A Fall Feast for my Friends

November 30, 2009 at 12:00 am | Posted in Appetizer, Cookbooks, Dessert, Dinner | 7 Comments

Since the holiday season is now upon us, it’s time for more eating folks!! This meal happened approximately two weeks ago after a nice long day spent in the kitchen, much like the day I spent on Friday with my papa for our own Thanksgiving meal! It had been wayyy too long since I saw my dear friend Stephanie so her and I figured out a night to meet up and luckily for us (actually them) our boys were also free that night so I insisted I would make a dinner party!


So off I went into cookbook land and landed upon two Barefoot recipes and for the appetizer options I wanted to stay somewhat French so I came upon two recipes from David Lebowitz! This picture is of my coq au vin. It was pretty good that night but it got 100x more heavenly over the next couple of days. God I love one pot meals that make tonnnns of leftovers!

My cousin Bob was just in Las Vegas recently and bragged to me about being able to go to Bouchon. I tried to be sarcastic and ask “What?? Can’t you do better? What about Joel Robuchon’s place?” My sarcasm is not easily read over text messages obviously and so I expressed that I was totally jealous and he wrote back saying ‘MMMM salmon rilletes…” I wondered what the heck is salmon rillettes? Well you see this picture right here is that exact thing! I found a recipe from David and he said people raved about it at a recent party and I figured he wouldn’t lie so I went for it. When I let Ned try some wayyy before dinner and he couldn’t keep his paws off of it. I now know which recipe I can use to butter him up! Birthdays, christmas, whatever!

DSC_0137The chilled smoked and fresh salmon combined with a good portion of butter and chives really create a great dip. I served it on thin slices of toasted baguette and thought it was perfect.

Next I wanted to make another tasty little appetizer, and I had exactly two eggs left in the carton so David’s recipe worked great for my purposes! (and yes I am sorry Jen that I took your last two eggs which prevented you from having breakfast the next morning.. hopefully a whole new carton made up for it on Sunday!)

DSC_0127So those little toasty babies are the gougeres. Almost exactly the same recipe as profiteroles (which I made with daddy a longggg time ago). Basically just some egg, butter, flour, cheese and heat made these! Go check out the recipe on David’s site. From just looking at them they appear to be full little rolls, but no no no, they are effervescent little nuggets of cheese air! A perfect bite of deliciousness and it doesn’t lead to spoiling your appetite for dinner at all!

The coq au vin as you saw above was made from one of my standby cookbook’s when it comes to dinner parties, Back to Basics. I have done similar braised meat recipes such as beef bourguignon and braised short ribs before and they are awesome when it comes to feeding a large group, but I have been smitten with chicken quite a bit this fall and so coq au vin was calling my name!

The recipe was gussied up a bit because of the use of bacon and Cognac (which I lit on fire and was very exciting!) This dinner went perfectly with some crusty bread. The really tender chicken was so nice with the carrots and onions and mushrooms. Perfect cold day kind of meal. And Ned and I got to eat this for two more days of leftovers and wooo weee it was even better then! See below for the recipe or just go here and print it out for yourself, you will not be dissapointed!

The pumpkin roulade was last! This is also a back to basics recipe and I was very happy that this dessert was one that would satisfy the savory tastes lover and the sweet tooth addict all in one! The flavors of the pumpkin and also the crystallized ginger in the filling were so nice and so appropriate for this season. Because I refridgerated it, it had a heavy moistness to it…maybe I should have let it sit out for an hour or two after chilling?


4 ounces good bacon or pancetta, diced
1 (3 to 4-pound) chicken, cut in 8ths ( Ned and I used this video to learn how to disassemble the chicken!)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound carrots, cut diagonally in 1-inch pieces
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
1/4 cup Cognac or good brandy
1/2 bottle (375 ml) good dry red wine such as Burgundy (wooooops- now two weeks later I realized I put the whole bottle in! That’s why there was so much sauce!)
1 cup good chicken stock, preferably homemade
10 fresh thyme sprigs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 pound frozen small whole onions
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, stems removed and thickly sliced

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove the bacon to a plate with a slotted spoon.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Liberally sprinkle the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. When the bacon is removed, brown the chicken pieces in batches in a single layer for about 5 minutes, turning to brown evenly. Remove the chicken to the plate with the bacon and continue to brown until all the chicken is done. Set aside.

Add the carrots, onions, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper to the pan and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac and put the bacon, chicken, and any juices that collected on the plate into the pot. Add the wine, chicken stock, and thyme and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is just not pink. Remove from the oven and place on top of the stove.

Mash 1 tablespoon of butter and the flour together and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. In a medium saute pan, add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and cook the mushrooms over medium-low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, until browned. Add to the stew. Bring the stew to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes. Season to taste. Serve hot.



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  1. Elizabeth, my cheese puffy never turn out that pretty. I’m going to have to try DL’s recipe. Maybe for Christmas.

    • Yep they were not bad! and the reheatable option is great for parties.

  2. Now I’m super hungry for all of these things, even though it’s only 9.30!

    Is there a big difference between the roulade and your standard pumpkin roll? After finishing this cake this weekend I bought myself the Martha Stewart holiday desserts magazine, and there are a ton of holiday rolls in there which have me inspired.

  3. Food…glorious food!

  4. I totally saw Ina make that on the Food Network last Monday! I was at the gym on the elliptical (yes, I watch food network and top chef at the gym, sadistic huh?). Looks delicious, glad to read about the coq au vin, I definitely wanna braise stuff now. xoxo

  5. ya know, this would be even better with a shot of espresso from a die cast Breville Espresso Machine! We are having a contest!!
    Please share with your friends!!

  6. […] the first time I made these, Ned went BONKERS for it! Then he made it for his Christmas feast at home and they were sure to […]

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