We stayed at the Mercure Centre Cathedral for our trip to see the Tour de France very near the Rouen cathedral. We were hungry and the concierge recommended Paul. Located at 1 Cathedral square next to Notre Dame Rouen, Brasserie Paul is the oldest brewery in Rouen still active.
The menu has a lot of rustic local items such as rabbit and andouillette sausage. I thought I knew what what andouille sasauge was, a spicy firm sausage you find in American groceries and I thought I knew what this was. I was wrong.
Instead I was served this lovely little dish, but when I cut into the sausage I found a sort of collection of little bits of meat and cartilage with a very interesting aroma. I asked for some Tabasco sauce and finished it, it really was pretty good, but when I got home I looked it up. Lisa's chicken was grown in Normandy, free range, and was excellent. Everything was really good and I would recommend this restaurant.
The American andouille sausage is a spiced, smoked pork sausage, defined as a coarse-grained smoked sausage made using pork, pepper, onions, wine, and seasonings. It is used in a lot of Cajun recipes. Andouille is French in origin, and was later brought to the United States through Louisiana by French immigrants.
According to Wikipedia; “Andouillette is a coarse-grained sausage made with pork (or occasionally, veal), intestines or chitterlings, pepper, wine, onions, and seasonings. Andouillette sausage is very different from the American andouille sausage, which is largely a mild to spicy garlic-flavored sausage. It is closer to French andouille, but is never smoked. Tripe, which is the stomach lining of a cow, is sometimes an ingredient in the filler of an andouillette, but it is not the casing or the key to its manufacture. True andouillette will be an oblong tube. If made with the small intestine it is a plump sausage generally about than 25 mm in diameter but often it is much larger, possibly 7-10 cm in diameter, and stronger in scent when the colon is used.
Andouille sausages are commonly found in many countries. By contrast, true andouillette is rarely seen outside France. All have a strong, distinctive odor related to their intestinal origins and components. Although sometimes repellant to the uninitiated, this aspect of andouillette is prized by its devotees.”
For practical purposes, these are chitlins or the more proper term chitterlings. I have had them once before at someone's home with collard greens, which cut the smell and taste and I have had tripe in Columbia at a friends home but I have never eaten either in a restaurant due to the possibility they might not be really clean. I really was not much of a fan of chitlins the time I had them before, but I really liked the tripe that had been soaked for 3 weeks. It had no odor and was really delicious.
Animal innards have long been treasured foods around the world. Scotland's national dish is haggis (sheep's stomach stuffed with the animal's minced heart, liver, and lungs). Throughout Europe, tripe (cow or ox stomach) is popular, and French chefs in upscale restaurants serve dishes based on cow's brains and kidneys. I have had Tete de Veau (calf's head, including brain, eyes, tongue, etc) which my friend Jean Luc refuses to eat and I agree, it is not good. No interest in ever trying haggis.
So there you have it, be careful when ordering andouillette when in France unless you really want it and get Tabasco and a lot of beer to wash it down.
While I am at it, the next day we went out for lunch and I had a lamb skewer with a nice little mashed potatoe pie, while Lisa had a Caesar salad, pictured above. It was a really nice salad but it had orange slices and tomatoes with it. We found the food in Normandy is all just a little different reflecting the regional ingredients of Normandy.
Before we went to the Tour de France, we stopped for a bite and both had a Quiche Lorraine. It too was was a little different from the Paris version, a little thinner and cooked until crisp on the top. The crust was very flakey, like a pie crust, it was delicious, just a little different.