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
2 eggs
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.

By Published On: March 8th, 202249 Comments

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!

49 Comments

  1. Travel Gourmet March 8, 2022 at 7:40 AM - Reply

    Sounds amazing!

    • Chef Mimi March 8, 2022 at 8:57 AM - Reply

      It was so interesting! Probably won’t ever make it again. So much food, so little time…

  2. Gerlinde d March 8, 2022 at 10:19 AM - Reply

    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.

    • Chef Mimi March 8, 2022 at 2:36 PM - Reply

      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!

  3. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen March 8, 2022 at 12:02 PM - Reply

    Thank you for sharing this Mimi! So unusual, and I’ve never heard of it before.

    • Chef Mimi March 8, 2022 at 2:33 PM - Reply

      It just this peasant Alpine dish, but I found it so fascinating!

  4. BERNADETTE March 8, 2022 at 12:14 PM - Reply

    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.

    • Chef Mimi March 8, 2022 at 2:33 PM - Reply

      So happy to do it! I love food memories.

  5. For the Love of Cooking March 8, 2022 at 12:42 PM - Reply

    Very interesting combination of flavors & textures. I’ve never had this before but think it would be fun to try!

    • Chef Mimi March 8, 2022 at 2:33 PM - Reply

      Definitely an interesting combination of ingredients. It was very interesting to experience!

  6. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella March 9, 2022 at 12:12 AM - Reply

    This sounds divine! I love the idea of the sweet fruit and the meat together.

    • Chef Mimi March 9, 2022 at 6:25 AM - Reply

      And it works! A very unique peasant dish.

  7. David @ Spiced March 9, 2022 at 6:40 AM - Reply

    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!!

    • Chef Mimi March 9, 2022 at 2:00 PM - Reply

      I can’t watch the tour any more without Lance… even though… you know.

  8. kitchenriffs March 9, 2022 at 10:02 AM - Reply

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this dish. Certainly haven’t had it. Sounds like a fun flavor combo. Thanks!

    • Chef Mimi March 9, 2022 at 1:59 PM - Reply

      It was fun to make and try.

  9. Valentina March 9, 2022 at 2:52 PM - Reply

    Never heard of this and it’s one of the most interesting flavor combinations ever. I love cooking “projects” like this. :-) ~Valentina

    • Chef Mimi March 9, 2022 at 3:17 PM - Reply

      It was a fun project. Very peasanty and interesting.

  10. Hannah Kaminsky March 9, 2022 at 6:42 PM - Reply

    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.

    • Chef Mimi March 10, 2022 at 6:30 AM - Reply

      I loved the shows with Eric Ripert. Have you seen the one I mentioned, about Sicily? So hysterical.

  11. sherry March 9, 2022 at 9:54 PM - Reply

    this sounds absolutely weird and fascinating and delicious!

    • Chef Mimi March 10, 2022 at 6:29 AM - Reply

      Weird, indeed. Very interesting!

  12. Angie@Angie's Recipes March 10, 2022 at 8:23 AM - Reply

    I need to try this Farcon too! Love how it turned out and the combo of flavours and textures sound really fantastic, Mimi.

  13. angiesrecipes March 10, 2022 at 8:26 AM - Reply

    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?

    • Chef Mimi March 10, 2022 at 8:28 AM - Reply

      I simply used heavy duty foil. It’s a pretty fascinating recipe!

  14. Jeff the Chef March 10, 2022 at 9:21 AM - Reply

    Oh my God, this is my kind of food! I can’t wait to make it!

    • Chef Mimi March 10, 2022 at 3:10 PM - Reply

      I love your reaction!!! I’m that way too!

  15. Jean March 10, 2022 at 10:17 AM - Reply

    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.

    • Chef Mimi March 10, 2022 at 3:09 PM - Reply

      It’s a great episode – so much wonderful food!

  16. Raymund March 10, 2022 at 6:41 PM - Reply

    Now you made me miss Anthony Bourdain, I still watch his old shows. And that Farçon de Bresse looks amazing Chef

    • Chef Mimi March 11, 2022 at 9:17 AM - Reply

      I know. I watch them occasionally. I always loved the ones with ERic Ripert because they were such opposites!

  17. 2pots2cook March 11, 2022 at 4:59 AM - Reply

    Food like this made me fall in love with Anthony Bourdain! great dish!

    • Chef Mimi March 11, 2022 at 9:17 AM - Reply

      Yes. We all miss him so much. Really sad.

  18. Fran @ G'day Souffle March 11, 2022 at 9:41 PM - Reply

    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!

    • Chef Mimi March 12, 2022 at 8:00 AM - Reply

      That’s exactly what they said on the show!!!

  19. Healthy World Cuisine March 12, 2022 at 11:17 AM - Reply

    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.

    • Chef Mimi March 13, 2022 at 9:00 AM - Reply

      There is definitely a lot of bacon in this!

  20. Ronit Penso Tasty Eats March 12, 2022 at 1:57 PM - Reply

    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. :)

    • Chef Mimi March 13, 2022 at 8:59 AM - Reply

      I saw the documentary as well. A very complicated man with such great passion.

  21. Eva Taylor March 13, 2022 at 9:18 AM - Reply

    I saw this on Facebook and was intrigued, was it good?

    • Chef Mimi March 13, 2022 at 9:23 AM - Reply

      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.

  22. eliotthecat March 13, 2022 at 9:46 AM - Reply

    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.

    • Chef Mimi March 13, 2022 at 9:50 AM - Reply

      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!

  23. thatskinnychickcanbake March 13, 2022 at 9:38 PM - Reply

    A new one for me, too! But it sounds delicious, and definitely out of the ordinary!

    • Chef Mimi March 14, 2022 at 5:57 PM - Reply

      A unique peasant dish that I’m glad I discovered.

  24. Frank Fariello March 18, 2022 at 7:29 AM - Reply

    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.

    • Chef Mimi March 18, 2022 at 9:08 AM - Reply

      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.

  25. David Scott Allen March 20, 2022 at 9:29 AM - Reply

    I remember you abd I discussing the episode with Ripert! This looks amazing, really have to try it!

    • Chef Mimi March 20, 2022 at 9:42 AM - Reply

      It’s a little on the blah side – kind of typical peasant food in my opinion. It was fun to make, though!

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