Thanksgiving Gravy

I’m not big on gravy, but this was really good. I think the addition of wine made the difference. I also skipped the heart and gizzard because no one else wanted that in the gravy, but I think that would have made it even better.

Thanksgiving Gravy

INGREDIENTS:

  • Flour
  • Rendered turkey fat from the roasting pan or butter
  • 2 large shallots minced
  • kosher salt as needed
  • heart and gizzards, chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup tasty white wine
  • 1-1/2 to 2 quarts/liters turkey stock (I use a cup/250 milliliters per person, and then a little extra)

METHOD:

  1. In a small saute pan over medium heat, combine a tablespoon each of flour and fat for every cup of stock you have and cook over medium heat till the flour is lightly browned, about ten minutes. Set this roux aside to cool.

  2. In a 2.5 quart/liter sauce pan or larger, sweat the shallots in turkey fat or butter. Hit them with a four finger pinch of salt. Add the gizzards and cook. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the cooled roux. A little at a time until you have the desired consistency. Simmer on medium, skimming gunk off the surface as needed for a half hour or so till the flour cooks out. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if necessary (a tablespoon or two of fish sauce will deepen the turkey flavor). Remove from the heat an cover until ready to reheat and serve.

Filets De Poisson Bercy Aux Champignons

For our monthly Advanced Wine Class, I made this fish dish from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I thought it would go well with the wine theme, which was Wines of Champagne. Just a warning. This dish is rich. On the other hand, if you are someone who doesn’t really like fish, this dish is good choice. The earthy flavors of the mushroom and the creaminess of the sauce make the fish almost secondary.

Filets De Poisson Bercy Aux Champignons

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 lb. or 3-1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 2-1/2 lbs. filets of sole or flounder
  • 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups cold, white wine fish stock made from heads, bones, and trimmings
  • OR 1/4 cup dry white wine or 2/3 cup dry white vermouth plus 1/4 cup bottled clam juice, and water
  • OR 1-1/2 cups wine and water mixed
  • Buttered brown paper or waxed paper (do not use aluminum foil-it will discolor the wine)
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons flour blended to a paste with 3 Tb softened butter
  • 3/4 to 1 cup whipping cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter cut into bits

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

  2. In an enameled skillet, toss the mushrooms in hot butter over moderately high heat for a minute or two without browning. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

  3. Season the filets lightly with salt and pepper and arrange them in one slightly overlapping layer in the dish. If filets are thin, they may be folded in half so they make triangles. Spread the mushrooms over them.

  4. Pour in the cold liquid and enough water so fish is barely covered. Bring almost to the simmer on top of the stove. Lay the buttered paper over the fish. Then place dish in bottom third of preheated oven. Maintain liquid almost at the simmer for 8 to 12 minutes depending on the thickness of the filets. The fish is done when a fork pierces the flesh easily. Do not overcook; the fish should not be dry and flaky. Place a cover over the dish and drain out all the cooking liquid into an enameled saucepan.

  5. Preheat broiler.

  6. Rapidly boil down the poaching liquid until it has reduced to 1 cup.

  7. Off heat, beat the flour and butter paste into the hot liquid, then 1/2 cup of the cream. Bring to the boil. Thin out the sauce with additional tablespoons of cream until it coats the spoon nicely. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and drops of lemon juice.

  8. Spoon the sauce over the fish. Sprinkle on the cheese, and dot with butter. Place dish 6 to 7 inches from a hot broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to reheat fish and brown top of sauce lightly. Serve as soon as possible.

  9. (*) Dish may be prepared ahead and reheated as follows: After sprinkling on the cheese and butter, set aside. Before serving, reheat just to the simmer on top of the stove, then run for a minute or two under a hot broiler to brown the top of the sauce.

Demi-Glace

If you took the plunge and made veal stock, here’s a quick and dirty way to use some of that to make a demi-glace.

The recipe is pretty simple: 1 part red wine, 3 parts veal stock, and a few chopped shallots.

  1. Put the wine and shallots in a pot over high heat and reduce by half.
  2. Had the veal stock and bring to a simmer (Never boil sock).
  3. Reduce like crazy until the stock is rich and dark and coats the back of a spoon. Be patient. It’ll take a few hours.
  4. Strain the stock thru a cheesecloth lined colander as many times as you can stand. The more the better.
  5. Stick the pot in an ice bath to cool it down.
  6. Put the cool sauce in ice cubes trays and freeze. They should last for 3 or 4 months.

Now you time you need to add a little punch to a sauce or dish, just throw 1 or 2 of these in.

Coq au-vin

Coq au-vin

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bottle plus 1 cup of red wine
  • 1 onion, cut into a 1-inch dice
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 celery rib, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 tbs. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bouquet garni, (2 sprigs thyme, 1 sprig parsley, 1 bay leaf wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with a string )
  • 1 whole chicken, about 3.5 lb, ‚trimmed meaning guts, wing tips and neckbone removed
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tbs. olive oil
  • 6 tbs. butter, softened
  • 1 tbs. flour
  • 1/4 lb slab or country bacon, cut into small oblongs (lardons) about 1/4 by 1 inch by 2.5 cm
  • 1/2 lbs. small white button mushrooms, stems removed
  • 12 pearl onions, peeled
  • pinch of sugar

METHOD:

DAY ONE:

The day before you even begin to cook, combine the bottle of red wine, the diced onion (that’s the big onion, not the pearl onions), sliced carrots, celery, cloves, peppercorns, and bouquet garni in a large deep bowl. Add the chicken and submerge it in the liquid so that all of it is covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

DAY TWO:

Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat it dry. Put it aside. Strain the marinade through the fine strainer, reserving the liquids and solids separately. Season the chicken with salt and pepper inside and out. In the large Dutch oven, heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter until almost smoking, and then sear the chicken, turning it with the tongs to evenly brown it. Once browned, remove it from the pot and set it aside again. Add the reserved onions, celery, and carrot to the pot and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are soft and golden brown. That should take about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and mix well with the wooden spoon so that the vegetables are coated. Now stir in the reserved strained marinade. Put the chicken back in the pot, along with the bouquet garni. Cook this for about 1 hour and 15 minutes over low heat.

Have a drink. You’re almost there‚

While your chicken stews slowly in the pot, cook the bacon lardons in the small saute pan over medium heat until golden brown. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain it on paper towels, making sure to keep about 1 tablespoon of fat in the pan. Saute the mushroom tops in the bacon fat until golden brown. Set them aside.

Now, in the small saucepan, combine the pearl onions, the pinch of sugar, a pinch of salt, and 2 tablespoons of butter. Add just enough water to just cover the onions; then cover the pan with the parchment paper trimmed to the same size of the pan. (I suppose you can use foil if you must.) Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the water has evaporated. Keep a close eye on it. Remove the paper cover and continue to cook until the onions are golden brown. Set the onions aside and add the remaining cup of red wine along with salt and pepper and reduce over medium-high heat until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon.

Your work is pretty much done here. One more thing and then it’s wine and kudos.

When the chicken is cooked through‚ meaning tender, the juice from the thigh running clear when pricked, carefully remove from the liquid, cut into quarters, and arrange on the deep serving platter. Strain the cooking liquid (again) into the reduced red wine. Now just add the bacon, mushrooms, and pearl onions, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, and swirl in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Now pour that sauce over the chicken and dazzle your friends with your brilliance. Serve with buttered noodles and a Bourgone Rouge.