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PRAISE THE LARD!

Our first Thanksgiving orders are in and whilst doing some research on traditional food for the holidays, we felt impelled to share some of the more outrageous recipes we found.

Although each comes with a side order of cardiac arrest, we gotta get together next Thursday 23rd to say a big fat thanks to the Yanks for this holiday of pure indulgence, gluttony and lard.

Julia Child’s STUFFED Turkey

If you are an American looking for a lesson in fine dining where else to turn but Julia Child. The matriarch of American cooking who once quite rightly declared,The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”

Firstly you should not attempt this recipe unless you have previous experience rearing Turkey’s or have studied the anatomy of game. Secondly, it will take at least ten re-reads of the first sentence to gain any sense. And lastly, if you are wondering what Farce Pitchounaise is, it is essentially the crème de la death of stuffing made with 1.5K of white sausage meat, turkey heart, turkey liver AND boiled ham. A literal farce.

10-12 servings

1 10- to 13-pound turkey
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup (about) Cognac
Farce Pitchounaise
Softened butter
½ pound barding lard (fresh pork fatback), cut 1/4-inch thick or thick-sliced bacon, blanched

For easier carving at the table, cut out the wishbone from inside the neck end of the turkey, and make incisions where ball joints attach to small of back, cutting through to separate joints.

Slit skin over the breastbone from tip to shoulder. Slipping your fingers between skin and flesh, peel skin from each side of breast, leaving skin attached to lower sides of turkey (skin will be used to cover breast after stuffing). Cut breast meat away from carcass on each side, scraping your knife close to the bones.

Using heavy kitchen or poultry shears, cut out entire breastbone and half of rib cage. (Reserve bones for stock and turkey gravy.) Set turkey on V-shaped roasting rack, if available, to hold bird securely.

Pull white tendon out from underside of each breast (add to stockpot). Slice meat into pieces about 3/8-inch thick and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Cognac. Season turkey cavity likewise.

Fill boat-shaped cavity with stuffing, mounding it into shallow dome shape. Rearrange the slices of each breast over stuffing. Starting at tail end, sew the two flaps of skin back over the breast. If skin will not reach easily, remove some of the stuffing. It is better to have too little than so much that the skin might split during roasting. Extra stuffing can be cooked separately in a covered casserole in a bain-marie (water bath) for 1 hour; baste several times with some of the turkey pan juices. (Since there is no bread in the stuffing, turkey can be made ready one day before roasting. Wrap and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Skewer neck skin to back, and truss bird. Massage skin all over with soft butter. Place lard or bacon strips over breast area. Set turkey breast side up on rack in roasting pan. Roast 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue roasting, basting every 20 minutes with pan juices, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, according to size of the bird.

To serve: Remove trussing thread before presenting turkey. To carve, remove leg-thigh section and wing from body on one side and cut into portions. Cut through center of breast and peel skin back to reveal meat and stuffing.

TWICE BAKED SWEET POTATOES WITH MARSHMALLOWS

The essence of this recipe is to take out all of the goodness of the sweet potato by hollowing out the inside, replacing it with lard and then generously smothering it with a layer of marshmallows. I mean…

Makes 12

INGREDIENTS

8 medium sweet potatoes

⅓ cup unsalted butter, cut in ½-inch cubes

½ cup milk

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup mini marshmallows

Special Equipment

Pastry bag and large star tip (optional)

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, and set one aside for later. Pierce each sweet potato 4-5 times with a fork or knife, then place them on one of the large, lined baking sheets, and bake until tender and very soft all the way through (a knife should glide very easily through the center of the sweet potato), about 50 minutes.
  3. Let sweet potatoes cool until you can handle them, about 10 minutes. Slice six of the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then carefully scoop out the flesh into a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, BE VERY CAREFUL to leave about a ½-inch layer of flesh on the skin (this is super important because it will help your sweet potatoes keep their shape).
  4. Peel the remaining two sweet potatoes, discard the skins, cut each one into 3-4 pieces, and add the cooked sweet potato flesh to the food processor.
  5. Replace the parchment paper on the baking sheet you used to bake the sweet potatoes, then lay the empty potato skins out, scooped-side up, on the two baking sheets, six to each sheet.
  6. Add butter, milk, cinnamon and nutmeg to the sweet potatoes in food processor, and puree until smooth, stopping to scrape the sides if you have to. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, add the beaten egg, and pulse a few times just until the egg is fully incorporated.
  7. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. If there are any large chunks left in your sweet potato mixture, take them out and throw them away, otherwise they’ll block the tip of your piping bag. Pipe the mixture back into the sweet potato skins on the baking sheets in a swirl pattern going from one side to the other all the way down the sweet potato, making sure all of the potatoes are evenly filled. Top each sweet potato with 7-8 marshmallows, pressing them in just slightly.
  8. Bake in the 400°F oven for 8-12 minutes, switching the baking sheets halfway, until the marshmallows are slightly browned.

GRAPE SALAD

The grapes of wrath. These grapes are lying comatose under a cocktail of sour cream, cream cheese, sugar, vanilla extract, brown sugar and pecans.

SERVES 15

INGREDIENTS

  • 2lbs green seedless grapes
  • 2lbs red seedless grapes
  • 8ounces sour cream
  • 8ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 12cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, to taste
  • TOPPING INGREDIENTS
  • 1cup brown sugar, packed, to taste
  • 1cup crushed pecans, to taste

DIRECTIONS

  1. Wash and stem grapes.
  2. Set aside.
  3. Mix sour cream, cream cheese, white sugar and vanilla by hand until blended.
  4. Stir grapes into mixture, and pour in large serving bowl.
  5. For topping: Combine brown sugar, and crushed pecans.
  6. Sprinkle over top of grapes to cover completely.
  7. Chill overnight.

CARAMEL APPLE BRIE

And so to pudding, quick to prepare and quick to ensure a slow and painful death by calorie overdose.

INGREDIENTS

  • 12 oz. Wheel of Brie
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 2 medium apples, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. caramel sauce, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place brie on a small baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, make apple mixture: In a medium skillet over medium heat, heat butter. When melted, add apples, sugar, caramel, and cinnamon. Cook until apples have softened, about 5 minutes. Top brie with apples and bake 5 minutes more. Drizzle with more caramel and serve.
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