Tuesday, December 30, 2008

'Twas The Night Before Christmas...

Well, actually, this dinner was from the night OF Christmas. There were six of us and we started with this very easily made chowder:

Corn and Clam Chowder (serves 6)

2 tsps. unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 cans chopped clams
clam juice, stock and/or milk or cream
1 medium Idaho potato, peeled and diced
1 cup corn, fresh, frozen or canned
optional: 6 sea scallops or 2 handfuls of bay scallops

Melt butter in medium or large saucepan. Add onion and carrots and cook until completely softened.
Drain juice from canned clams into measuring pitcher. Set clams aside. Add clam juice, stock, milk and/or cream to make 4 cups of liquid. (To the canned clam juice, I usually add one bottle of clam juice, about a cup of vegetable stock and then milk and bit of cream until it measures 4 cups.)

Stir in diced potato. Bring to the boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes. (You may make the soup up to this point a day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Add clams, corn and scallops, if using. Simmer for 4 to 5 minutes, just until scallops are cooked and soup is hot. Serve, making sure each serving has one sea scallop or 5 or 6 bay scallops.

For the main course, I used Chef Brad Steelman's (from The River Café) excellent risotto recipe as a stuffing for chicken breasts. I made the risotto the day before.

The next day I spooned it onto thin cut chicken breasts and rolled and tied them up.

Then I seared them and cooked them in a well preheated 400°F. oven for 20 minutes.

There's only one problem...they're so good that you have to make 2 to 3 rolls per person.
While they were in the oven, I deglazed the pan with white wine. I added stock and cream and bit of Dijon and made a nice little sauce. I served the chicken on top of the rest of the risotto, which I had reheated in the microwave.

I accompanied the chicken roulades (I gave them a fancy name) with broccoli rabe and raisins.

Broccoli Rabe And Raisins (serves 4-6)

2 lbs. broccoli rabe
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbls. extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup raisins
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut off about 1 inch of the long stems of broccoli rabe. Cut into 2 inch lengths. Cook, uncovered in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 8 minutes. (I like to cook it for the longer time, but test it after 5 minutes to see what you think.)

Heat olive oil and garlic together in large sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute. Add broccoli rabe and cook until hot, about 4 minutes. Stir in raisins for last minute. Taste for seasoning and serve at once.

Dessert was a Lemon Tart.

It was Maida Heatter's Rancho Santa Fe Lemon Tart from her book, Great American Desserts. Email me if you want the recipe. I also put out various baked things.

Oh, there was one other thing – I think I’ll save that for next time…


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I love your table. The plates are beautiful.

That's a great idea to stuff chicken breasts with risotto. Must make a note to try that.

Sue said...

Thank you, Rachel. I love tons of color.

You know you could also stuff a whole chicken with risotto or get big chicken breasts on the bone and stuff it under the skin. That would save the whole tying up thing.

DebCarol said...

Wow ~ your table is set for Royalty! (or perhaps ..... now fess up Sue, did you have Ina & Jeffrey for dinner?)

Tom said...

Hi Sue,

I really love Maida Heatter's desserts, and I always get a little thrill when I see others making them too. I will make her lemon cake and coffee buttercrunch pie until the day I die. I've spoken with a few present-day dessert cookbook writers, and they all turn to Ms. Heatter when they want a good recipe for something (even when they're going to then embellish it themselves).

Have a happy new year!

Emily said...

I'm so jealous of your fantastic dinner. The tart is GORGEOUS! Look at how vivid the yellow is. I might have to get that recipe from you sometime. I've been craving something lemon.