Chef Matt McMillin of Cooper’s Hawk provided a roasted wild mushroom gratin as a nice accompaniment to your entree, but with the meaty texture, it makes a great substitute as well for the vegetarians or vegans at your table. A unique wine blend called Grateful was produced for this holiday season and pairs well with it.
Roasted Wild Mushroom Gratin
Chef, Cooper’s Hawk
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
16 ounces assorted wild mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, cremini, oyster, and chanterelles are the best, but whatever you like and can find)
2 tablespoons shallots, minced
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/4 cup Grateful Blend (red or white)
1/4 cup beef stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh cracked pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chives, minced
Using a small knife, cut the mushrooms into roughly 1-inch pieces. Since they will shrink as they cook, it’s nice to start off with larger pieces.
In a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat add olive oil and butter. Once the pan is hot, add mushrooms and mix gently to coat in the oil and butter. Try not to overmix them, allowing for some caramelization. Once nicely caramelized, add shallots and garlic and cook until fragrant and garlic just begins to brown.
Deglaze with the wine and reduce until slightly syrupy and most of the liquid is evaporated. Add the beef stock and heavy cream, and again reduce until the cream and beef stock mix is a thick and creamy consistency. Depending on how much salt the stock has, adjust the seasoning. (When cooking mushrooms, it’s always better to season at the end or else all the liquid is pulled out of the mushrooms in the beginning and they wind up boiling and caramelization becomes very difficult.)
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Place everything in an oven-safe casserole dish, top with parmesan cheese, and bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes until the cheese is slightly browned and sauce is bubbling. Top with minced chives and serve alongside your turkey and stuffing.
It takes a long time to get a big feast on the table, so it’s a good idea to have a few platters of appetizers ready to go so that no one gets hangry while they wait. For those who are working hard in the kitchen, it’s also nice to have a few light bites to keep from sampling the dishes being prepared.
Remember to keep it light. Here are a few ideas for light bites.
You can have a lot of fun with these custom-made boards or a colorful base. Fill it with thin folded slices of meat, berries, cheeses, nuts, olives, pickles and other finger foods.
Fruit is light, but will keep the hunger at bay for a bit. Use wooden skewers and add bite-size melon, strawberries, pineapple chunks and grapes for visual appeal.
A healthy and high-protein snack, nuts are great for grazing on while waiting for the meal. Prepare a tray with an assortment and look for different varieties — candied pecans, barbecue peanuts, rosemary almonds, glazed walnuts, habanero pistachios. You can find so many unique flavors or can create your own.
Popcorn is a light snack as long as you’re not eating a huge bowl of it. Avoid heavily sweetened or buttered flavors and go with a light dusting of flavor — garlic, Parmesan, Buffalo, dill pickle. Make your own or support one of the local small businesses that feature unique flavors. You can even prepare little bags for each guest with their name on them.
Always popular at gatherings, dips are perfect for a crowd. Each guest can consume how little or how much they’d like. Rather than heavy, cheesy dips, keep it lighter. Instead of a big layered dip, do a light black bean dip with a drizzle of sour cream on top or a pico de gallo. Select chips that are thin or get blue corn chips to add a little color. Pretzel thins work well, too.
If you want something warmed, serve bite-size pieces to prevent overindulging. Bacon wrapped dates or water chestnuts, stuffed mushrooms, warmed asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, falafel, figs and goat cheese wrapped in puff pastry, flatbread or tarts cut into micro slices are sure to be popular and satisfying.
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