Cooking On A Budget: Peasant Dinner Theme Recipes

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Peasant Dinner Theme Recipes

Peasant Dinner Theme Recipes
Stuffed and Roasted Cornish Hens
Long Grain and Wild Rice
Roasted Root Vegetables
Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Pear Gallette
Warm Apple Cider Cocktails

Figure one Cornish hen per person.  For a gathering of 6 people-8 people figure a 6-7 pound roasting chicken.

In cold water wash and thoroughly dry the Cornish Hens (or whole chicken).  Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the poultry. Keep refrigerated until you are ready to stuff and roast them.

Preparing the stuffing.
In a bowl add all of the following ingredients:
1 small bag of non-seasoned stuffing mix
1/2 of a roll of regular pork sausage - Jimmy Dean or Jones
1/2 cup each celery and onions - finely diced
1 - 1 1/2 cups warm chicken broth
1 egg
4 oz. melted butter plus extra for drizzling over the poultry
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. dried sage
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic
Salt to taste

With your hands combine all ingredients and stuff each hen or the chicken with the stuffing mix.  Place the hens in a roasting pan and drizzle some melted butter over each one. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven. Be sure and baste throughout the roasting process.  Stick an instant read thermometer into the leg all the way to the bone to determine if your "bird" is at the proper temperature of 165 degrees.

For the rice - I would purchase Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice and follow the package directions.

For the roasted vegetables:
2 cups each Carrots, Butternut Squash and Acorn Squash - cut into bite sized pieces.
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 pinch of all spice (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 stick melted butter or margarine

In a bowl combine all of the above ingredients and mix well.  Transfer to an oven proof casserole dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven. Cover for 20- 30  minutes with aluminum foil and bake uncovered until the vegetables are done to your satisfaction. Insert a knife into a few pieces to test if they are roasted to your satisfaction.

For the cranberry sauce:
1 bag whole cranberries
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 cinnamon sticks - or use 2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Put all of the above ingredients in a sauce pot and mix well. Cook covered over moderate heat until the berries mixture begins to come up to a bubble.  Reduce the heat to low, remove the cover and continue cooking until the berries begin to pop and become soft and the mixture has been able to reduce.  This takes approximately 40 minutes.
Allow the mixture to cool down, remove the cinnamon sticks and place the cooled mixture in the refrigerator (covered) until you are ready to use.  This can be done 2 or 3 days in advance.

For the pear gallette:
A gallette is basically a flat pie that is sealed with pastry dough around the edges and the center exposes the filling.  You can certainly use apple in place of pear. 

The pastry:
3 cups all purpose flour
2 sticks butter
½ cup ice cold water

In a food processor pulse the flour and butter until a crumbly mixture forms – butter should be about pea size.  Slowly add in ice cold water and keep pulsing and adding water until the dough is wet enough to form into a ball.  Do not overwork (over pulse) the dough OR add too much water.  Otherwise you will end up with tough dough and the pie crust will not be flaky and tender when baked.

Remove the dough from the food processor and put it on plastic wrap.  Use the plastic wrap to help form the dough into a round disc.  Refrigerate each wrapped disc.  Allow the dough to rest about 30 minutes.  When you are ready, take one of the discs out, wait about 5 minutes then begin rolling your crust on a flour dusted surface.  You should notice that the dough is smooth and silky in texture.  Roll in a circle, from the center outwards. Make sure you keep lightly dusting the surface of the dough and rolling pin.  Rotate the dough and turn it over until you have rolled out the size that you need - basically as you would for a pie.  This recipe is for one pie with a bottom and top crust or two bottom crust pies.  Any leftover dough can be rolled out, buttered and cinnamon sugar sprinkled on.  You can then roll up the crust, cut into ½” discs and bake.

The filling:
3-4 Bartlett pears
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. cinnamon sugar mixture
2 tbsp. cold butter

Peel the skin of the pears.  Cut the stem end off of the pears and the lower portion as well.  slice the pear in half then lengthwise on all four sides approximately 1/8" thick. Place the pear slices in a bowl and mix with the lemon juice and cinnamon sugar mixture.

After you have the dough rolled out lay the dough on a baking sheet.  Place the pear slices on the crust, starting from the center, slightly overlapping, and leaving  approximately 2 inches of pie dough around the edge to overlap. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the pears overlapping as you go along. Dot the pears with bits of the cold butter.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking until the crust is golden brown and the pears are fork tender. This will be approximately 30-40 minutes.

For the apple cider - simmer the cider with a cinnamon stick and if you like clove add just a tiny amount of whole clove - maybe 2 or 3 as they are powerful.  Or, just serve the warm cider without the spices - but remember to rim the glasses in cinnamon sugar mixture.

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