Today’s all home produced lunch was beautiful!. Firstly the Ancona cockerel that did not make the breeding pens was slaughtered at 12 weeks of age. At this young age the meat is soft and tender, but not as tasty as an old hen, which I prefer for slow cooked poultry dishes such as “Pollo alla cacciatora in bianco”. Nevertheless, it was very good. I vacuum seal the chickens (and all other animals) when slaughtered and keep them in the fridge for some three to four weeks to age – never frozen. The organic carrots were from a friends garden and I wish that I could have claimed origin as they were so tasty. The cardoons were from my garden and they grow so well in Dunedin that the rabbits have a serving every day. Whatever is left over, we eat.
Cardi alla parmigiana went well with the chicken and carrots and of course some home brewed wine. I am drinking from a damigiana of cherry wine which is dry and fruity and a good compliment to any meal. The only criticism may be that it lacks some body, but all the other wonderful attributes overrides any shortcomings. The wine of the house is not always perfect!
Select the biggest outside leaves of the cardoon and strip the leaves of the stem and use a potato peeler to peel the strings from the outside, (almost like preparing celery) of the stem. Cook in salt water and the juice of one lemon until tender. Drain and set aside. Dip the dried cardoon in flour and egg and fry until golden in a bit of olive oil. Prepare bechamel sauce and arrange the cardoon pieces in a baking dish, ( I use individual serve cast iron pots) cover with bechamel, parmigiano and cracked black pepper and repeat the layers until the dish is full. Place some butter pieces on top and bake in the oven at 180 C for 20 minutes.
Do not forget the wine.