I am super excited about cooking a delicious French-inspired meal for my French themed movie night. To get things started, I'll make a baked brie. Picholine olives and croutons will complement the melty cheese. After guests have enjoyed a cocktail we will sit down to a first course shrimp bisque. The main dish is a delicious bacon wrapped chicken with a thick chicken liver sauce and haricot vert bundles with shallot vinaigrette. Just writing the names of the dishes makes me famished! For the recipes,
1 cup pecan halves
3/4 cup packed dark-brown sugar
All-purpose flour, for dusting
2 standard packages (17 1/4 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 wheel (2.2 pounds) Brie
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons heavy cream
- In a medium bowl, combine pecans and sugar, using your fingertips to thoroughly mix; set aside. Line a baking sheet with a Silpat (French nonstick baking mat) or parchment paper; set aside.
- Lightly dust work surface with flour. Place two sheets (one box) of puff pastry on the work surface one on top of the other.
- Using a rolling pin, adhere the two pieces of the puff pastry together. Continue rolling puff pastry until it is very thin, slightly less than 1/8 inch thick. Using a pastry wheel or a sharp knife, cut the puff pastry into a 13-inch round, reserving scraps for decorating.
- Place the Brie in the center of the puff pastry. Top the Brie with pecan mixture, spreading to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the cheese. Be sure to remove any sugar or nuts from the puff pastry, as they may cause holes to form during baking. Fold puff pastry up and over Brie to enclose. The center of the Brie will not be completely covered with pastry. Transfer to prepared baking sheet.
- Lightly dust work surface with flour. Repeat rolling and cutting process with remaining two sheets of puff pastry. Drape pastry over the Brie, tucking the edges under to enclose.
- In a small bowl, combine egg yolk and cream to make an egg wash.
- Cut reserved scraps of puff pastry into decorative shapes. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the decorative shapes with the egg wash, and adhere to wrapped Brie. Brush the wrapped Brie evenly with the egg wash. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes and up to overnight.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake Brie until golden brown and puffed, about 30 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake until dark golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes more.
Serves 12 to 16.
1 1/2 pounds shrimp, shelled and deveined, shells reserved
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2 1eeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, and rinsed well
3 stalks celery, cut into big chunks
2 carrots, cut into big chunks
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
2 strips orange zest
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup brandy
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Finely grated orange zest, for garnish
Finely chopped fresh chives, for garnish
- Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and melt the butter into it.
- Then add the shrimp shells, the leeks, celery, carrots, 3 sprigs thyme, the bay leaf, orange zest, and tomato paste. Cook, stirring every now and then, until the shells are red and the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
- Take the pot off the heat and carefully pour in the brandy. Ignite the brandy with a long kitchen match and let burn until the flame subsides.
- Return the pot to the heat, sprinkle in the flour, give it a stir, and cook for another 2 minutes.
- Now add water to cover and deglaze, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon.
- Add the cream and bring to a boil. Immediately turn the heat down to low and gently simmer until the soup is reduced and thickened, 30 to 45 minutes.
- Strain into a clean pot and season with salt and pepper.
- Chop the shrimp. Return the bisque to a simmer, add the shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes just to cook the shrimp through.
- Give the bisque a final taste for seasoning, pour it into warmed soup bowls and serve garnished with the orange zest and chives.
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 thyme sprigs, plus 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
8 slices of thick-cut bacon ( 1/2 pound)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound chicken livers, trimmed
1 medium shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium broth
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place a thyme sprig on top of each breast half and wrap each half in 2 slices of bacon; secure the bacon with toothpicks.
- Heat a large, ovenproof skillet. Add the chicken and cook over moderately high heat until the bacon is browned, 5 minutes.
- Turn the chicken and roast in the oven for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the chopped thyme to the pan and baste the chicken. Let rest for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil. Season the livers with salt and pepper. Cook over moderately high heat until golden brown, about 4 minutes.
- Add the shallot and garlic and cook until softened.
- Add 2 tablespoons of the vinegar and cook for 2 minutes. Add the stock and the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and simmer over low heat until the livers are firm.
- Puree the livers in a blender and strain through a very fine sieve set over a saucepan. Stir in the remaining oil and vinegar; season with salt and pepper.
- Discard the toothpicks and thickly slice the chicken. Spoon the sauce onto plates, top with the chicken and serve.
1 lb. haricot verts
2 shallots, finely minced
1/3 cup sherry vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 cup olive oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
bunch fresh chives
- Clean the beans and trim stem end.
- In a double boiler, steam the beans until tender-crisp, 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer immediately to a large bowl filled with ice water to stop cooking.
- In a bowl combine, vinegar and Dijon mustard. While whisking, slowly drizzle in olive oil to emulsify. Add honey and tarragon and season with salt and pepper.
- Immerse chives in boiling water, let stand 1-2 minutes until pliable.
- Placed cooked beans on a platter, using chives, tie into bundles of 4-5 beans.
- Pour dressing over bean bundles. Season with salt.