One Risotto, One Chicken, One Cake and Three Girls in the kitchen, otherwise known as “Casual” Christmas Lunch

When I said there will be no Christmas recipes on my blog I was not entirely serious about it 😉 I prepared one recipe, but I didn’t like the pictures and decided to move it to a new project- it’s going to be great I promise. Then, you know yourself how it’s like. These days just pass by one after another and before you realize it’s the 24th of December and we all ask ourselves how did that happen?! We didn’t it manage to do this, we didn’t manage to eat that, didn’t call that friend of mine I was thinking of for the last 6 months or so and I don’t know what else… However, Christmas lunch with friends is something you cannot miss just like that right?? NO, you cannot. Two weeks ago Alexandra from Marrons Glaces, Vassilia- another friend of mine and I decided to celebrate Christmas together. My boyfriend was out of town, so my apartment was the operations center for this event. Each of us cooked or baked and the main task was of course to eat all this food!! It’s Christmas in the end! So today I have two quick recipes for you- I know the title of this post mentions 3 different dishes but Vassilia’s risotto deserves a separate post, since we ate it all on the spot- I had some left for the next day but if you want to take good pictures of risotto it has to be fresh. Besides, Vassilia is absolutely not into food photography. Cooking and eating yes, but taking pictures when your food is waiting for you nah… Enough to say, when Alexandra and I were getting mad about the light, and desperately trying to take a few shots of the chicken and this wonderful Christmas cake, which you are about to see in a few seconds, Vassilia was giving us a hard time making threads from the kitchen and saying that risotto is almost ready and now she can’t stop making it! Too late! So there you go. You should see our faces when we realized that the risotto was ready, but we forgot about the starter awww. It was a foie gras, which I brought from Strasbourg a week before. I bought it in a very fancy place so we couldn’t just skip it- especially that it took ages to open that thing, so it HAD to be eaten. Vassilia was still in the kitchen, fully armed let me tell you, but we managed to settle the situation and had the risotto first- it was absolutely delicious- and then we went back to our foie gras… Oh Lord… All this food and wine- it was divine, and it was only the beginning. I know you all are busy with getting ready for your Christmas dinner and packing the presents and doing your last shopping- so am I, I’ll better start then.

Christmas card 1

Christmas Chicken- stuffed and roasted

If you remember one of my posts about how to stuff and roast a duck, this is it. I promised to give you the recipe for the stuffing and here it is. This method is a bit time consuming, but the final effect is fabulous, and not only for Christmas but for any other special occasion.

Christmas chicken 2

Ingredients

Makes at least 5 -6 big servings, preparation time- marinating the chicken- over night, time in the oven 2 hours, the oven temperature 180/190 C

  1. 1 big chicken- mine weighted around 2 kg
  2. 6 thick slices of lard/bacon
  3. 4/5 carrots- chop them into big chunks
  4. 200 g of mushrooms
  5. 4/5 medium sized potatoes- chop them into medium sized pieces
  6. asparagus- 6/7 of those- if you can get them of course
  7. 3 laurel leaves
  8. 1 glass of red wine

The Marinade

  1. 2 glasses of red wine
  2. 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil
  3. 2 cloves of garlic- crushed
  4. sweet red pepper- 2 teaspoons
  5. salt and black pepper- as much as you like
  6. fresh herbs of your choice- I used rosemary, thyme

Mix all ingredients together, leave aside for 10-15 min, spread the marinade over the chicken and leave it in a fridge for the whole night if you can. If you’re running out of time 3-4 hours should do.

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The Stuffing

  1. 350 g of mincemeat- beef and pork
  2. 5 small chicken livers- slice them in small pieces
  3. 1 carrot- grated
  4. 1 egg
  5. 2 small onions- chopped finely
  6. 1 clove of garlic- crushed
  7. slice of bread soaked with water- it can be replaced by breadcrumbs- 3/4 tablespoons
  8. salt, black pepper
  9. bunch of fresh parsley- chop it finely
  10. other fresh herbs of your choice- I added some thyme

In a glass bowl combine all ingredients together and leave the stuffing aside for about 20 min, after this time stuff the chicken. If you don’t know how to do it, here you have all the necessary instructions.

