FRANCE PART I, and Lyonnaise sausage w/ warm beans and sage butter

FRANCE PART I, and Lyonnaise sausage w/ warm beans and sage butter


All the best things in life are clichés.

Paris, is a cliché.

I’ve fought consciously throughout my adult life not to fall for it, or at the very least, say it out loud, fearing I’ll sound like a girl wanting to model or a guy in a sports car. It oozes unoriginality. But in the end, excuse mine if you will, as we sat predictably at an open cafe at 6:30 am, watching this city in beige and pastel grey slowly waking up in a wash of golden summer lights, acutely aware of its both corny and extraordinary allure. Paris, I succumbed, is Paris for a reason.

But I knew that four years ago, when I visited Paris for the time time. This time, I wanted more. And I didn’t mean a private jet from somewhere like to take me there (although a girl can dream, right?!).

I wanted more not from Paris, but from the country that it has instilled great bewilderment for inside my mind. If that was Paris, then what is France? An embarrassingly stupid question no doubt, for a pre-middle age woman to ask but frankly, I’m too old to pretend that I’m better. If I were destined with death-by-sugar then fuck it, bring out the ice cream-truck, and I want her every single available flavors including the weird ones against my best judgement. Not just to see her polished beauty but – almost out of both cynicism and total respect – I wanted to slowly cruise through her central veins, starting from Paris, then Burgundy, Lyon, Luberon, Marseille, then along her riviera that ends in Nice. What would I find on a road trip in France? Perhaps a side of her that looks no different than places just off of the New Jersey turnpike (and yes there are). Or perhaps more beautiful cliches? I will be able to travel through those perfectly imperfect ancient villages and chateaus freckling along her cheeks. Would I be able to have one? To find it unmistakably amidst all, to go back to it again and again? My favorite freckle of hers?

This isn’t the first road trip I’ve been on. I went on a big road trip in the US when I had just passed my driving test. I was very new to driving, I had only just learned how to buy car insurance, and I thought going on a huge road trip would be an amazing idea! Needless to say, it didn’t go entirely to plan, but I still had lots of fun. I remember one evening I pulled in for some food and ended up having a couple of glasses of wine. I didn’t even think that I was driving, which shows how knew I was to it! I had to use a blood alcohol concentration calculator and discovered I was over the limit. Thankfully there were some rooms at the place I stopped, so I just ended up staying the night there. It saved me a night in the car!

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Our journey began with a short pause in Paris. Depending on your aspirations, a stay across Sunday and Monday in the middle of August, is either the best, or worst time to be in Paris… In fact, all major cities in Europe for that matter. (don’t do it) Luckily, the city maintained enough functionality for us to pack enough saucissons, terrines, cheeses and mid-summer peaches to fuel our trip and the next day, we went south. I’ll say, that the first hour was not the most exciting thing to have happened in the history of road trips, but as the inevitable roughness surrounding every major city slowly peeled away, almost sensually, like a woman undressing, the lines of her terrain started to unveil, and her curves emerged throughout a landscape so vast, I could see the sun casting shadows through the clouds on her body like dappled lights.

You couldn’t help but sigh… fine… so she is. The postcards and footages you see about France’s wine country that you almost doesn’t want to believe is real because someone else has it and you don’t… All that, and yet in fact, she does. She does look like this, feel like this, smell like this, exist like this. It is almost infuriatingly true. That evening we arrived at Chateau de Burnand. How do I even describe the chateau… I almost chuckled… this impossible beauty that I found so carelessly on Airbnb only as a “mid-stop” between Paris and Lyon, like it’s some kind of gas station on a highway, but in return, perhaps changed how I feel about living forever. I am not sure if I can describe it… or if I even want to for that matter. You can’t describe a song and even if you tried, it will not convey.

But there were two tall, slander wooden window in our room. When opened, the brisk, cool morning air pours in, melts into the space and fills your pores. It almost consumes you, like a glass of aged wine, with a hint of grass, moss and fresh barn hays, alive and fluid… I could taste its intent.

It’s not quiet. It’s not… peace. But stillness, at heart.

In that moment, I felt, so rarely, that my mind could be still for a moment, or forever. There are a limited number of moments in life that your mind will not and cannot let go until the end, and I left one at the Chateau de Burnand.



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But of course I brilliantly planned only one short magical night at the chateau, and the next morning, we had to peel ourselves from the cool skins of Burgundy. Next, Lyon.

Maybe I didn’t get the memo or something, but as I mentioned before, apparently in August, every major cities in France were on vacation just as we were. Perhaps it’s time now to declare it as an reoccurring epiphany before I sound like a broken record when I start to talk about Marseille and, to a lesser extent, Cannes.

