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1950s Archive

Noël By Nostalgia

continued (page 3 of 4)

Abattis of Goose Ménagère

Season the wing tips, neck, gizzard, and heart of a goose with salt. Melt 2 tablespoons goose fat in a saucepan, add the pieces of goose, and cook them on all sides until they are golden-brown. Drain any excess fat from the pan and add 1 tablespoon chopped onion, 1 teaspoon chopped shallots, 1 clove of garlic, crushed, and 2 tablespoons flour. Mix well and cook until the flour is golden-brown. Add 1 cup red or white wine (and 1/2 cup tomato juice, if desired) and enough water to cover the pieces of goose. Bring to a boil, mix well, and add a faggot of 4 sprigs of parsley, 1 stalk of celery, a little thyme, and a small bay leaf.

In another pan parboil 2 cups chopped celery or knob celery and 3 carrots cut in pieces for 8 to 10 minutes and drain. Sauté 12 small onions in butter or good fat until golden. Add the vegetables to the stew and also 2 or 3 cups potatoes cut in pieces.

Cook the stew for 45 to 60 minutes longer, or until the meat is tender. Remove the faggot and, if desired, add 24 cooked chestnuts, heating them for a few minutes in the stew. Correct the seasoning and add a little freshly ground pepper. Put in a serving dish and garnish with broiled small sausages and chopped parsley.

If you want to serve salsify, or oyster plant, as it is often called, it is important to know that after the roots are peeled and the inside is exposed to the air they will darken more quickly than almost anything else I know. Therefore plunge them immediately into water to which vinegar or lemon juice has been added.

Salsify or Oyster Plant

Cut the tops from salsify or oyster plant, scrape them, and put them into acidulated water, 2 tablespoons vinegar for each quart. Use large vegetables so that the pieces will be 3 to 4 inches long. Mix 1 tablespoon flour with a little water in a saucepan, dilute it with 1 quart water, and add 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon vinegar. Bring to the boil, add the salsify or oyster plant pieces, and cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. When they are tender, drain.

To serve, combine the salsify with cream sauce or meat gravy; sauté it in butter; fry it in hot deep fat; or make it into fritters.

Salsify or Oyster Plant Fritters

Roll pieces of cooked salsify or oyster plant in chopped parsley and marinate them for 15 minutes in a mixture of 2 parts salad oil and 1 part lemon juice. Dip the pieces in fritter batter, covering each completely. Fry the slices in hot deep fat (375&176;F.), a few at a time, until golden-brown. Drain and salt lightly.

The salad may be made with either raw or cooked celery knob, which is also delicious by itself in a vinaigrette sauce.

Celery Knob and Beet Salad Vinaigrette

Peel 6 celery knobs and cut them in julienne. Spread them on a platter, sprinkle generously with salt, and leave for 1/2 hour. Drain and press out all the moisture with a towel.

Or cover the julienne of celery knob with boiling water, cook for 1 minute, drain, and rinse with fresh cold water.

Combine the julienne prepared either way with vinaigrette sauce (see below) and chopped parsley mixed with a little chopped tarragon and chervil.

To cook celery knob, peel 6 celery knobs, cover them with water in a saucepan, and add a little salt. Boil for 40 minutes, or until they are soft but not mushy. Cool the celery, slice or dice them, and salt to taste.

Wash 6 large winter beets and bake them in a moderately hot oven (375°F.) for about 40 minutes. Peel, cool, and cut them in julienne or mince them rather coarsely. Boil 1 onion for 15 minutes, drain, cool, and dice it, or use 1/4 cup chopped scallions or 1 tablespoon chopped chives.

Mix celery knob, prepared in any of the ways, and beets with vinaigrette sauce or cream mustard.

Vinaigrette Sauce

Mix together 1 tablespoon vinegar, 3 tablespoons salad oil, a little salt and pepper, and a little dry mustard.

Cream Mustard

Mix together 1 teaspoon prepared mustard, a little salt and pepper, and a few drops of lemon juice. Add little by little 1/2 cup cream, stirring vigorously until it is well combined.

The dessert was always a high point of the meal, probably because we didn't have dessert every day in the week. Oeufs à la neige was a great favorite, rich and tasty. It corresponded in a way to ice cream in that the custard base is made much like the mixture that is frozen to make ice cream. Oeufs à la neige, at any rate, was always a real holiday dessert. My mother used to serve it from her great big china salad bowl, and we ate great dishes of it.

Oeufs à la Neige (Snow Eggs)

Beat the whites of 8 eggs until stiff, adding 1/2 cup sugar, little by little, as they start to stiffen. Add a piece of vanilla bean to 1 quart milk in a large saucepan and heat until it is scalded. Remove the milk from the fire and drop spoonfuls of the egg white on top. Return the saucepan to a low heat, poach the meringues for 2 minutes, and turn them to poach for 2 minutes on the other side. Remove the meringues with a skimmer and drain them on a towel.

Mix together 8 egg yolks and 1 cup sugar, beating until creamy. Add 2 teaspoons flour. Pour the hot milk over the eggs, stirring briskly. Return the pan to the fire and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens. Do not let it boil. Strain the custard through a fine sieve and chill. Serve it with the meringues floating on top and, if desired, sprinkle them with grated chocolate or caramelized sugar.

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