Preparation : 45 minutes
Cooking time : 1 and a half hours,plus 10 minutes in the oven.
Ingredients for 6 people :
About 1 1/2 kilos of veal breast
150 grams of sausage meat (side of veal opened with a knife by your butcher)
a bunch of swiss chard.
250 grams of peas
2 cloves of garlic
100 grams of rice.
50 grams of grated gruyère
4 little violet artichokes.
a handful of breadcrumbs soaked in milk
3 carrots, 3 courgettes, 4 leeks, and a parsley, thyme.
Bouquet garni for the bouillon, salt, pepper, cinnamon, olive oil.
Boil the rice for 15 minutes and then strain it. Chop the onion and the garlic and fry them for 10 minutes with a pinch of thyme on a medium heat. Add the sausage meat, sprinkling it in little pieces in the pan, and then the green chard leaves which you have previously cut into thin strips and washed then pressed between your hands 2 or 3 times. Trim the artichokes and chop them up. Fry gently for 3 minutes in the olive oil.
In a large salad bowl mix thoroughly the rice, onion, garlic, sausage meat, the green leaves, the artichokes and the peas. Add the pressed bread crumbs,the beaten eggs, the gruyère and the chopped parsley. Season with salt, pepper and cinnamon. Mix again.
Now push all this seasoning into the gap in the veal made by your butcher and close it all up by sewing it together. Heat some salted water in a tall saucepan, place inside the vegetables and the bouquet garni. Cook your pièch for an hour and a half at medium heat.
Let it drain for a quarter of an hour at the end of cooking and then put it into a very hot oven for 10 minutes after having covered it with oil.
The bouillon may be kept with its vegetables and eaten like that of the pot-au-feu, by serving it with grilled croûtons and grated cheese.
Your “pièch” may be served the first day by cutting it into fairly thick slices.. But it will be even better and easier to cut the next day, nicely cooled down, with a tasty mesclun. You can also serve it on a warm layer of tomato sauce.
Gourmands also replace the artichokes and peas when out of season by courgettes, broad beans,or even marrow. Gourmets will add courgette flowers!
Whatever you do, “lou pièch” remains one of the master-pieces of niçois cuisine, based as it is on swiss chard, fried onions, eggs and rice, and which capitalises upon lesser qualities of meat and stuffings which have been cooked a long time and are well-seasoned.
The “pièch”, much easier to slice the day after cooking, is delicious with a mesclun* salad and some little olives.
* This is a mixed salad composed of roquette, feuille de chêne,chervil and lettuce.