Just for the record, we didn’t really meet Lyon, okay, not really, or Marseille for that matter. They were both on vacation, sipping Mar Tai in Phuket or kicking foosball in Barcelona I don’t know. Maybe they were hanging out in a warrnambool cafe, who knows, all I know is that they weren’t here. So realizing that most shops, or most cities, was going to be unavailable as far as we could see, we changed tactic. We picnic.

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We still hit a few highlights. Cafe Comptoir Abel, because the most unapologetic part of French cuisines – the heavily creamed mustard sauce that engulfs a tripe-filled anduillette proud in its girth, the petite lamb kidneys finished in a butter-laiden wine sauce, the pike souffle broiled under a blanket of white bachamel so rich it congealed the second it started to cool – thank god, is still here. And Le Bouchon Des Filles, because of its reasonably priced and delicately planned 5-course meal including boudin noir and apple baked in puff pastry, and lime sorbet with crumbled meringue.

But for the most parts, we picnic.

In Grand Park Miribel Jonage, just 30 minutes off of Lyon, big and small pocks of blue lagoons and a couple of peaceful swans, spent a lovely afternoon with us. At that point ,we could only hope that our next destination, a small village called Loumarin of the Luberon region in Provence, was going to be in a less holiday mood.



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Lyonnaise sausage, a thick fresh pork sausage almost mandatory in every bouchon in Lyon, is usually served with lentil salad. But here, I’ve adapted it to go with warm beans flavored with clove and star anise in an emulsion of chicken stock, Dijon mustard and butter, then more browned butter with crispy sage. This type of sausage, which I thought would taste like bologna but actually resembles closer to ham, can be hard to find and substitute for. If you can find something similar, go for it, but if not, I would say that sweet Italian sausage, although not the same thing, would tastes great in this preparation as well.

Lyonnaise sausage w/ warm beans and sage butter

Serving Size: 4


  • 1 Lyonnaise sausage (mine weight 455 grams), or equivalent amount of sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small carrot (100 grams/1 cup), cut into chunks
  • 1 celery stalk (90 grams/1 scant cup), cut into chunks
  • 1 medium onion, cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 whole clove
  • 1 star anise
  • 4 cups (1000ml) chicken stock
  • 3 cans (400 grams per can) cannelini beans
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Sea salt, ground white and black pepper to season
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 small handful of fresh sage leaves


  1. In a cast-iron pot (or any heavy bottomed pot) over medium heat, add olive oil, carrot, celery, onion, garlic and bay leaves. Season with a pinch of sea salt, 1/4 tsp of white and black pepper each, and cook for several minutes until the onions are soft. Add clove, star anise and chicken stock, then close the lid and simmer for 20 min. Add the Lyonnaise sausage (or Italian sweet sausage). Close the lid and bring the liquid back to a simmer, then TURN OFF THE HEAT and let the sausage poach, lid on, for 40 min (or 20 min for Italian sausages).
  2. Remove the sausage and cover with a foil to keep warm. Strain the stock, then bring it back to a simmer. Cook until the liquid has reduced down to almost 1/2. Drain the canned beans and rinse slightly under water to get rid of any excess starch, then add to the stock. The stock should just barely covers the beans. Simmer for 10 min, or until the stock starts to thicken. Re-season with more sea salt and pepper if needed. Turn off the heat, then add Dijon mustard and unsalted butter. Stir gently until the butter has melted, then set aside.
  3. Heat 3 tbsp unsalted butter in a small pot over medium-high heat until it starts to bubble. Add the fresh sage leaves, swirling constantly, and fry until the leaves are crispy, and the butter is browned.
  4. Slice the sausage and place on top of the beans, spooned with sage brown butter. Serve with crusty bread.

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  • Jocelyn

    August 27, 2016 at 1:09 AM Reply

    Just found your blog through Saveur – absolutely brilliant (and I look at a LOT of food blogs ha) – every aspect. Keep doing what you’re doing!!

  • Debbie Yue

    August 27, 2016 at 1:32 AM Reply

    Love reading about your adventures, recipes, and seeing the gorgeous travel photos. Travel and food are my life’s self fulfilling objectives, which is why I do travel work to delicious places. Looking forward to your next France installment.

