An Evening In Paris


Tonight, we travel to Paris, France for a true Parisian feast. I visited Paris with one of my best friends after we graduated college. It was one of the many European cities we visited that summer. The streets of Paris are beautiful and full of history. You come to Paris for the sights, but you stay for the food. French cuisine is magical. French croissants are warm and buttery. The French serve dishes of Boeuf Bourguignon and Coq au Vin, lovingly braised in red wine. Meals are never rushed and often last for hours. For tonight’s dinner party of 6, we will serve French-style Deviled eggs to start, followed by Crème Fraîche Roast Chicken and Ratatouille with Bacon. We finish the meal with Poires Belle Helen, poached pears drizzled with chocolate sauce and served with vanilla ice cream. I recommend Pandora’s French Cafe Station to set the mood and of course, French wine for your guests. The best part about this meal is most of it can be made ahead of time. When your guests arrive, simply put out the hors d’oeuvres & wine while your chicken & vegetables deliciously roast away. And that my friends equals Bonheur (Happiness)!

MENU:

French-style Deviled Eggs

Crème Fraîche Roast Chicken w/ Ratatouille with Bacon

Poires Belle Helen

French-style Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise (I love Kewpie Japanese mayo, but any good quality mayo will work)  
  • 6 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 6 cornichons, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped capers
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped chives, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley, plus more for garnish
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Slice the hard boiled eggs in half vertically and scoop the yolks into a large bowl.  Arrange the egg whites on a serving tray. Add the mayo, mustard, salt and pepper to the yolks, and mash until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Pipe or spoon the yolk mixture into the hollows of the egg whites. Garnish with extra herbs.

Crème Fraîche Roast Chicken w/ Ratatouille with Bacon

Ingredients:

Crème Fraiche Mixture:

  • 1 ¼ cups crème fraiche
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chicken:

  • One 5-6-pound chicken, rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

Bacon “Ratatouille:”

  • 8 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1 fennel bulb, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced finely
  • 1-pound mixed mushrooms, chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and chopped
  • 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup red wine

Directions:

  1. Preheat Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. For the Crème Fraiche Mixture: combine crème fraiche, rosemary, thyme, parsley, garlic, shallot, salt, pepper and garlic in small bowl until smooth.
  3. For the chicken: Tuck the wings under the chicken. Sprinkle the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the crème fraiche mixture into the cavity. Tie the legs together loosely with kitchen string. Starting at the neck end of the chicken, loosen the skin over the entire chicken breast. Smear the remaining crème fraiche mixture over the outside and under the skin of the chicken. Place chicken aside.
  4. For the Bacon Ratatouille: Fry bacon in small frying pan. Remove bacon with slotted spoon, reserving the bacon drippings. In a large bowl, toss together bacon, bacon oil, fennel, onion, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, parsnips, rosemary and thyme.
  5. Arrange the vegetables on the bottom of a roasting pan in a single layer. Add the broth and red wine. Place whole chicken on top.
  6. Roast the chicken for 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh. Let chicken rest 20 minutes. Slice the chicken onto a platter and serve it with the Bacon “Ratatouille.

Poires Belle Helen (Poached Pears, Chocolate Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream)

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups water
  • 6 whole pears (Bartlett or Bosc), peeled, cored and stem intact
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • One vanilla bean, split 
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • Prepared hot fudge chocolate topping
  • Good quality vanilla ice cream

Directions:

  1. Place water in a heavy pot. Stir in cinnamon sticks. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the vanilla seeds and split pods to the poaching liquid. Pour in sugar, stir. Add pears.
  2. Submerge pears by placing a plate over them. Simmer pears until just tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove pot from heat and let pears cool in the poaching liquid.
  3. Warm hot fudge in small saucepan
  4. When ready to serve, place one poached pear into a bowl and drizzle with hot fudge. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

“Since life is short and the world is wide, the sooner you start exploring it, the better.” — Simon Raven

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