put celeriac into a pot and pour milk and cream over. Add water as needed to cover the vegetable in liquid, and heat on grill.
  2. Season lightly with salt and white pepper.
  3. Simmer until cooked.
  4. Strain celeriac out, keeping liquid.
  5. Make a purée, adding a small part of cooking liquid if needed. Season to taste.


Crispy Sweetbreads Ingredients

Sweetbreads – 10 ounces (300 grams)

Cake flour – ¼ cup (20 grams)

Butter – 4¼ tablespoons (60 grams)

Salt, pepper – to taste


Crispy Sweetbreads Preparation –

  1. Fill a large bowl with iced water.


Crispy Sweetbreads Recipe –

  1. Put a large pot of water over high heat and bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Blanch the sweetbreads for 2 minutes.
  3. Place sweetbreads into large bowl filled with ice water.
  4. Remove sweetbreads and place on paper towel.
  5. Pull outside membrane off, and slice into serving portions or cubes of about 1 to 1½ inches (3 centimeters).
  6. Dust sweetbreads lightly in flour, then season with salt and pepper. Dust excess flour off.
  7. Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium high heat, then gently fry sweetbreads until golden and crispy (about 5 to 7 minutes).


Pickled Mushrooms Ingredients

Wild mushrooms – 18 ounces (500 grams)

Sherry vinegar – 5⅓ tablespoons (80 milliliters)

Olive oil (extra virgin) – 1½ cups (350 milliliters)

Thyme and rosemary sprigs – 2 each

Garlic cloves – 2

Chili (dried) – 1⅓ tablespoons (1 gram)

Salt – ⅘ teaspoon (5 grams)

Ground black pepper – 2 teaspoons (5 grams)


Pickled Mushrooms Preparation –

  1. Chop mushrooms into desired shapes.
  2. Crush garlic cloves.


Pickled Mushrooms Recipe –

  1. Place all ingredients, except mushrooms, into a large pot.
  2. Heat on medium until just below boiling.
  3. Remove from heat and add chopped mushrooms.
  4. Let marinating mushrooms stand at room temperature for 2 hours.
  5. Refrigerate mushrooms for up to 3 weeks.


 Serving –

Place some celeriac purée on a warm plate and ‘smear’ with a large spoon into a desired shape. Place some of the glossy veal brisket on top, and the crispy sweetbreads around. Place the pickled mushrooms as desired. Garnish with parsley micro-herbs.

Comments –

Carmen writes –

“What we serve is not fine dining, though a lot of French influences and techniques are present. There’s ample room for creativity here, and we really do have a blast in the kitchen.”

Carmen’s other culinary creations include grass-fed mac ‘n cheese, braised springbok shanks with wild mushrooms…and seared tuna with chipotle caponata and chickpea ‘chips.’

Genevieve Dorman (Guest Liaison Manager) writes –

“Carmen created this amazing food and wine pairing for your book. She creates delicious masterpieces and won the EatOut Nederburg ‘Rising Star Award’ and was acknowledged for her ability to create astounding dishes with a small staff or two and a rather small kitchen. She is known for creating a variety of inventive, delicious and ever-changing dishes designed to pair with, and show off, the excellent wines attached to the estate.

“Carmen insists on limiting wastage in the kitchen and making everything, where possible, from scratch. This includes a daily dose of stocks, jus and sauces; jams and flavored butters – even the crystallized ginger that accompanies her Valrhona Chocolate Negus…She designed a recipe that could be easily produced in a small space that resembles a traditional South African ‘mosbolletjie’ [sweet brioche made with grape juice and flavored with aniseed]…that might be served with butter flavored with truffle duxelles, or homemade free-range duck liver parfait.”

R&R-chef-5 (1)
Chef Muller – Photo courtesy of Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons


Tom’s Comments –

This is a hearty, rich dish where taste and texture sensations are balanced—the fat of the meat with the vinegar acidity of mushrooms, the crunchy sweetbreads with smooth celeriac purée. The complexity and timing of this dish requires relative confidence with cooking skills before you try it out for a dinner party. Consider the ingredients, make substitutions accordingly if necessary, and plan out your sequence and timing.

Serve with an excellent quality Bordeaux blend, possibly the same you cooked with.





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