En français ici.
There's always a point in the Christmas preparations when I lose proportion, when I forget what the heck I'm doing all this for, where I curse the commercialization, where I consider disowning some parts of my family - particularly the ones that are hard to shop for - and holing myself up under my comforter until at least Jan. 4. But finally, by Christmas day, it all comes together.
The tree is trimmed.
The table is set.
Camille is cooking foie gras in the kitchen. (Or is that just me?) And a host of wonderful dishes are on their way to your happy stomach, followed down by some delicious wines, and all in good company.
Our super foodie Christmas began with foie gras, because you cannot have a French Christmas without it. Camille decided to take the radical step of cooking it herself, seared in a pan with light seasoning and proceeded to make an amazing sauce with the drippings, a shallot, fig jam and some balsamic vinagar. All that was accompanied by brioche toasts and a distinctly delicious montbazillac wine.
We followed it with chestnut soup, the recipe for which I obtained through barter. I'm taking care of my friend's cat (who is currently sitting on my arms and making it hard to type) for the week, and she gave me her recipe. (See below.) After tasting, I can safely say, I don't regret it!
Then the pièce de résistance, as the French would say: the goose! Roasted simply and deliciously and accompanied by the most amazing potatoes cooked in goose fat, and broccoli sautéd with garlic (so we could feel good about eating something green). It was worthy of a Dickensian description - but I will spare you. After all, I'm not paid by the word... or at all, for that matter.
I could've made an entire meal out of the cheese course, but then I'm a big fan of cheese and our new fromagerie is pretty much my new best friend. Man are those cheeses good! We chose a creamy roquefort, a fresh goat cheese with baie roses (pink pepper), a comté that we were not intending to buy but they were giving tastes and we couldn't resist! And finally a washed-rind cheese called trou du cru that my inner 14-year-old boy could not resist trying. All were delicious.
The final course was Camille's buche de Noël, one she conceived of and which was sold at the pâtisserie where she works, involving bananas, rum, and praliné mousse. (Are your mouths watering yet?) She even saved ours from a fate worse than death: being glazed in gross sparkly glaze. She smothered it in chocolate instead. Ah, a girl after my own heart.
600g (21 oz) shelled roasted chestnuts (I bought my frozen, but you can also roast them yourself, or buy them canned)
5 1/2 cups stock (vegetable or chicken)
3 Tbsp fresh rosemary
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 cup fresh mint
1 tsp dried sage (or a few fresh leaves, but I didn't have any)
Bring the stock to a boil in a medium-sized pot and mince the fresh herbs. When the stock is boiling add the chestnuts and herbs, cover and let simmer on low heat for about 1/2 an hour, until the chestnuts are soft. Add salt to taste and puree the soup until smooth. Serve hot with an herb garnish to make it look pretty!