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Annual Pumpkin Party

The menu for the Pumpkin Party is always soups and pies. This year I served:

 

Carrot Soup (recipe in an earlier post)

Beef Stew 

Beef Stew with Bacon, Mushrooms, and Pearl Onions
1/1996

Make this stew in a large, heavy-bottomed soup kettle measuring at least ten inches in diameter. If the kettle is any smaller, you may need to cook the meat in three batches rather than two. Instead of the frozen pearl onions called for here, you can use an equal amount of fresh pearl onions that have been blanched, peeled, and steamed.

Serves 6 to 8

4

ounces bacon , cut into small dice

3

pounds chuck-eye roast , cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes

1 1/2

teaspoons table salt 

1

teaspoon ground black pepper 

2

medium onions , chopped coarse (about 2 cups)

3

medium cloves garlic , minced

3

tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour 

1 1/2

cups red wine (preferably full-bodied)

1 1/2

cups low-sodium chicken broth 

2

bay leaves 

1

teaspoon dried thyme 

1

pound white mushrooms , brushed clean and quartered

1

cup frozen pearl onions (8 ounces)

1/4

cup minced fresh parsley leaves 



1. In a large soup kettle over medium heat, cook diced bacon until browned and crisp; about 5-7 minutes. Drain bacon bits on paper towel lined plate and reserve drippings separately.

2. Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place beef cubes in large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon faat over medium-high heat in large nonreactive soup kettle; add beef to kettle in two separate batches. Brown meat on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch, adding remaining tablespoon of bacon fat if needed. Remove meat and set aside. Add chopped onions to now empty kettle; sauté until almost softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic; continue to sauté about 30 seconds longer. Stir in flour; cook until lightly colored, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine, scraping up any browned bits that may have stuck to kettle. Add stock, bay leaves, thyme, and reserved bacon bits; bring to simmer. Add meat; return to simmer. Cover and place in oven.

3. Heat 2 tablespoons of reserved drippings in large skillet until hot and add mushrooms; sauté over high heat until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from skillet, then add frozen pearl onions (previously cooked according to package directions). Sauté until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Reserve. When meat is almost tender, about 1 1/2 hours, add mushrooms and pearl onions to stew. Cover and return to oven. Cook until meat and pearl onions are tender, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Stir in parsley, adjust seasonings, and serve. (Can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated up to 3 days.

Corn and Bacon Chowder

Pumpkin Black Bean Soup

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cups canned or packaged vegetable stock, found on soup aisle
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained
2 cans (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (found often on the baking aisle)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon curry powder, 1 palm full
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin, 1/2 palm full
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, eyeball it in the palm of your hand
Coarse salt
20 blades fresh chives, chopped or snipped, for garnish

Heat a soup pot over medium heat. Add oil. When oil is hot, add onion. Saute onions 5 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, black beans and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine ingredients and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and stir in cream, curry, cumin, cayenne and salt, to taste. Simmer 5 minutes, adjust seasonings and serve garnished with chopped chives.


For pies, I did 2 apple and 2 pumpkin (but from 2 different recipes, one Paula Deen, other Cook's Illustrated) and I made the bread pudding with spiced rum sauce again. I really like the Paula pie for testure, but the spices in the Cook's. I think for T-day I will do a hybrid pie.And for all Crusts I used the Vodka trick. It's truly awesome.

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups canned pumpkin, mashed
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
1 piece pre-made pie dough
Whipped cream, for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place 1 piece of pre-made pie dough down into a (9-inch) pie pan and press down along the bottom and all sides. Pinch and crimp the edges together to make a pretty pattern. Put the pie shell back into the freezer for 1 hour to firm up. Fit a piece of aluminum foil to cover the inside of the shell completely. Fill the shell up to the edges with pie weights or dried beans (about 2 pounds) and place it in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the foil and pie weights and bake for another 10 minutes or until the crust is dried out and beginning to color.

For the filling, in a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese with a hand mixer. Add the pumpkin and beat until combined. Add the sugar and salt, and beat until combined. Add the eggs mixed with the yolks, half-and-half, and melted butter, and beat until combined. Finally, add the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger, if using, and beat until incorporated.

Pour the filling into the warm prepared pie crust and bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is set. Place the pie on a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Cut into slices and top each piece with a generous amount of whipped cream.

Pumpkin Pie
11/1993

If you do not have a food processor, the pumpkin may be put through a food mill or forced through a fine sieve with the back of a wooden spoon. Alternatively, you can cook the pumpkin, sugar, and spices together before pureeing, then whir the mixture in a blender, adding enough of the cream called for in the recipe to permit the pumpkin to flow easily over the blades. In either case, heat the pumpkin with the (remaining) cream and milk, as indicated, then slowly whisk the mixture into the beaten eggs. The pie may be served slightly warm, chilled, or at room temperature.

