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home > recipes > theme archive > christmas around the world > a french christmas

A French Christmas
Soupe aux Choux
4 (1/4" thick) slices of bacon
2 onions, sliced thinly
2 leeks, thoroughly washed, sliced with at least 2" of the green part
1 turnip, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 medium potatoes, diced
1 small head (1/2 lb.) head of cabbage
4 cups chicken stock
3 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon sugar
Grated gruyère for garnish

Dice the bacon and place in a large kettle. Cook to render the fat, but do not allow to brown.
Add the onions and leeks, cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Add the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasonings.

To serve:
Pour the soup into warmed soup plates or bowls. Sprinkle with grated gruyère, and serve with French bread.

Aïgo Bouïdo
4-1/3 cups water
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
small sprig of fresh sage
small sprig of fresh thyme
1 egg yolk
6 slices of French bread, brushed with olive oil

Bring the water to a boil. Add the garlic and salt and boil for another 10 minutes.
Add the herbs. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the herbs to steep for about 10 minutes.
Remove the herbs. Blend the yolk with some of the cooled broth, then stir it back into the soup to thicken it.
Place the oiled bread into the soup bowls, pour the soup over the bread and serve immediately.

Escargots en Brochette
1 zucchini, cut into rounds
4 cups small gray snails
6 carrots
1/2 cauliflower, separated into flowerets
6 broccoli spears, separted into flowerets
6 red-skinned potatoes, cut into rounds
4-1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 orange peel, cut into slices
3 peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt

Steam the cauliflower, broccoli, squash and potatoes, separately, until tender.
Cook the carrots in boiling water.
Rinse the snails.
Heat the vegetable broth, add the orange peel, peppercorns and snails. Simmer for 5 minutes. Strain.
Thread the snails onto the skewers, followed by the vegetables, another snail and so on.

To serve:
Serve the skewers warm, accompanied by aïoli.

4 cloves garlic, peeled
15 salted anchovies, rinsed, dried and filleted (30 canned anchovy fillets may be substituted, drain and dry them)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Pass the garlic cloves through a garlic press.
In a mini-food processor combine the garlic and anchovies and process until it resembles a paste.
Remove from processor and in another bowl, whisk the olive oil and the vinegar into the anchovy paste, until smooth.
Anchoïade may be used as a dip with crudités or as a spread for toasted baguette slices. It can be used as a condiment to liven up hard-boiled eggs or in pissaladière. Parsley, capers or olives may also be added to give a different flavor to the anchoïade.

Gratin de morue aux Épinards
1/2 pound dried cod
4 10-oz. packages of frozen spinach
4 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, grated
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup chopped parsley
3 Tablespoons bread crumbs
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Soak the cod overnight in water. Remove from water and shred the cod with your hands.
Thaw spinach. Squeeze out all the excess liquid. Your hands are the best tool for this job.

Preheat oven to 350°
Heat olive oil in a sauté pan. Add the onion, spinach, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes.
Oil a shallow baking dish. Spread half of the spinach mixture on the bottom of the dish. Arrange the cod on top. Cover cod with the remaining spinach.
Evenly sprinkle the bread crumbs on the spinach. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.

Artichokes Vinaigrette
4 medium artichokes
Cold water
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon finely minced garlic

½ cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely minced garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon finely minced parsley
Combine all the ingredients in a jar with a lid and shake.

For the artichokes:
Trim the stems and if desired, snip off pointed ends of leaves.
Turn them upside down and pound on flat surface to open them up a little.
Place them, stem end down, side by side in a heavy pot. Add about an inch of cold water to pot.
Sprinkle the salt and garlic over the artichokes.
Turn the heat to high and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pot loosely and reduce heat to low. Cook for 40-45 minutes. They are ready when a pulled leaf is tender on the inside.
Remove from water and drain upside down. Allow to cool to room temperature.

To serve: Place one artichoke on a large plate with the vinaigrette dressing in a small glass bowl for dipping.

Cake aux "Treize Desserts"
3-1/2 cups farmer's cheese
3/4 cup candied fruit, such as oranges, lemons, cherries, chopped into small cubes (chop some extra for decorating the finished cake)
1-1/2 sticks nougatine, crushed
1-1/3 cups mixed nuts, chopped
1 cup whipping cream (or crème fraîche)
1/2 cup honey
3-1/2 Tablespoons of gelatin

For the topping:
5/8 cup whipping cream
raspberry coulis (made quickly by blending a little sugar with some frozen raspberries)

Soften the gelating in a small amount of cold water. Warm the honey and combine with the gelatin.
In a cold bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form.
In a separate bowl, mix the cheese with the candied fruit, nuts and nougatine.
Add the honey.
Gently fold in the whipped cream.
Transfer the mixture unto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll into a fat sausage.
Wrap tightly with more plastic wrap and chill.
About 1/2 hour before serving, beat the rest of the whipping cream until stiff and spread with a fork. Decorate with the candied fruit and serve with the raspberry coulis.

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