Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Entertaining two-fer and leftovers: Almond and celery soup, lasagne bolognesi, stuffed chicken thighs on Risotto, apple strudel tart

Last week I had people over for dinner on Sunday and two days later on Tuesday. So the challenge was to cook dinner without being left with a load of leftovers.

The menus ended up as:

Almond and Celery soup
Lasagne Bolognesi (Sunday)
Stuffed Chicken Thighs on Risotto (Tuesday)
Apple Strudel Tart

Almond and Celery soup

I always make this with left over celery (which I had from the lasagne).


Stuffed chicken thighs on risotto

Apple strudel tart

Almond and Celery soup (adapted from New British Classics by Gary Rhodes)

1oz butter
1lb celery sticks, roughly chopped
1/2 onion, roughly chopped
1 small potato, peeled and roughly chopped
4oz ground almonds
500ml vegetable stock
250ml milk
250ml single cream
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Double cream
Celery leaves

1. Coat the vegetable in melted butter over a low heat. Simmer witha lid on for 10-15 minutes until they begin to soften.
2. Add the ground almonds, stock and milk. Simmer for 20 minutes unitl the vegetables are cooked through.
3. Add cream and return to the simmer. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
4. Liquidise until smooth and pass through a fine sieve.
5. Before serving gently re-heat and season. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to lift the flavours.
6. Garnish with cream, celery leaves and snipped chives

Lasagne Bolognesi (taken from The Pasta Bible by Jeni Wright)

150-250ml beef stock
12 dried lasagne sheets
2oz Parmesan
Meat sauce
1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, finely diced
2 celery sticks, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely diced
130g streaky bacon, finely diced
250g minced beef
250g minced pork
Small glass of white wine
2 cans of chopped tomatoes
475-750ml beef stock
100ml double cream
White sauce:
2oz butter
2oz plain flour
11/2 pints of milk

Meat sauce
1. Fry the vegetables and bacon in olive oil until soft (roughly 10 minutes).
2. Add the minces, brown and cook for a further 10 minutes.
3. Add the wine and simmer until reduced.
4. Add the tomatoes and 250ml of stock and bring to the boil. Stir well and reduce the heat. Half cover the pan with its lid and leave to simmer for 2 hours. Stir occasionally. Add more stock as it become absorbed.
5. Stir in the cream then simmer for a further 30 minutes.
6. Season to taste and allow to cool. The longer the sauce is left to mature the better the flavours will develop. Ideally try and make the sauce the day before constructing the lasagne.
White sauce:
1. Melt the butter.
2. Stir in the flour and cook over a low heat for 2 minutes.
3. Gradually add the milk unitl the sauce is thick and smooth.
4. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 2 minutes.
5. Season.
Assembling the lasagne:
1. Reheat the ragu and add stock to make it quite runny.
2. Spread a third of the ragu on the bottom of a baking dish.
3. Cover with a quarter of the white sauce.
4. Apply four sheets of lasagne.
5. Repeat these layers twice more: ragu, white sauce, lasagne.
6. Cover the top of the lasagne with the reaming white sauce. Grate over the Parmesan.
7. Bake at 190°C for 40 minutes (or until the pasta is tender to a skewer inserted in the middle)

Stuffed Chicken Thighs on Risotto (adapted from this Gordon Ramsay F-Word recipe)

2 boned-out chicken thighs
4 rashers, rindless streaky bacon
2 good-quality pork sausages
Cayenne pepper
1 garlic clove, crushed
1tsp dried parsley
25g butter
1/2 onion, finely diced
150g Arborio risotto rice
900ml chicken
75g peas (thawed if frozen)
25g freshly grated Parmesan
25g butter, cut into cubes

1. To make the stuffing, remove the skin from the sausages and mix with cayenne, garlic and parsley. Season well with salt and pepper.
TIP: Fry a small amount of the stuffing to check the flavour and seasoning
2. Open out the chicken thighs, season with pepper and divide the stuffing between them. Roll up to enclose. Lay 2 bacon rashers on a board, overlapping them slightly. Put one stuffed chicken portion on top and wrap the bacon around to cover completely. Repeat.
3. Wrap each chicken parcel tightly in foil, twisting the ends to seal. Roll back and forth to even the shape.
4. Poach the chicken parcels in a large pan of boiling water for 25-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked.
5. Allow to cool in the foil, then refrigerate for 30 minutes (this helps the bacon to ‘set’ around the chicken). Remove the foil and pat dry to remove any excess moisture.
6. For the risotto soften the onion in butter until translucent. Add the rice and coat with butter. Add the stock one ladle at a time as the rice absorbs the stock.
7. Add the peas at the end of the cooking with the final ladle of stock. Remove from the heat and add in the diced butter and Parmesan. Cover and leave the risotto to rest for two minutes.
8. Whilst the risotto is resting, sauté the chicken parcels until the bacon is brown and crisp on all sides. Transfer to a warm platter and rest in a warm place.
9. Beat the butter and Paremsan into the risotto. Season to taste.
8. To serve, cut the chicken into thick slices and arrange over the risotto.

Apple Strudel Tart (taken from Once Upon a Cakestand as I was searching for a way to use up nearly a full packet of filo pastry)

The only problem with this was the pastry had lost its delicate crunch overnight. Clearly a pie best served warm and in large quantities!Before the oven

Baked hot apple pie


1 packet of ready made filo pastry
2oz butter
400g quark
180g crème fraîche
3 eggyolks
1tsp vanilla extract
140g caster sugar
75g raisins
a pinch of salt
4 sour apples (about 400g)
3 egg whites
icing sugar, to dust

1. Generously butter a round 8" cake tin, line bottom with parchment paper and heat oven to 170C°.
2. Mix quark, crème fraîche, egg yolks, vanilla extract, sugar, raisins and salt in a large bowl until smooth.
3. Peel the apples, core and grate directly into mixture so the apples don't turn brown.
4. Whip the egg whites until stiff and carefully fold into the mixture.
5. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Butter one sheet of filo pastry and place (buttered side down) into the tin and make sure ends are overlapping the tin-rim.
6. Continue to line the tin until all the filo pastry is used up
7. Pour the filling into the prepared tin.
8. Fold the overlapping filo pastry over the mixture. Brush with some melted butter and bake in the bottom of the oven for about 50 minutes until golden and mixture has set.
9. To serve, dust a warm healthy slice with icing sugar. This pie is best served warm.

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