Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Dinner

Since, I already prepared one large meal for Christmas Eve (see post below), I decided to do a more casual meal for Christmas Day. I served Garlic and Citrus Roast Chicken, Oven Roasted Potatoes, Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta, and Asparagus with Parmesan Butter and a Raspberry Almond Tart. The recipes for the Chicken, Potatoes and Asparagus can be found in my blog archives. I have made the Ciabatta Stuffing a few times and I really like it. The addition of the chestnuts differentiates it from an ordinary stuffing and it goes nicely with roast chicken or as stuffing for a meatloaf. I omit the pancetta. The raspberry almond tart recipe is definitely a keeper. This recipe was so simple and easy to throw together but quite a show stopper. Its also delicious the next day for breakfast with a cup of hot chocolate!

Ciabatta Stuffing with Chestnuts and Pancetta
Recipe Courtesy of Giada de Laurentis
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
8 ounces pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
3 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 (7.4-ounce) jars roasted peeled whole chestnuts, coarsely broken
1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
1 pound day-old ciabatta bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup (or more) canned low-salt chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs, beaten to blend
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter a 15 by 10 by 2-inch glass baking dish. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and saute until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to a large bowl. Melt the remaining butter in the same skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, rosemary, and garlic. Saute until the onions are very tender, about 12 minutes. Gently stir in the chestnuts and parsley. Transfer the onion mixture to the large bowl with the pancetta. Add the bread and Parmesan and toss to coat. Add enough broth to the stuffing mixture to moisten. Season the stuffing, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mix in the eggs.

Transfer the stuffing to the prepared dish. Cover with buttered foil, buttered side down, and bake until the stuffing is heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the top is crisp and golden, about 15 minutes longer.

Raspberry Almond Tart

Recipe Courtesy of Giada de Laurentis

1 sheet frozen puff pastry (from a 17 1/4-ounce package), thawed
1 egg, beaten to blend
3/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons amaretto liqueur
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted and coarsely crumbled
2 (6-ounce) baskets fresh raspberries
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut a 3/4-inch wide strip off each side of the pastry and reserve. Roll out the pastry sheet on a lightly floured work surface to a 10-inch square. Brush the edges of the square with the egg. Working with 1 strip at a time, stand the strips along the edges of the pastry square and crimp where they meet. You want to create a shallow box, where the pastry square is the base and the 4 strips are the walls. Overlap the strips at the corners, stretching them if necessary to complete the walls of the box. Brush the border with the egg. Pierce the center of the pastry all over with fork. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream until soft peaks. With the mixer still running, gradually add the sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks. Add the liqueur and beat until just well blended; be careful not to overmix or the whipped cream will turn into a buttery consistency and start to separate. Using a large spatula, fold in the nuts. Spoon the cream mixture into the prepared pastry crust. Arrange the berries over the cream. Sift the cocoa powder over and serve.

NOTE: You can use any fruit that's in season (orange segments, berries, plums, bananas, grapes). Blueberries make a good substitute for the raspberries, and sliced peaches or nectarines are delicious as well.

No comments: