Roast chicken with aligot

This post is really about aligot, not roast chicken or even about red, orange and yellow carrots.

Aligot is a dish from the Massif Central in France. This region is noted for dairy produce, specifically cheeses like Cantal and Laguiole, with the latter being the cheese used in the Aveyron, which is claimed to the the original version. There is an excellent recipe for Aligot in Jeanne Strang’s book Goose Fat and Garlic. Her recipe uses the cheese known as tomme fraiche de Cantal.

Anyway, the dish is associated with the Auvergne, the Pays d’Aubrac, the Aveyron and elsewhere in south-western and southern France.

In simple terms, it is a rich purée of mashed potato with cheese and garlic. If you follow the purists, the correct cheese is the young fresh version of Laguiole, known as tomme de Laguiole, but you are extremely unlikely to find this in the UK, so you need an alternative. Cantal Doux is a good one, but so is the smooth buttery kind of Lancashire, which is what I used for this recipe. The purists will no doubt be horrified, but sometimes authenticity can be overrated and, anyway, I expect that in the Auvergne there are plenty of cooks who will defend their own local cheese as being the right kind for l’Aligot. You have to work with what is available. I would say, however that Cheddar is all wrong here so avoid using that.

Anyway, you need to boil and mash some floury potatoes, a ricer is great here as you get a lovely smooth mash.

Then you need garlic, a lot of garlic, which you need to cook in some butter until it melts. I find that grating it with a microplane grater helps a lot. Then add in some cream and the mashed potatoes and keep stirring.

Next, add in your grated cheese, you will need a lot, because this dish is all about the cheese, which you want to melt and bind together with the potatoes. You should keep on stirring with a wooden spoon over a low flame until the mixture is smooth and unctuous. Do not use a hand whisk or stick blender, because the texture will be all wrong.

The aligot is ready when it becomes stringy.

This is very rich and you won’t really need a lot on the plate. It goes well with sausages or with roast chicken, but you can also eat it by itself with just a green salad.

Any leftover aligot can be formed into balls or croquettes, floured, egged and breadcrumbed and deep-fried.


One thought on “Roast chicken with aligot

  1. I live in Cantal so I am able to make this easily but what I love about your post

    is that you are suggesting alternatives so that English people can make this
    illegally gorgeous mash themselves. I have had it in Aveyron (actually very recently) made with tomme de Laguiole and it really tastes no different in truth (but don’t tell them) to the Cantal version. I have friends who make AOC St Nectaire on their farm high in the Cezallier and she uses her own tomme – also delectable. I can’t visit them too often as I would be the size of a small barge …. anyway – thank you … I really enjoyed the post 🙂

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