Search This Blog

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Country Bistro

THIS YEAR'S THANKSGIVING theme was French Country Bistro, an excuse for making as many casseroles as possible, thus sparing me a lot of a-la-minute work. This was partly inspired by the research I've been doing on cast-iron cookware (article to come), research that won me over to the joy of make-ahead slow-cooking.

Among the entrees: ratatouille, beef Bourguignon (a bit too much of its sauce cooked away), cassoulet with turkey confit, and penne with veggies and anchovies.

 And a closer view of the meat-based casseroles. The cassoulet cooked in a low oven for most of the day, while the Bourguignon shuttled between stovetop and oven depending on what else needed to be baked.

The penne contains florets of broccoli and
cauliflower and a sauce of anchovies, capers, olives, and Jollity Farm San Marzano sauce.

Susan's squash casserole used gourds from the garden, a compote of onions, carrots, and celery, and more of the aforementioned tomato sauce before getting topped with melted cheese.

What do we do with all the cabbage that came from our garden? Joel Robuchon's epopnymous cookbook gave us the idea of combining it with layers of sausage for a simple, tasty casserole. In the background, an arugula salad with a sweet-and-sour onion dressing, a recipe I learned from my very first job as a waiter, at a place in Connecticut called "The Country Bistro."

Then there was the challenge of doing something different with potatoes. Here's another Robuchon recipe, mixing sliced yellow potatoes with slices of turnip and some rounds of leeks, which baked in its own bouquet garni-flavored juices (helped by a quarter-pound of butter) in an earthenware pot sealed with bread dough.

Finally: dessert.Pictured are chocolate mousse (recipe courtesy Tomas Keller), tarte tatin, a bûche de Noël that Susan crafted from a recipe in Jacques Pepin's La Technique, and a pumpkin pie made from a blue Jarrahdale pumpkin, the flavor of which seems even sweeter than the orange variety -- and certainly better than the non-pumpkin stuff sold as pie filling these days.

Here's a link to last year's menu, the theme of which seems even more appropriate today. Our 2014 tribute to Abstract Expressionism is described here, our 2013 Mediterranean menu is here, and the previous 22 are pictured here.

No comments: