Monday, November 16, 2009

French Dinner Part II

You can’t have a French dinner party without, well, dinner, so it is high time I told you about my French dinner. I love Ina Garten’s Food Network show and I love her cookbooks. She really has a great style. Her Barefoot in Paris cookbook has been an inspiration to me, and I have wanted to try her Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic for over a year. So, once I bought my inspirational napkins, I decided to make Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic with mashed potatoes and green beans.
We started dinner with radicchio fennel and walnut salad. I had made this salad once before when I had my “comfort food” dinner party. I served it with a delicious onion tart. This time I served the radicchio salad by itself. I liked the salad the better first time. I think the onion tart cut the bitterness of the radicchio in the salad. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy this salad, but I like it better with the onion tart.
Radicchio, Fennel, and Walnut Salad
Adapted from Festive Occasions Cookbook by Chuck Williams and Joyce Goldstein
2 small heads radicchio
2 small fennel bulbs
6 Tablespoons toasted walnut oil
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup toasted walnuts

Trim the radicchio and separate the leaves, and wash well if the leaves are sandy, and dry well. Remove the stems from the fennel and cut the bulbs into quarters. Remove the hard center cores and any discolored outer portions. Slice the fennel thinly. Combine the walnut oil, olive oil and vinegar in a small bowl and whisk. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Marinate the toasted walnuts in ¼ of the vinaigrette for 15 minutes. Toss the Radicchio, fennel and walnuts in the remaining vinaigrette. Divide among six plates.

Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic
Adapted from Barefoot In Paris by Ina Garten
3 heads of garlic, about 40 cloves, peeled
12 bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs
salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 Tablespoons Cognac or Brandy, divided
1 ½ cups dry white wine
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons heavy cream

Dry the chicken with paper towels. Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the butter and olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Sauté the chicken in batches skin side down first about 3 to 5 minutes per side or until nicely browned. When the batch is done, remove the chicken to a plate, and continue with another batch until all chicken has been browned. Remove all but 3 tablespoons of oil in the Dutch oven, and then put it back on the heat. Add whole garlic cloves to the pot and lower the heat. Sauté the garlic for 5 to 10 minutes turning it often and cook until evenly browned. Add two tablespoons of brandy and the wine, and return to a boil scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with any juices and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Cover and simmer over the lowest heat for about 30 minutes or until all the chicken is done. Remove the chicken to a platter and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. In a small bowl whisk together ½ cup of the sauce and the flour and then whisk it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Cognac and the cream, and simmer for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce and garlic over the chicken and serve hot.

Sandy made these fabulous cream puffs with chocolate for dessert. I don’t have her recipe. Yet…

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