I was very much in the mood for some mulled wine today when I got home from work. When I left this morning just before 9AM, the grass in the centre divider was crispy with frost – not anywhere near as cold as it might be elsewhere in North America at the moment, but the temperatures are definitely dropping around here. They’ve eventhreatened snow this coming week.
In a pan on medium heat: a cheap bottle of red wine, a sliced navel orange, two sticks of cinnamon, a half dozen cloves, about the same amount of allspice brought to a simmer, then some cane sugar and a splash of brandy was added – it simmered some more until it was reduced and sweet. Delicious!
Meanwhile, I was researching recipes in which to incorporate pomegranate. I’m plotting my dinner menu for a mid-December meal that I will host at my home and pomegranate has been speaking to me to be incorporated, though I haven’t cooked much with it.
I went to the Christmas Market at Jack London Square after work one evening last week and discovered Provence en Couleur‘s booth. They had wonderful sachets of herbes de Provence so I decided to incorporate some into today’s experiment.
I deseeded a pomegranate (which was much easier to do than I thought – check out this video) and after saving a handful of seeds for later, I expressed the juice from the rest by placing them all in a sieve and pressing down on them with a spoon.
I cleaned, peeled and sliced 4 small yams and placed them in a large ceramic baking dish. I added peeled and quartered shallots and a half dozen garlic cloves (still in their skin but crushed with the broad side of a kitchen knife). A little grape seed oil was drizzled over the top and the whole thing was tossed and spread out evenly in the dish. A layer of fresh poultry herb mix was laid over the top of the veggies in wait for the chicken.
Next I spatchcocked the chicken. Essentially, you flip the chicken on its breast and cut along either side of the spine with kitchen shears so that you can open up and flatten out the chicken. I rubbed a bit of grape seed oil on it and sprinkled it with some grey sea salt.
Then came the making of the pomegranate sauce. I used the expressed pomegranate juice and squeezed a navel orange (it came to 1 cup liquid) and put it into a sauce pan on medium to bring to a simmer. I let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes and then added 1/4 cup cane sugar and a tablespoon of black treacle. Once that incorporated, I gave it a splash of chocolate raspberry port and added 1 cup of chicken broth. I let this reduce a bit and then added a spice mixture: grey sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, smoked paprika, ground cinnamon and cloves, and finally Eric’s lovely herbes de Provence, simmering it all together until all of the flavours melded. I added the reserved pomegranate seeds to the mixture.
Once the sauce cooled a bit, I poured it over the chicken and veggies and put the dish into the preheated 400F oven for an hour. It was basted several times throughout the roasting time.
The dish was served with some pearl couscous. Yum!
About 7 peeled and cored Spartans cubed small and covered with water just barely with a squeeze of a half lemon, a whole long cinnamon stick snapped in half, some sugar, a quarter vanilla bean, two whole cloves simmered until .. well, it’s a sauce.
Add a capful of brandy and stir in with a bit more cane sugar until the alcohol evaporates and .. ::swoon::!
I had a wonderful visit with friends last night. I only just remembered to snap a pic of the main course and unfortunately, the photo is a little fuzzy.
The salsa was made with 2 mangos, 2 small shallots, 3/4 red bell pepper, all finely diced, a squeeze of 1/2 a lime, salt and pepper to taste (I’ve been using Le Saunier de Camargue fleur de sel and love it fiercely) all tossed together with a few finely chopped cilantro leaves. I personally love cilantro but some don’t seem to appreciate it as much, so I try to curb my enthusiasm a bit. I used maybe six leaves for mine.
The main course was halibut en papilotte. I put the halibut pieces over a layer of leek and fennel slivers (sliced using a mandolin), seasoned with salt and pepper, a drizzle of white wine and olive oil and garnished with lemon slivers which I’d fed through the mandolin as well. It was all wrapped up in parchment paper and cooked in the oven on a baking sheet at 425 for 18 minutes.
We cleansed our palates with some Mario’s gelatti lemon sorbet, and then I served up a rhubarb, Saskatoonberry and raspberry pie fresh from the oven. I cheated on the crust (I used the Pillsbury ready-made package) and the measurements were inexact on the fruit… about 5-7 stalks of rhubarb, cut into 1″ segments, a large tray of raspberries and about half a pound of Saskatoon berries. I grated the rind from 1 lemon and squeezed its juice in, added about 2 tablespoons of Madagascar vanilla bean paste, and about a cup and a half of sugar. Tossed the whole thing together to incorporate and baked it all in a double crust pie shell arrangement.
The warm pie was served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
We had some lovely Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand as accompaniment, trying both the Matua from Hawke’s Bay and the Kono from the Marlborogh region. I liked both but the Matua was truly something special.