Monday, 21 December 2009

The Actual Christmas Feast

I promise not to re-hash the previous post too much but, at the risk of repeating myself, how good was our Christmas lunch....? I simply have to pass on the recipe for our chestnut veloute starter, so incredibly festive and rich and luxurious and simple was it.

Adapted from Pascal Aussignac's recipe, for 2 people I simmered 200ml full fat milk (it doesn't sound a lot, but you don't want a lot of this and I served it in white coffee cups) with half a pack of vac-packed chestnuts - about 100g - for 5 minutes or so. I blitzed it up with a hand blender till smooth, then whisked in about 50-75 ml chicken stock and a tsp of Marigold vegetable bouillon powder and brought back to a simmer. This is simple to multiply up as you just want 1 part stock to 4 parts milk. Check the seasoning.

In a dry hot pan, I seared 2 small slices of foie gras till just softened then scooped them into the bottom of the warmed cups (just swill them out with hot water to take the chill off). I blitzed the chestnut soup once more with the blender to make it frothy then poured over the top of the foie gras. I did, I confess, go the whole hog and top with the merest smidge of black truffle sauce, but hey-ho what credit crunch? The foie gras melted into the warmth of the soup and provided the silkiest of textures.

Rich, warming, incredibly luxurious even without the bling ingredients. Next time I might top with a couple of large prawns for a take on surf and turf but equally, I think you could try seared scallops. Think texture as well as taste. With it we had a tiny smidge of a muscat, just to offset the sweetness.
Oh - and the panettone pudding... toppest of top tips: I followed a suggestion of Nigella's to make the custard with half milk, half warmed dessert wine before pouring over the panettone and baking. Well dear reader, it was a triumph. Nowhere near as heavy as the traditional B&B pudding, boozy and light like a sabayon and reheats like a dream. Next stop with brioche.

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