Friday, December 31, 2010

Holiday Dinner

Our version of Christmas is putting up a tree and exchanging gifts, but we did want to make something fancy schmancy for dinner.  I browsed my mom's Gourmet cookbook to see what type of game we could eat that wasn't turkey.  Squab, quail, duck...and of course we had to include foie gras! Yes! My favorite! So we decided to prepare foie gras, risotto, and cornish hen.

For Christmas, my sister gave me a little lump of black truffle, so we wanted to determine a way to incorporate this into our meal.  We decided to make a mushroom risotto dusted with black truffle, and cornish hen marinated in a black truffle sauce.  My sister wanted to make a lavender creme brulee as dessert since my mom recently purchased a lavender plant, so we had a really delectable meal ahead!

Slicing the foie gras

Preparing the balsamic vinegar sauce

Black Truffle!! (Cooper was mysteriously sniffing this when it was wrapped under the tree but I was none the wiser)

The seasoning for the cornish hen

Sauteed Foie Gras, recipe adapted from here

Serves 4

  • 1/2 lb. duck foie gras at room temperature, cleaned and deveined
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • Brioche, cut into small slices (optional)
After deveining, cut the foie gras crosswise into 1/2 inch thick pieces, then season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the oven to about 350 degrees.  Toast the brioche until lightly browned.

Heat 1 tsp. of the canola oil in a heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot, but not smoking.

Saute half of the foie gras until golden, about 45 seconds on each side.  Transfer to a paper towel to drain.  Saute the remaining foie gras in the same way.  Discard all but 1 tbsp. of the fat.  Add 2 tbsp. of the balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil.

Serve the foie gras on the brioche, topped with the sauce.

Cornish Hen with Black Truffles, Thyme and Riesling, recipe adapted from here 

Serves 4

  • 4 quail
  • 4-5 tbsp. duck fat, divided
  • 1/4 oz. fresh black truffle
  • 1 tsp. fleur de sel
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup riesling
To Prepare the Seasoning:

Melt about 2-3 tbsp of the duck fat in the microwave until just melted in a small bowl.  Finely chop some black truffles and thyme and mix them into the duck fat.  Note that you will want to reserve about 1/4 of the mixture you have for the riesling sauce. 

To Prepare the Hen: 
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pat dry the hen.  Using a pastry brush, brush the mixture from above onto the breast part of the hen.

{Cornish hen brushed with seasoning, ready to go in the oven}

Heat 1-2 tbsp. more of the duck fat into a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Cook each hen about 4-5 minutes on each side and transfer to a baking dish once sauteed.  Put in the oven and cook for about 35-45 minutes. 

Drain the oil in the saucepan and then turn the stove back to medium heat.  Pour in the wine and reduce until slightly thickened.  Turn off the heat and stir in salt, pepper, and remaining duck fat sauce.  Make sure you are stirring with a wooden spoon and not a whisk.

Once the hens are done, drizzle with the wine sauce you just created and serve immediately.

Once you have finished eating the hen and foie gras, you can complete the meal by eating some creme brulee

{Lavender Creme Brulee}

Ending Notes: This meal is best served with...champagne.  Foie gras, champagne...etc etc...I thought our simple preparation of foie gras was good, but not as amazing as I have had at restaurants.  Luckily my sister gave me a foie gras cook book for Christmas so I can work on that.  The cornish hen was excellent...succulent and moist (haha).  My sister's risotto was of course amazing, and the light shavings of black truffle on top accompanied the dish well (of course...when wouldn't it).

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