Southern-French Country Aligot

The king of comfort and comfort food.

Marchastel, Aubrac in the region of Lozere France

Sunrise in Marchastel Village

I love living in the city. The culture, variety, independent cinemas and a plethora of nice little restaurants and cafés at your fingertips. However, there are days when I absolutely hate it. Waking up to honking horns, the smell of pee and garbage in the alley streets, and not being able to find a place to sit on the metro and expensive housing are just a few of those less positive city characteristics.  I must admit we are very fortunate to have an escape. My boyfriend’s maternal family is from a little village called Marchastel in Lozere. Marchastel is a village consisting of 14 houses, one church and one restaurant. Although Pierre’s immediate family don’t live there anymore, they have recently built a comfy little country cabin for family and holidays. It is the perfect weekend getaway situated in the middle of rolling hills and big stones. It’s no wonder that we tend to find ourselves there quite often.

Sunset looking over Marchastel

The regional dish of Aligot resembles a white stringy gloppy mess and is not very impressive at first glance. That is, until you eat it.

I definitely will not be ranting on about the nutritional and health benefits of this dish, and once you take a look at the ingredients list you will see why.  However, this is a dish made with all fresh and local ingredients and I would choose that over a diet-whatever synthesized in some chemical laboratory any day. Health is about finding balance, which is easier said than done. It is important to nourish our bodies with the nutrients it needs, but also important to have some indulgences and savor really good food. Aligot is usually served as a side dish with duck, sausage or red meat, and for special events, large family dinners and during festivals.

Recipe

  • 500 grams of potatoes
  • 300 grams of fresh Tome cheese (If you live in the UK or North America, you can substitute with farmhouse Lancashire or any other subtile fresh cheese)
  • 50 grams of butter
  • 20 centi-liters of fresh cream
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Making Aligot

Directions: First start by steaming your peeled potatoes until soft. Pour out the water from steaming, then begin to mash potatoes until almost smooth (I have found that hand mashers work best for this part). While mashing, add in your butter, fresh cream and crushed garlic. Once ingredients are blended together to form a thick mash, place the pan over low heat and add the cheese. Continue mixing and turning in circles with a wooden spoon always in the same direction. This helps to create that stringy cheese texture that Aligot is famous for. Continue slowly turning and lifting the texture (almost like your stretching it) for about 10-15 minutes until you have a thick stringy heavy dough-like substance.

Aligot is most famously served with sausage or duck, but can be enjoyed with just about anything. Welcome to the country! Bienvenue à la campagne!

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