New Year's is the last chance to celebrate in style before the "diet" resolutions kick in.-Champagne and rich foods will be put into the back of the cupboard for a while...at least until Super Bowl or Valentine's Day!-Here are three main dishes, fit for New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.
Chicken Breasts in Champagne
-? This combination of "classics' is extravagantly delicious
4 whole chicken breasts halved
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup cognac
3 tablespoon unbleached flour
2 teaspoon dried tarragon
3 1/2 cups champagne
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
-Sprinkle the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper.- In a medium sized Dutch oven melt the butter over medium high heat.-Brown the chicken breasts a few at a time on all sides about 10 minutes.- Remove and set aside.
-Pour the cognac into the pan, warm it, and flame with a match.- When the flame subsides, stir in the flour and tarragon.- Cook for 2 minutes stirring constantly.- Gradually whisk in 3 cups of the champagne.- Return the chicken to the pan.- Cover and simmer until the chicken is tender about 45 minutes.
-Remove the chicken to a warm serving plate.- Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup champagne and the cream.- Cook the sauce over high heat until reduced and slightly thickened.- Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve immediately.- Serves 6.
Salmon With Lentils
? The crisp crust on this salmon gives it it's delicious taste and good looks.- Make sure your pan is very hot before you add the salmon.
-1/2 pound green lentils
1/2 cup good olive oil, plus extra for the salmon
2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 1/2 cups chopped celery
1 1/2 cups chopped carrots
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoon good red wine vinegar
4 (8 ounce) center cut salmon fillets, skin removed
-Place the lentils in a heat proof bowl and cover with boiling water.- Set aside for 15 minutes then drain.
-Meanwhile, heat the oil in a saute pan, add the onions, leeks, thyme, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent.- Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes.- Add the celery, carrots, chicken stock and tomato paste.- Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender.- Add the vinegar and season to taste.-
-Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
-For the salmon, heat a dry oven proof saute pan over high heat for 4 minutes.- Meanwhile, rub both sides of the salmon fillets with olive oil and season the tops very liberally with salt and pepper.- When the pan is very hot, place the salmon fillets seasoning sides down in the pan and cook over medium heat without moving them for 2 minutes, until very browned.- Turn the fillets and place the pan in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the salmon is cooked rare.- Serve with a mound of lentils on each plate and place a salmon fillet on top.- Serve hot.
Rack of Lamb Persillade
? Persillade is a French term for the combination of minced fresh parsley and garlic- added to a dish near the end of cooking.- This rack of lamb is easy entertaining and the "persillade" gives it extra flavor.
-2 racks of lamb
Good olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups loosely packed fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
4 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 cup fresh white breadcrumbs
2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Place both racks of lamb in a roasting pan, fat side up.-Rub the tops with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.-Roast the lamb 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, to make the "persillade."- Place the parsley, garlic and butter in a bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until finely minced.-Add the bread crumbs and lemon zest and process until just combined.
-Take the lamb out of the oven, quickly press the "persillade" on top of the meat covering it completely.- Return it immediately to the oven and roast for another 15 minutes.
Take the lamb out of the oven and cover with foil.-Allow it to rest 15 minutes, cut in double chops and serve.
-Serves 4 to 5 people.
-Here's to 2007 and remember your resolutions!