Preheat the oven and place the chicken on the baking sheet. Pour some water- 1 glass I would say and place it in the oven. Roast it for about 1 hour – at first keep the temperature of 180/190 C- it really depends on the oven you have- after 30 min add more water and decrease the temperature- 150 C is enough.

In the meantime prepare a big oval sauce pan- I use Le Creuset 26 cm- and place 3 slices of lard on the bottom and the laurel leaves. Place the chicken inside of the sauce pan, pour the wine, add half a glass of water, place 3 slices of lard on the top of the chicken and place it in the oven- no lid on. Set the temperature to 170 C and leave it for 30 min. After 30 min add carrots, potatoes and mushrooms. Place it back into the oven. In the end add the asparagus- a few pieces- it needs no more than 5 minutes.

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When the chicken is ready, let it cool down for a few minutes- especially if you wish to serve the stuffing too. I usually wait with this part, until is properly settled. Serve the chicken with good quality red wine and roasted potatoes.

Christmas chicken 1

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Christmas Cake otherwise known as Bûche de Noël à la creme de marrons Clement Faugier.

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I have to tell you this sort of cake is one of my favorites. In France you can have it only for Christmas, so in Luxembourg, so my idea is to eat it as often as I can when the time comes. Alexandra makes this cake and it’s yummy, but from what she says it’s her Mom who is the real master here. Anyway, we agreed that she would bring this cake, and we took some pictures of it too- in that very moment Vassila was still manageable- it was when we got to the chicken part, she started making risottto and that was the end of the photo session 😀 To be fair, it started getting dark too, so no point in trying wouldn’t you agree! The original recipe for this cake you can find here, but it’s in French, therefore I’m providing a quick English version. It’s worth trying it!

Ingredients

Makes 8 servings, preparation time- 50 min, resting time 12 hours

The Cake

  1. 125 g f sugar
  2. 100 g of flour
  3. 4 eggs
  4. 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

The Filling

  1. 1 kg of sweetened chestnut puree- however i you cannot buy it, or you are not a big fun, replace it with chocolate
  2. 15 g of butter
  3. 125 g f chocolate- if you replacing the chestnut puree with chocolate then of course no need to add it more
  4. 500 g of icing sugar
  5. 100 g of whipped cream- as optional- but why optional??!
  6. cherries- also as optional, but I would go for it!

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Directions

In advance whisk the whites. In a big glass bowl combine together sugar, yolks, the vanilla essence, add a pinch of salt and the whites and mix all together gently. Preheat the oven to 190 C. Prepare one baking sheet- butter the parchment paper and place the dough on it. Spread it carefully over the baking form, it shouldn’t be thicker than 1/2 cm. Place it in the oven for 15 min.

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In order to prepare the chestnut cream you have to melt the chocolate with butter and a little bit of water. When the consistency is creamy add the icing sugar and the chestnut puree. Mix ingredients until all properly combined.

When the cake is ready, place it on a kitchen cloth and prepare for pouring the chestnut cream. Spread about 2/3 of the whole cream and roll the cake- you can see it on the pictures on Alexandra’s blog how to do it. The rest of chestnut cream spread over the cake as presented in the original post. You can also use the whipped cream and some cherries to decorate the cake.  Leave it for 12 hours before served.I hope you will enjoy it like we did!

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My Dear ones- I wish you Merry Christmas and I hope you are truly enjoying this Holiday time with your families and friends.

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18 thoughts on “One Risotto, One Chicken, One Cake and Three Girls in the kitchen, otherwise known as “Casual” Christmas Lunch

  1. What a fantastic dinner, Martka! I recognised your signature stuffing job straightaway 😉 But the buche is a work of art – amazing!
    I know where I’ll be going for my Christmas dinner next year 😉
    Have a lovely Christmas,
    Ginger x

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    • Thank you so much Ronit. By the way I followed your advice this time. I had some stuffing left and I made it in a separate baking form, just a smaller one. It was like a sort of pate, very good with bread I have to say. I’m thinking of publishing this recipe as pate. Have a lovely weekend xx

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      • Interesting… I usually end up with a fairly fluffy stuffing. I start with toasted fairly large bread cubes, add caramelized onions/leeks and apples and seasoning, then bake it in a wide pan, with some added stock, and cover it while I bake it.
        I’m curious to see your version! 🙂

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