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Gently simmered and very fragrant recipe. Noilly Prat is a brand of vermouth from France. “White” Noilly Prat is the archetype of dry, straw-coloured French vermouth. Noilly Prat now makes Red and Ambre vermouths as well, introduced in the 1960s and 1980s, but they are less widely known. Noilly Prat Dry is 18% alcohol by volume. The Noilly Prat company is based in Marseillan, in the Hérault département of southern France. Joseph Noilly, a herbalist, developed the first formula in 1813.

The manufacturing process used today is virtually unchanged since the 1850s. Noilly Prat is made exclusively from white grape varieties grown in the Marseillan area, principally Picpoul de Pinet and Clairette. These produce light, fruity wines which are matured in massive Canadian oak casks inside the original storerooms. The wine stays in these casks for 8 months, maturing and absorbing the flavour of the wood, before being transferred to smaller oak barrels which are taken outside and left for a year. Here they are exposed to the sun, wind, and low winter temperatures, while the wine is slowly changing. The result is a wine that is dry, full-bodied and amber coloured, similar to Madeira or Sherry. During the year outside, 6 to 8% of the volume is lost to evaporation, the “angels’ share”.

Noilly-Prat production area in Marseillan

Brought back inside and left to rest for a few months, the wines are then blended together into oak casks. A small quantity of Mistelle (grape juice and alcohol) is added to the wines in order to soften them, along with a dash of fruit essence to accentuate their flavour.
In the oak casks, a process of maceration, supposedly unique to Noilly Prat, takes place over a period of three weeks. A blend of some twenty herbs and spices is added by hand every day. The exact mix of herbs and spices that goes into Noilly Prat is a closely guarded secret, but includes camomile, bitter orange peel, nutmeg, centaury (Yellow Gentian), coriander, and cloves. After a further six weeks, the finished product is ready for bottling and is shipped in tankers to Beaucaire, Gard, where it is bottled by Martini & Rossi.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

800 g / 2 lbs veal cut into cubes
30 g / 2 tablespoons butter
4 shallots, finely diced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
80 ml / 1/3 cup Nouilly Prat
180 ml / 3/4 cup chicken stock
Pinch of sugar
1 bay leaf
4 sage leaves, fresh
200 ml / 3/4 cup heavy cream
Parsley, fresh, roughly chopped for garnish

Preparation:

Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium high heat
Add the veal and brown on all sides
Add the shallots, salt and pepper and cook a few more minutes
Pour in half the Nouilly Prat
Add the chicken stock and the bay leaf and lower heat to a slow simmer
Allow to simmer, covered, for 1 hour
Add the rest of the Nouilly Prat
Dice the sage leaves and add to the pan and leave to cook, uncovered, another 15 minutes for the sauce to thicken
Remove from the stove
Remove the bay leaf and check the seasoning
Add the cream and stir well
Sprinkle with parsley
Serve with homemade pappardelle pasta
Bon Appétit!

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