  • Joyce @ Sun Diego Eats

    August 27, 2016 at 2:06 AM Reply

    We went to France this past May and did Paris and then Provence basing ourselves in Lourmarin too and really, really loved it there. We didn’t eat out too much but the food we bought at the local markets was amazing. Since it was late spring there were tons of melons, goat cheese, and tapenade. Even the cherries my mom surreptitiously picked from the town parking lot were great. Lots of picnics for us too…

  • RossC

    August 27, 2016 at 4:38 AM Reply

    Love reading of your adventure… :O)

    The recipe seems so simple and delicious that I have to put it together using Italian sweet sausage… Your finished dish is lovely…

  • Naomi

    August 27, 2016 at 6:29 AM Reply

    I am so happy that you are out of Beijing, China

  • george tsaklidis

    August 27, 2016 at 1:30 PM Reply

    What a nice thing to wake up to on a really warm Saturday summer morning in Paris !!! … this is the simple & honest type of food here in France that I love … and t’s always versatile & open to one’s reinterpretations & culinary whims. Great pics & a job well done Mandy (we’ll meet up in Paris next time) … Sure it’ll be hard to get Lyonnaise sausage outside of France but you know what, most sausages are wonderful anyways and making your own sausages is easier than you think, especially fresh ones that don’t require curing … i’ve just finished making a new batch again … :) Take care, GT

  • Lisa

    August 27, 2016 at 8:00 PM Reply

    Your pictures are stunning, the sausage &beans simply elegant

  • Kimberly

    August 28, 2016 at 3:54 AM Reply

    I think you are the best

  • Sandra

    August 29, 2016 at 3:16 PM Reply

    Hi Mandy, love your blog and love your account of your trip to France, cause it fills me with a feeling of homesickness-away-from-home. Living practically next-door to France (The Netherlands), France has become a yearly travel destination for my husband and myself. The painting you describe in your blog, I totally recognize it, but it never fails to fill us with awe of all the beauty just one country has to offer. Yesssss, we know about the ‘August-thing’, but it has its charms as well, not having to stand in a que before the Louvre, to name one. But what never fails to charm us, is the way the French take on their own holiday spirit, mostly by enjoying Le Picnick, using every available space to spread out a blanket and consume every delicacy mostly served on the dining table. When we first encountered this phenomenon we thought euhh no, we want to eat our lunch at a table in a restaurant and not on a blanket along the Route National or along the banks of a river. But you quickly learn, restaurants in France, oddly enough, close between LUNCH time…… so one has to take its own precautions, to avoid walking in one of those charming towns and finding the only restaurant in the area closed during lunch time. And when you’re hungry, you don’t want to wander around aimlessly waiting for the restaurant to open again at two o’clock, by that time your own hunger has subsided. So you do what the French do and have been doing for decades, you stock up at the local supermarche, boulangerie or boucherie, and be the master of your own lunch. We even went kayaking on the Dordogne river for three days in a row, just to have one more excuse for a picknic.
    But of course Le Picknick is just one of the many charms of France, as you have discovered yourself. I am looking forward to Part II of your road trip.

  • Kyungjin

    September 1, 2016 at 8:08 PM Reply

    Oh, my God, Mandy! Those pictures are to die for! Beautiful pictures, and beautiful recipe. This will keep me going for a few days. Am ever grateful!

  • Laura

    September 5, 2016 at 8:07 AM Reply

    I have no idea if this even close to lyonnaise sausage (I suspect no), but I just made this with braunschweiger (liverwurst) and it was wonderful. It hit all the same notes as cassoulet, but didn’t take all day. As soon as it gets cold here, this will be in heavy rotation.

  • Carlotta

    September 7, 2016 at 4:35 PM Reply

    You are so incredibly clever and sensitive.
    I am half French, half Italian.
    I’ve been living abroad for five years now, not so far away from my countries but somewhere so grey and synthetic that inevitably feels much further from the warmth beauty of my countries.
    I swear, I’ve tried many times to explain to my foreign friends how it really feels. How Italy feels and how France feels. The smells, the colors, the tastes, the pleasure you feel living them.
    They do appreciate, but they don’t get it.
    You do, you get it.
    Thank you for sharing <3

  • Margaux Shops For You

    October 14, 2016 at 11:11 PM Reply

    Was so excited to try this recipe as I am from Lyon and I’ve never seen such an interesting take on the saucisson on any blogs! I live in Scotland and my parents came to visit so I asked them to bring a saucisson and we made it last night: de-li-cious. WOW. So much better than with the traditional potatoes. We slightly changed the recipe: cooked the saucisson in the veg + water, not chicken stock, cause we didn’t want to give a chickeny tasty to the meat. Also we kept the carrots/ onions/ celery with the beans, and they were so tasty. Thanks for such a great, modern recipe :) Can’t wait to go home at xmas and make it again!

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