More on Christmas: Cooking - The Lyorn's Den
Thu Dec. 30th, 2010
02:28 am - More on Christmas: Cooking
I'm not entirely sure about the goose, because Ceridwen did most of that, but I'll try.
We started with a lamb's lettuce salad with mandarin oranges, walnuts, spring onions, chicken breast, and a vinaigrette. Lambs lettuce is very tasty and extremely pretty, but impossible to clean. We had about two good handfuls of it, threw it into a bowl of water, and Ceridwen scrubbed every single piece of it and cut off the roots, but there was still some earthy crunchiness left when we ate at. Can't be helped.
In the meantime, I took a frozen chicken breast and fried it carefully in olive oil (started hot, went to medium high quickly). Because of the chicken breast being frozen, it took about 15 minutes to be done (I just cut it lengthwise to check). I then took it out, put small amounts of soy sauce, balsamic vinegar and orange juice in the pan and scrubbed the brown stuff off the bottom of the pan, added some more soy sauce, but the chicken back in for 30 more seconds on every side. Put it on some tinfoil and stirred the sauce until it caramelized and got nicely thick. Then I poured it on the meat, wrapped the whole thing, and let it cool.
I started the vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar, concentrated grape most, a little bit of medium-hot mustard, salt, black pepper and a little cayenne pepper and left the rest of it until everything else was done. The rest was, slice half of the chicken breast into nice bite-sized bits, open a can of mandarin oranges (which promptly attacked me, so I had to do the rest of the kitchen work with a band-aid on my thumb), take the vinaigrette and add walnut oil and some of the syrup from the mandarin orange can, put the lamb's lettuce on plates, put a nice amount of mandarin orange pices and walnut halves on it, decorate with the chicken breast slices and, on second thought, put the sauce into a small can to serve seperately.
Ceridwen has bought a 4 kg goose. Last time we attempted this, we got a 5+ kg bird and soaked it in red wine overnight. This time, we went for something easier and just took it as it was. I sliced the innards and started cooking a stock, while Ceridwen stuffed the goose with apples, chopped walnuts, sliced figs and dates and an onion or two, plus some dried white bread and apple juice to keep it together. We put a little vegetable oil on the bottom of the roasting tin, out the bird in, breast-up (it fit exactly), and put it in the oven at 200°C for half an hour or so. After that, Ceridwen added some more onions to the pot, generously poured red wine and apple juice on it, and closed the pot for, I think, two hours, except for pouring some more juice on once or twice. I occasionally stirred the stock, which didn't really need it, and ran over to Ceridwen's place because she had forgotten the dough for the dumplings (Kartoffelklöße).
Then the "hot phase" started. The lid of the roasting tin came off to brown the bird. I had to wrangle the whole thing out of the oven because I needed additional space to heat bread. Ceridwen made a very large number of dumplings (they are ready when they come to the surface of the not-quite-boiling water), and I poured some frozen red cabbage into another pot, and whipped the cream for dessert.
We debated straining the stock, but decided to just spoon enough of it for a sauce into another pot. I poured most of the juice and fat that had collected around the goose into a bowl (I can think of a bunch of ways to make that simpler). Because of the haste, most of the fat got into the sauce, and we had to wait for it to settle so that we could take off the fat with a large spoon and reduce the greasiness to appropriate levels. Ceridwen thickened the sauce with starch, and then N____ arrived and helped set the table.
Because I do not have a plate large enough for a bird that size, Ceriwen sliced it in the kitchen and put it on the largest plate I have, and the filling and innards into another bowl. We also "rescued" some more lard to use in next year's stews.
Following the motto "one complicated item is enough" dessert was a mousse-au-chcolate-like thing from a box, just add milk. I had prepared it the day before, one layer of chocolate, one of straciatella, and now only added whipped cream with vanilla sugar, and some cacao and raspberries for decoration. Turned out that the straciatella stuff is nothing but sweet and really does not need whipped cream. It's also already white. Next time I'll try something different.
We had a Schiava (Vernatsch) from South Tyrol with it, which fit fine, and talked until two in the morning about everything and anything. Outside, the snow fell the whole night. After Ceridwen left, N___ helped with the first round of the dishes.
All in all, the process could be improved here and there, but the result was very satisfying.
On the 26th, Ceridwen and I divided the leftovers, I did the rest of the dishes, and it was still snowing.
Edited because usually I can type.