It’s the holidays, the time of year when we all gather together with our loved ones in the spirit of love and family while creating the most stressful situation since the Cuban missile crisis! Did you brine the turkey? Where are the eggs and why aren’t they Deviled?! Who made the pie; wait was I supposed to make the pie?! When will you people leave me alone??!!
As the last piece of dessert is served all the stress melts away and we remember why we invited all these people over in the first place. But after all the cooking we have been doing leading up to and including the holidays we have no intention of stepping back into the heat for the next 48 hours. And here is where we at LLIO have revitalized some foregone classics to shake up your post-holiday traditions!
I love the old world mindset of preparing for the future. Back in my grandmothers day nothing went to waste and the bounty of summer was preserved for the lean winter times. Her canned green beans, beets, pickles and apple butter brought us warmth and joy while the howl of winter was trying to force its way inside.
Her inspirations led to our creation of some amazing dishes, and to start us of why not an appetizer of smoked duck breast and leg on a wild rice pancake with cranberry and plum chutney. Here we used a cupboard staple of wild rice mixed with carrots, celery and onions and dried thyme from our garden to create a small but flavorful vessel. The duck legs and thighs were shredded and acted as a base for our chutney while a perfectly smoked medium rare duck breast was placed on top. Every bite was a journey of smoke and sweet mixed with fat and earthiness. The buttery duck melted in your mouth while resting on the “al dente” texture of the pancake. The flavors of the season in every bite.
With hors d’oeuvres behind us we now focus on the lead, and the star of my preservationist meal is the terrine. These beautiful and artistic expressions of meat and vegetables sealed away in a shimmering coat of natural gelatin. This dish was originally created as the perfect meal for French laborers containing everything they needed for a hard day’s work in a self-contained package. Since its humble roots the terrine evolved to the heights of cuisine only to be discarded by modern chefs moving away from intricate and labor intense productions. Till now.
Here we have the simple to the complex on display. Our first dish is a classic made modern terrine of head cheese. This traditional dish was taken to another level by layering the meat with feta cheese, chives, parsley and preserved lemon. The meat was so flavorful and tender yielding to the fork and coating your lips in rich gelatin. The hits of herbal parsley and chive were popped by the salty bite of the preserved lemon cutting through the richness of the meat. A slice of this and a strong beer will set even the most stressful days at ease.
But if you are in the mood for a dish to satisfy and impress those lingering relatives consider serving our new brandied duck breast, pistachio and roasted grape mustardo terrine wrapped in prosciutto. The terrine was made with pork and veal, with a layer of brandy marinated duck breasts, crushed pistachios and our home made grape mustardo. The dish was then wrapped in prosciutto like a beautiful Christmas present ready for the table. The terrine was sliced and served on an arugula and spinach salad with crushed pistachios, shaved black Spanish radish, and drizzled with olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. The salad was finished with a spoonful of grape mustardo to enhance and compliment the entire dish. Earthy, sweet, salty and rich, a beautiful and tasty way to celebrate during this holiday season.
Keeping an eye on our past helps us to create a better future, and our future is delicious. Stay tuned for more inspired dishes from Lon Lane's Inspired Occasions Research and Development Department!