Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Dinner 2010

The Dutch are not big turkey eaters and they don't tend to eat the same thing every Christmas, although duck, hare, and venison seem to be popular.

Me, I'm a traditionalist and like to have poultry at the center of my Christmas dinner. However, turkey is a bit much for a single person, even with guests, so I'm making chicken. Today's menu:

Mushroom Soup
Dry-brined roast chicken
Bread-potato stuffing
Roasted squash, mashed with butter, salt and pepper
Braised brussels sprouts
Apples in Calvados

Mushroom Soup

This is a lightly-bound soup that depends for its flavour on the mushrooms and a good rich-tasting beef stock, or fond. I use a very good commercial fond, but you can of course use a good home-made stock.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
300 grams mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 red onion or large shallot, sliced in very thin semi-circles
60 ml sherry
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
parsley for garnish

  1. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium high heat, until the butter foam subsides.
  2. Add the mushrooms and sauté until they release their moisture.
  3. Add the onion and sauté for another 1 or 2 minutes.
  4. Add the flour, sherry, and thyme and continue to cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add the beef fond, and simmer for  15-20 minutes.
  6. Serve and garnish with parsley.

Apples in Calvados

This recipe comes from a cookbook put out by the largest supermarket chain in Holland, Albert Hein. It is a simple, light dessert that can be made a bit richer by serving it with ice cream. I got it from my aunt, and she is the one who is making it today.

2 apples
100 ml calvados
1 packet vanilla sugar*
3 tablespoons sugar
grated lemon peel
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, ice cold
  1. Peel and core the apples and cut them into 6 slices.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the calvados, vanilla sugar, lemon peel, and lemon juice to a boil.
  3. Add the apple slices, lower the heat, and cook gently for 10 minutes.
  4. Spoon the apple slices into dessert bowls.
  5. Beat the butter into the warm calvados sauce and then pour over the apples.

* If you can't get vanilla sugar, try adding a teaspoon of sugar and a 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.

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