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Matignon is a popular French dish made with sliced vegetables and ham. The version made with only vegetables is called au maigre, which means "with vegetables" in French, and the version made with ham is called au gras, which is French for "with meat." Matignon may be served as a main dish or as a garnish for the main or side dishes, and it may also be used as an ingredients for preparing other dishes.
The main ingredients for matignon are carrots, onions, celery and ham; leeks, peppers, parsnip, mushrooms and bacon can also be used. Herbs like bay leaf and thyme are used for seasoning, along with salt, sugar and white wine. The vegetables are peeled and cut into thin slices, the ham is diced, and the herbs are chopped into small pieces.
To prepare the dish, a little butter is melted in a pan and the sliced vegetables, the ham or bacon and the herbs are fried in the butter on a medium flame until the onions have turned translucent and the ham has turned brown. The heat is then turned low and a little salt and some white wine are added to the pan to season the vegetables and the ham. The mixture is cooked, stirring occasionally, until the white wine has evaporated.
The matignon is now ready and can be used for a variety of purposes. It may be eaten just as it is or it may be used in the preparation of roast chicken, beef, lamb or fish. In this case, the cooked vegetables and ham are placed in a layer at the bottom of a casserole, and the meat, which has been brushed with melted butter, is placed on top of the layer. The casserole is then roasted in the oven, and, as the meat roasts, it absorbs the flavor of the vegetables and ham.
After the meat has been roasted, the matignon is scooped from the casserole and used to garnish the roast. A vegetarian dish made with artichokes is similarly prepared and garnished with the matignon. It can also be served with macaroni.
In French cuisine, matignon has a close connection to another dish called mirepoix. This dish, which is made solely of sliced vegetables, was invented by a chef in the employ of the Duc de Levis-Mirepoix, a Field Marshal in the army of the French King Louis XV. Unlike matignon, mirepoix is not served at the table; it is used only to enhance the flavor of roasts, stocks, sauces, soups and stews.
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