Farçon de Bresse
Recently I was watching Anthony Bourdain’s show, Parts Unknown, episode The French Alps (Season 10 Episode 1). It was one that also featured his friend Eric Ripert. In the show, they ski, they eat, they milk a cow, eat some more, ski, eat, and etc. At the restaurants on the mountain and in Chamonix, they enjoyed raclette, fondue, pan-seared foie-gras, seared veal with mushroom sauce, croûte aux morilles, and more.
At a restaurant above Chamonix, I observed the making of something I’ve never seen or heard of before – Farçon. It’s basically a potato cake with bacon, but also included prunes and raisins! It was made in a Bundt-like tall pan, cooked in a Bain Marie. I just had to find out more.
From Gourmetpedia I discovered this recipe, by Pierre Carrier, owner and chef of La Maison Carrier in the hotel Le Hameau Albert Ier, Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France. From Gourmetpedia.net, “This is a typical Savoyard recipe that varies from valley to valley. You’ll sometimes find it made with dried apples and a pinch of nutmeg. It is basically a potato cake with prunes, bacon and raisins. It provides meat (bacon), starch (potato) and dessert (fruit) all in one dish! It was traditionally a poor man’s dish, and while the family went to Mass in the village, the farçon cooked in a special tall pan with a central chimney.”
I couldn’t find an appropriate pan, so I used an old soufflé dish. It was recommended to serve the day it’s made or the next day, cut into thick slices and reheated in a skillet with a little butter, accompanied with a green salad.
That sounded like a perfect meal, and it was delicious.
Authentic Farçon from Chamonix
1 large onion
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces diced bacon
2 1/4 pounds potatoes
10 thin slices bacon
6 tablespoons cream
Salt and pepper
7 ounces dried prunes
2 ounces currants
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Peel and thinly slice the onion. Sweat the onion in a pan with the butter and the diced bacon. Cover the pan to help soften the onion. Notice I forgot to include the bacon!
Grate the raw potatoes. Line the bottom and sides of a cocotte or souffle dish with the slices of bacon.
Combine the potatoes, onion, bacon bits, cream, eggs, prunes and currants together. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour into the mold. Fold the bacon strips over the top.
Cover and cook in a water bath for 4 hours. Remove the Farçon from the oven and let rest 15 minutes before unmolding.
It sliced beautifully.
If you want to watch the funniest Parts Unknown, watch Sicily – Season 2, Episode 5. Hysterical.
It was so interesting! Probably won’t ever make it again. So much food, so little time…
Mimi, I just got this beautiful book called Alpine Cooking by Meredith Erickson and it has a recipe for Farcon Savoyard which is almost identical to yours. You would love this book.
I own that book! My post about liptauer came from that book. For some reason the farcon didn’t jump out at me. Maybe it’s different when the process is being narrated by Anthony Bourdain!
Thank you for sharing this Mimi! So unusual, and I’ve never heard of it before.
It just this peasant Alpine dish, but I found it so fascinating!
This is a recipe that is new to me. Somehow, it reminds me of an Italian dish that was served at Easter. I will have to give it a try and see if the taste is similar. Thanks Mimi for an unusual recipe and jogging my memory.
So happy to do it! I love food memories.
Very interesting combination of flavors & textures. I’ve never had this before but think it would be fun to try!
Definitely an interesting combination of ingredients. It was very interesting to experience!
This sounds divine! I love the idea of the sweet fruit and the meat together.
And it works! A very unique peasant dish.
Wow – what a fun and unique recipe! I’ve heard of Chamonix as I believe the Tour de France went through there sometime in recent years – I love watching the Tour as it’s a combination of sports and amazing French countryside. I’ve never heard of this recipe, though. Prunes + bacon + potatoes? I would never have guessed! I’d love to try this!!
I can’t watch the tour any more without Lance… even though… you know.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this dish. Certainly haven’t had it. Sounds like a fun flavor combo. Thanks!
It was fun to make and try.
Never heard of this and it’s one of the most interesting flavor combinations ever. I love cooking “projects” like this. :-) ~Valentina
It was a fun project. Very peasanty and interesting.
What a wild mashup of sweet and savory flavors! I love Anthony Bourdain but don’t remember this dish at all. Clearly, I need to re-watch the whole series. Talk about a timeless, endless source of inspiration.
I loved the shows with Eric Ripert. Have you seen the one I mentioned, about Sicily? So hysterical.
this sounds absolutely weird and fascinating and delicious!
Weird, indeed. Very interesting!
I need to try this Farcon too! Love how it turned out and the combo of flavours and textures sound really fantastic, Mimi.
Cover and cook in a water bath for 4 hours…will a simple plate do the trick? Or do I need a lid that really fits?
I simply used heavy duty foil. It’s a pretty fascinating recipe!
Oh my God, this is my kind of food! I can’t wait to make it!
I love your reaction!!! I’m that way too!
This is exactly my kind of food–what a great find. I usually pay close attention to the food in his shows but don’t remember this one. This is a must-make.
It’s a great episode – so much wonderful food!
Now you made me miss Anthony Bourdain, I still watch his old shows. And that Farçon de Bresse looks amazing Chef
I know. I watch them occasionally. I always loved the ones with ERic Ripert because they were such opposites!
Food like this made me fall in love with Anthony Bourdain! great dish!
Yes. We all miss him so much. Really sad.
Looks like a terrine which has all your veggies, protein, and dessert (prunes, raisins) all rolled into one! I’ve never heard of this recipe but it sounds delicious!
That’s exactly what they said on the show!!!
What is not to love about this fantastic recipe! The boys are going to love this. After all, they feel that bacon belongs in its own food group.
There is definitely a lot of bacon in this!
A couple of months ago I’ve watched a documentary about Bourdain, and it turned out he was a very introvert person, and filming the show was far from easy for him, not to mention he had a very hard time coping with the lack of privacy after he became famous. Now I find it very hard to watch his sows!
The recipe, however, sound so good. I’m all for fruity additions to savory dishes. :)
I saw the documentary as well. A very complicated man with such great passion.
I saw this on Facebook and was intrigued, was it good?
It was interesting. I wouldn’t make it again, but then, I like to make new things, try out a unique recipe.It was interesting.
It’s still hard for me to watch Bourdain. I’m going to try to read A Cook’s Tour soon. Too sad. This dish reminds me of a sausage fruit cake I have. Interesting.
I understand. His death really hit us all hard, since he just seemed like our buddy. Really tough. I’d love to know more of this sausage fruit cake!
A new one for me, too! But it sounds delicious, and definitely out of the ordinary!
A unique peasant dish that I’m glad I discovered.
I thought I knew French cooking rather well, but this one is entirely new to me. Now I want to try it!
Funny thing, I used to love watching Anthony Bourdain’s shows, but ever since he passed I’ve not been able to.
I’m the opposite – I have to keep watching him, but I love the ones with his friend Eric Ripert. So sad. This is such a peasant alpine dish, I don’t think it’s well known, especially in the classic French cuisine as we know it.
I remember you abd I discussing the episode with Ripert! This looks amazing, really have to try it!
It’s a little on the blah side – kind of typical peasant food in my opinion. It was fun to make, though!