The Château d'Orion cooks a delicious two-course menu for us

Opener kitchen whispers

A pre-Christmas menu by Manuel Kohler, Schlosskoch im Château d'Orion

The "Château d'Orion" is a historic castle that was once a lay monastery and is idyllically located in southwest France between Biarritz and Pau. The 500-year-old château is now a wonderful meeting place in terms of Franco-German friendship. This can also be experienced culinary in the castle kitchen. The basic principle "64", which is derived from Département 64, applies there. Specifically, this means that predominantly goods and products are purchased that come from a radius of no more than 64 kilometers and come from sustainable agriculture. The estate also has its own permaculture garden full of fresh fruit and vegetables. Thanks to the garden, the company can largely be self-sufficient.

Manuel Kohler is one of the castle chefs at the Château d'Orion and today he reveals his favorite recipes, which can be wonderfully combined to conjure up a festive two-course menu: Sweet and sour butternut squash with fried mushrooms and creamy polenta as the main course and marinated strawberries with elderflower and meringue toppings for dessert. We think: a heavenly pleasure!

The castle kitchen also prepares vegetarian and vegan dishes

Ingredients for sweet and sour butternut squash with fried mushrooms and creamy polenta

For people 4

  • 1 butternut squash
  • 800g mixed mushrooms (fresh if possible)
  • 2 shallots
  • 250 ml of milk
  • 1 sprig each of rosemary, thyme and oregano
  • two gloves of garlic
  • 100g butter
  • 1 l vegetable stock
  • 250g Polenta meal (if possible Grand Roux from the Béarn or Basque Country)
  • 100g Parmesan
  • 1 pinch each of sugar, pepper and salt
  • Olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Preparation:

1. Cut the butternut squash into finger-thick slices, roughly clean and quarter the mushrooms. Finely dice the shallots.

2. Bring the milk with rosemary, thyme and the garlic cloves to the boil, add the butter and leave to stand, covered.

3. Set up a large saucepan with the vegetable stock and heat it up. Stir the polenta into the hot broth and simmer on a low flame while stirring constantly. Raw corn semolina gets better the longer it cooks - it can take one to two hours - with instant polenta you can shorten the whole thing to a few minutes.

4. It can happen that the polenta sticks to the bottom, that's ok. This layer can later be removed from the cold pot and eaten, it is crispy and has lots of toasted aromas - a pleasure!

5. When the polenta is no longer thick, add the sieved flavored milk and stir in the coarsely grated Parmesan.

6. Fry the quartered mushrooms without fat, after five minutes add the onions and a little olive oil, pepper and oregano. Fry on a low heat until the onions are translucent.

7. Sear the pumpkin, season with salt, pepper and sugar in the pan and deglaze with a good dash of fine balsamic vinegar.

The marinated strawberries for dessert

Ingredients for marinated strawberries with elderflower and meringue toppings:

For people 4

  • 500 g strawberries (please do not wash, so organic if possible), quartered. We take "Mara des Bois" or "Gariguette"

For the marinade:

  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • elderberry syrup
  • A shot glass of white wine
  • Elder flowers plucked

For the meringue top:

  • 4 protein
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon
  • 200 g sugar

Preparation:

1. Pour the marinade of lemon, lemon zest, white wine and elderberry syrup over the strawberries and marinate for about an hour.

2. For the meringue topping, beat the cold egg whites into very stiff snow, then fold in a few drops of lemon juice. That gives special stability.

3. Gradually pour in half of the sugar while beating vigorously, then continue beating until the mixture is firm. Fold in the rest of the sugar at once, continue beating vigorously until the mixture is very stiff, smooth and shiny. Immediately use a piping bag or a cake syringe to squirt different shapes onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper.

4. Let it dry slowly with low heat at 100 - 120 degrees top / bottom heat in the preheated oven, depending on the size for 60 - 90 minutes. The meringue caps must NOT turn brown.

5. Arrange the strawberries on a nice bowl. Drape the meringue bonnets around it and decorate with flowers.

The entire team from Château d'Orion I now wish you a lot of fun preparing this multi-course meal, with which you can indulge your fellow human beings with culinary delights. Good luck and bon appetite!

Manuel Kohler, castle chef and Elke and Tobias Premauer, hosts at the Château d'Orion

Photo credits for the food pictures: Katharina Pflug

Tobias and Elke Premauer are the hosts at the Château d'Orion
The French way of life in the Château d'Orion
A pretty view of the room
The castle looks back on a long history
Idyllically located in the southwest of France: The Château d'Orion

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