Serves 8


Flaky Pastry Shell

1 1/4

cups unbleached all-purpose flour , measured by dip-and-sweep

1/2

teaspoon table salt 

1/2

teaspoon granulated sugar 

10

tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), chilled and cut into 1/4-inch pats

3 - 3 1/2

tablespoons ice water 


Pumpkin Filling

2

cups plain pumpkin puree (16 ounces), canned or fresh

1

cup packed dark brown sugar 

2

teaspoons ground ginger 

2

teaspoons ground cinnamon 

1

teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg 

1/4

teaspoon ground cloves 

1/2

teaspoon table salt 

2/3

cup heavy cream 

2/3

cup milk 

4

large eggs 


Brandied Whipped Cream

1 1/3

cups heavy cream (cold)

3

tablespoons confectioners' sugar 

1

tablespoon brandy 



1. For pastry shell: Mix flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor fitted with steel blade. Scatter butter over dry ingredients; process until mixture resembles cornmeal, 7 to 12 seconds. Turn mixture into a medium-sized bowl.

2. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of water over flour mixture. With blade side of a rubber spatula, cut mixture into little balls. Then press down on mixture with broad side of spatula so balls stick together in large clumps. If dough resists gathering, sprinkle remaining water over dry, crumbly patches and press a few more times. Form dough into a ball with your hands; wrap in plastic, then flatten into a 4-inch disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (Can be refrigerated for 2 days or, if sealed airtight in a plastic bag, or frozen for up to 6 months.)

3. Generously sprinkle a 2-foot square work area with flour. Remove dough from wrapping and place disk in center; dust top with flour. (If it has been chilled for more than 1 hour, let dough stand until it gives slightly when pressed, 5 to 10 minutes.) Roll dough in all directions, from center to edges, rotating a quarter turn and strewing flour underneath as necessary after each stroke. Flip disk over when it is 9 inches in diameter and continue to roll (but don’t rotate) in all directions, until it is 13 to 14 inches in diameter and just under 1/8 inch thick.

4. Fold dough in quarters and place the corner in the center of a Pyrex pie plate measuring 9- to 9 1/2-inches across top. Carefully unfold dough to cover pan completely, with excess dough draped over pan lip. With one hand, pick up edges of dough; use index finger of other hand to press dough around pan bottom. Use your fingertips to press dough against pan walls. Trim dough overhanging the pan to an even 1/2 inch all around.

5. Tuck overhanging dough back under itself so folded edge is flush with edge of pan lip. Press double layer of dough with your fingers to seal, then bend up at a 90-degree angle and flute by pressing thumb and index finger about 1/2-inch apart against outside edge of dough, then using index finger (or knuckle) of other hand to poke a dent through the space. Repeat procedure all the way around.

6. Refrigerate for 20 minutes (or freeze for 5 minutes) to firm dough shell. Using table fork, prick bottom and sides — including where they meet — at 1/2-inch intervals. Flatten a 12-inch square of aluminum foil inside shell, pressing it flush against corners, sides, and over rim. Prick foil bottom in about a dozen places with a fork. Chill shell for at least 30 minutes (preferably an hour or more), to allow dough to relax.

7. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 400 degrees. (Start preparing filling when you put shell into oven.) Bake 15 minutes, pressing down on foil with mitt-protected hands to flatten any puffs. Remove foil and bake shell for 8 to 10 minutes longer, or until interior just begins to color.

8. For filling: Process pumpkin, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a food processor fitted with steel blade for 1 minute. Transfer pumpkin mixture to a 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan; bring it to a sputtering simmer over medium-high heat. Cook pumpkin, stirring constantly, until thick and shiny, about 5 minutes. As soon as pie shell comes out of oven, whisk heavy cream and milk into pumpkin and bring to a bare simmer. Process eggs in food processor until whites and yolks are mixed, about 5 seconds. With motor running, slowly pour about half of hot pumpkin mixture through feed tube. Stop machine and scrape in remaining pumpkin. Process 30 seconds longer.

9. Immediately pour warm filling into hot pie shell. (Ladle any excess filling into pie after it has baked for 5 minutes or so — by this time filling will have settled.) Bake until filling is puffed, dry-looking, and lightly cracked around edges, and center wiggles like gelatin when pie is gently shaken, about 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour.

10. For whipped cream: Beat cream at medium speed to soft peaks; gradually add confectioners’ sugar then brandy. Beat to stiff peaks. Accompany each wedge of pie with a dollop of whipped cream.


Breads from Carberry’s and ice cream from Chirstina’s rounded out the food.  

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