In my family, the three day period from October 14 to October 16 is always important because my sister’s and dad’s birthdays are the 14th and 16th respectively. Whenever this three day period rolls around, meals get planned, cooked, and devoured. Seeing as my sister now lives in DC (and she is a vegetarian who may be coming back to the light side?), my dad had full say in what I was going to cook for the weekend meal (a meat item, perhaps!!).
Because it was freezing this past weekend, we decided on some belly-warming dishes.
Arugula, pomegranate, balsamic
Potato leek soup, parmesan “shard”
Melted onion tart, pistachio, chevre, honey
Poussin roti, fall roots
Chocolate cake, assorted ice creams
Although this menu may appear daunting, it really wasn’t, as most things could either sit and simmer, or roast away in the oven.
Melted onion tart:
I started the day by making the tart dough (I am using the word “tart”, but I really just made pizza dough). This is discussed in several earlier posts, so I won’t get into it here, but it is very easy.
Topping the tart: I caramelized some onions in olive oil (sautee at low heat, stirring every once in a while for about an hour), and then topped each tart with the cooked down onions, pistachio nuts, and goat cheese and baked in the oven on a pizza stone at 500 F for about 1 minute. Once out of the oven, each tart was topped with a drizzle of honey.
Potato leek soup:
I made a version of this soup with no cream (I added some skim milk towards the end to thin it out), although I can imagine adding some cream would be totally worth it (again, trying to be healthier these days).
We were fortunate enough to have leeks left in the garden (about 8 small ones or so), but I supplemented those with a few from the store. Once chopped and washed, I sauteed the leeks in some olive oil until soft.
Into the pot they go…
As the leeks were sauteeing, I peeled and chopped 6 large russet (baking) potatoes.
Once chopped and cleaned, I put the potatoes in a bowl and set them aside.
To the leeks I added 1 quart of chicken stock, and 1 quart of water, and a bouquet garni (bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns wrapped in cheese cloth tied up with string). I brought this mixture to a boil, and then reduced the heat to a simmer for about 20 minutes.
About to add…
Once the leeks had simmered in the broth for 20 minutes or so, I added the potatoes and 1/2 cup of white wine, and cooked them until the potatoes were fork tender (about 45 mins).
At this point, the soup is ready to blend. My recommendation is to let it cool off a little bit before blending. In about 4 batches, I transferred the soup to a cuisninart and blended the soup. After each blending, I reserved the soup in a bowl. Once I had completed all 4 batches, I passed the blended soup through a food mill back to the original pot, in order to remove any lumps.
Once all the soup was strained, I left it in the pot on the lowest heat to keep warm until serving.
In the meanwhile, to make the parmesan “shards” grate some parmesan onto a silpat (the soft silicon baking sheet…if you don’t have one of these you can cover a baking sheet with wax paper), and bake at 400 for a few minutes, or until golden.
When ready to serve, ladle some soup into a bowl, and top with the parmesan.
For the chickens:
Chop the vegetables that you’re going to use (I used carrot, turnip, brussels sprouts, onion, garlic, and potato), put them in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss to coat.
Take the chicken out of its packaging and remove everything from the cavity. Truss the chicken (http://www.chow.com/food-news/53715/how-to-truss-a-chicken/), then cover with olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange the vegetables on the bottom of a large baking pan, and nest the bird(s) in the veggies.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Once preheated, put the birds in and roast for 1.5-2 hours.
Once the chickens are done, let rest for a few minutes before carving.
Right before serving, make the salad. Clean some arugula, add some pomegranate seeds and a little parmesan, and then top with balsamic and olive oil. Mix well.
I didn’t do much in the way of making dessert, but my mom made a pretty tasty chocolate cake.
The soup was served first:
Followed by the chicken, salad, veggies, and tart:
And finally: the chocolate cake with strawberry ice cream: