Christmas Dinner Party

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Who does not dream of being invited to a heartwarming dinner-party on a cold winter evening?I tried to realize this dream by cooking a french inspired three course meal, accompanied by Lillet as an aperitif and a good Medoc wine.The guests were all musicians who came to my house after having played the opera “Frau ohne Schatten“ by R.Strauss.The most basic ingredients ( butter, potatoes, chicken, eggs ) I tried to turn it into a festive Christmas dinner. My most beloved foodblog http://www.mimithorisson.com gave me the ideas for the recipes.

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Gougeres
  • 250 ml water
  • 100g salted butter
  • 150 g plain flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 180 g grated Comté cheese
  • a dash of ground nutmeg
  • 1 egg yolk for glazing
  • a dash of salt and pepper

In a saucepan, bring the water and butter to a boil.Add the flour, stirring very fast, and then turn off the heat. Add the eggs, one by one and stir. Finally add the cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Put the dough in a pastry bag and pipe walnut sized balls. Glaze with egg yolk and bake at 180° approx. 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

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Butternut Squash Soup with candied chestnuts

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 shallots
  • 2 butternut squashes
  • 1 1/2 l vegetable stock
  • a dash of ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp creme fraiche
  • 2 candied chestnuts
Heat the olive oil in a big saucepan and cook the chopped shallots until tender. Add the butternut squash ( peeled and cut into cubes ) and cook for some further minutes. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a boil and cook until the squash ist tender. Puree the soup with a stick blender and season with salt , pepper and nutmeg. Serve with a spoonful of creme fraiche and little pieces of the candied chestnut.( serves 8 )

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Roast chicken with creme fraiche and herbs
  • 300 ml creme fraiche
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • a large bunch of fresh parsley , chopped
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
In a small bowl, mix the creme fraiche, garlic, shallot, parsley and thyme.Season with salt and pepper. Spoon half of the mixture inside the cavity of the chicken. Rub the remaining cream in a thick layer all over the chicken.Sprinkle the coarse salt over the chicken and put it in a roasting pan.
Roast the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about one hour.Let the chicken rest 15 minutes before serving.( Serves four )

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Meringues aux fruits rouges
    Meringues
  • 6 large egg withes, at room temperatur
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 320 g granulated sugar
Preheat the oven to 135°C.Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites in a very clean bowl until they hold medium peaks. Add the salt and whip, adding the cornstarch and then the sugar 2 tablespoons at a time, until all of the sugar has been added, 10 to 15 minutes total. Form 8 meringues with swirls and bake for one hour. Switch off the oven and leave the meringues in it with the door slightly open.
    Pomegranate syrup
  • 300 ml pomegranate juice
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • grated rind of 1/2 orange
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 50 g sugar
  • 1 star anise
Cook the ingredients about 10 minutes, until you have a thick syrup.
     Cassis Sorbet
  • 100 g sugar
  • 200 ml water
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tbsp glucose
  • 400 g cassis puree
Cook the sugar, water, lemon juice and glucose for some minutes. Mix together with the cassis puree.Leave some hours to cool, then freeze in an ice  machine.

To serve, put one meringue on each plate together with a scoop of cassis sorbet, sprinkle with some pomegranate syrup and garnish with berries of your choice.

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