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BRITISH CHRISTMAS FEAST
During the past 29 years that I've been with my British-born husband, I've cooked many English and Irish (he's half Irish) foods, including this menu. Over the years, Christmas dinner has been another British favorite -- a standing rib roast of beef, served with Yorkshire Pudding.
My variation on Yorkshire Pudding is that I like to make individual popovers instead of one "pudding" baked in a round or square baking pan which is then cut into wedges. There is no question as to what vegetable to serve....it's always and forever Brussels Sprouts. I know this sometimes maligned vegetable is not a favorite of some but if you've never eaten a roasted Brussels Sprout, you're in for a treat. Toasted pecans are also a nice addition to roasted Brussels Sprouts.
It just wouldn't be Christmas without mince pies (individual ones baked in a muffin pan) for dessert with a large spoonful of "hard sauce" - the pies are served warm and the hard sauce (pure butter) melts deliciously over the mince pie. The recipe for homemade mincemeat needs a week to macerate. If you don't want to make your own mincemeat, you can find imported jars of mincemeat in many specialty food stores and more upscale supermarkets. One brand is Robertson's. Another British favorite dessert is to serve Stilton cheese and a ruby Port. Good quality imported Stilton Cheese is widely available in specialty food stores and cheese shops.
Recipes serve six.
Broiled Shrimp with Tomato Sauce
Roast Goose with Apple and Sage Dressing
Crisp Roast Potatoes with Rosemary
Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pecans
Mincemeat Pies with Hard Sauce
In a large saucepan, heat the oil and sauté the onion until transparent. Blend in the mustard and gradually add the vinegar and broth. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Lower the heat and stir in the tomato sauce. Cook for an additional 15 - 20 minutes until sauce has reduced and is slightly thickened. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
Wash shrimp, remove shells and de-vein, leaving the tail on. With a sharp knife, slice shrimp in half lengthwise to within ½-inch of the tail. Place bread crumbs on a plate; pour oil into a bowl and add the shrimp coating well with oil. Add each shrimp to the bread crumbs and coat lightly. Place prepared shrimp on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the bread crumbs to set on the shrimp. Preheat broiler. Cook shrimp under broiler for approximately 4 minutes on each side, or until breading has lightly browned.
To serve, use a spoon to neatly spread some of the sauce on each of 6 serving plates; place 4 shrimp on each plate. Garnish each plate with a small sprig of fresh rosemary.
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Remove any excess fat from the body cavity. Prick the skin with a fork all over to help in rendering the fat as the goose roasts. Brush on the orange juice, inside and out. Sprinkle the orange zest inside the cavity.
Place goose in a roasting pan, breast side up and roast for 1 hour. Pour off any accumulated fat drippings into a heat-proof bowl. Reserve fat for roast potatoes - recipe follows). Lower heat to 325ºF and roast 2 hours longer. Again, pour off most of the accumulated fat drippings into the bowl during the roasting time. Add a cup of the goose stock (see recipe below). The goose is cooked if the drumstick moves easily in its socket and an instant read thermometer registers 180ºF when inserted into the breast meat.
Remove goose from oven and transfer to a carving board. Let goose rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. Carving a goose is slightly more difficult than carving a turkey, so I recommend that you present the whole goose to your guests and then retreat to the kitchen to tackle the carving. A good pair of kitchen shears is helpful in cutting the goose into serving pieces.
Add 4 cups of water to a large saucepan and add the goose neck, wing tips and giblets. Bring to a simmer and skim off any scum that may accumulate. Add 1 carrot, 1 celery rib, 1 small onion - halved, a handful of fresh parsley and 6 peppercorns. For a more intense goose stock, add 1 chicken bouillon cube. Bring stock to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for at least an hour. Strain the stock and use the clear liquid to make the gravy with the pan drippings from the roast goose.
Make the gravy while the goose is resting. Leave approximately 3 tablespoons of the goose fat in the roasting pan and place the pan on the stovetop over one or two burners on medium heat, depending on its size. Add 3 shallots finely minced and sauté for 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of hot goose stock (recipe follows) and cook for 5 minutes, deglazing the pan and scraping up any browned bits in the roasting pan. Bring mixture to a boil. In a separate bowl, mix together ½ cup red wine or Port and 1 tablespoon cornstarch until dissolved. Reduce heat and add this wine slurry to the pan stirring until sauce begins to thicken. Simmer for 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper. Strain sauce through a sieve into a saucepan and keep warm until needed.
Prepare herbed bread stuffing according to package directions, substituting apple juice for the water. In a large fry pan, melt the butter and sauté the onion, celery and apple for 5 minutes. Add the herbs and nuts and mix well. Let mixture cool before adding to the prepared stuffing mix. Bake stuffing along side the goose while it is roasting. Stuffing can be made a day ahead.
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