This beautiful and festive holiday menu was provided to us by the new Canards Catering and Event Production, based in Solomons. Chef-owner Michael Kelley and executive sous chef Christopher Chesbro prepared the meal, and the descriptions were written by Kelley. Many thanks to Canards for allowing us to share these recipes with our readers!
Roast Prime Rib of Beef
Nothing can surpass the beauty of a perfectly cooked prime rib on a holiday table. Three rules are critical to delivering a tender, juicy, perfectly-cooked rib roast: proper cooking temperature, proper internal temperature when removed from oven, and proper rest time before slicing. When ordering prime rib from your butcher, plan on each rib length serving roughly twice as many people. For example, a three-rib roast will serve approximately six people; a full size (7-rib) roast will serve approximately 12-14 people.
3- rib prime rib roast, left covered at room temperature for 1 1/2 hours
2 T. chopped garlic
1 T. chopped pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Rub rib with garlic and pepper and place in a roasting pan bone side down/fat side up. Place in preheated oven and roast for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and cook approximately 45-55 minutes until internal temperature taken at the thickest point in the rib reaches 115-120 (for rare), 125-130 (medium) or 140 (well done, which is NOT recommended for prime rib) degrees. It is very important to check the temperature early to insure you do not cook past your desired degree of doneness. A good thermometer is a must.
Remove from oven, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest (very important) for at least 15 minutes. If you leave it longer, plan on the rib cooking to about another 1/2 measure of doneness − for example, going from rare to just under medium rare after sitting for 30 minutes.
To serve, make a parallel cut just above the bones from the tip to the base of the rib, then cut steaks with vertical cuts to the desired thickness. Serve with juice from the pan. Serves 6.
Butternut Squash Soup
A lovely cold weather soup that warms the bones and delights the palate.
When buying your squash, estimate about 20-25% waste for skin removal. To get 3 pounds of flesh, buy about 4 pounds of squash. To make the job of peeling much easier, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and roast the squash for 20-25 minutes. Remove, let cool 20 minutes, then cut rind with a knife. It will cut much more easily than when completely raw.
2 T. butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T. chopped garlic
3 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1-inch cubes
3-4 C. chicken stock
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 C. heavy cream
Melt butter in heavy duty saucepot on medium flame. Add onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and cook for two minutes. Add squash and chicken stock, and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cover, simmering until squash is tender throughout. Stir in nutmeg, ginger and heavy cream. In small batches, being very careful not to fill higher than 2/3 of capacity, purée soup in a blender, placing a towel over the lid for safety. Let some steam escape as you pulse the machine to a fine purée. When finished, place soup back in pot and stir in cream. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Serves 6.
Beautifully Bright Green and Perfectly Cooked Asparagus
One of the most frequent questions I’m asked is how I manage to serve my greens (broccoli, asparagus, beans, etc.) so green and not overcooked? The answer is: It’s quite easy, and you can do it too! This works for all of the above, and the principal works for many foods.
2 lb. fresh asparagus, tips firm, base moist and healthy looking
Boil 3 quarts of water in a large saucepot. While waiting for water to boil, fill a large mixing bowl 1/3 with ice and 2/3 with water. Trim bottoms of asparagus, removing the white/grey base. If larger than 3/8 inch in diameter, peel the lower 1/3 of the base with a potato peeler. When water reaches a rolling boil, drop the asparagus in carefully. Cook approximately 3 minutes (very much depends on size of asparagus), until just starting to give way to a fork. Do NOT overcook.
When perfectly “al dente,” remove asparagus with a skimmer or tongs and immediately place into the ice bath. Gently submerge the spears into the ice and let fully chill for 5-10 minutes. Remove spears to microwave- or oven-proof dish, draining completely as you go.
When ready to serve dinner, either place in microwave oven for 1-2 minutes or in a conventional oven at 300 degrees for 5-7 minutes. Brush with olive oil, season with kosher salt and cracked pepper, and serve immediately.
Roasted Turned Vegetables
A turned vegetable is one that is cut into approximately 2-inch lengths, with blunt ends and 5-7 cuts end to end, creating almost a football-like appearance. Some (even chefs) would say, “Why bother?” It is time-consuming and can be a little frustrating until you get the hang of it. Two important reasons are that the vegetables cook evenly – meaning same size, same cooking time – and they cook more easily as they roll around in the pan, unlike with square cuts. Another is the beauty of a properly turned vegetable. It is aesthetically appealing.
5 lbs. assorted root vegetables (red potatoes, turnips, beets, carrots or parsnips) cut into 2x1-inch rectangles, then “turned” for cooking.
3 golf ball-size shallots, peeled and halved
Boil 3 quarts of water in a large saucepot. When water reaches full boil, place all vegetables into the pot, less the shallots. Blanch for 10 minutes. Remove from water, place in colander and run cold water over them for five minutes. Vegetables should be firm to the fork but give very slightly. If cooking with prime rib or other roast, add vegetables to the pan 20 minutes prior to estimated finished cooking time. Stir once at 10 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste, and serve alongside the roast. Serves 6.
Wild Rice Pilaf
1/2 C. wild rice
1/2 C. yellow onion, finely diced
1/2 C. red bell pepper, finely diced
1 1/2 C. converted rice
2 3/4 C. chicken stock
1 T. butter
2 tsp. parsley, chopped
1/2 C. sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Bring one quart water to a boil and cook wild rice on medium boil for 20-25 minutes. Drain in a colander and reserve.
Sauté onion and red bell pepper on medium heat until just tender, but not soft. Reserve.
Add converted rice, chicken stock, butter and parsley to a shallow baking dish, then cover with foil and bake in 325-degree oven for 25-30 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Toss all ingredients into bowl and serve. Serves 6.
1 T. corn starch
3/4 C. sugar
1 T. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
8-10 Granny Smith apples (depending on size), peeled and cut into small wedges
2 T. lemon juice
1 pie shell
2 C. old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 C. brown sugar
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
Mix corn starch, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt in a small bowl. Toss apples and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl, then sprinkle sugar mixture over and toss thoroughly. Pour into pie shell, mounding up toward middle of pie. Press down slightly. Place in middle of preheated 375-degree oven. Bake for 30 minutes until apples begin to brown slightly.
While pie is baking, toss oatmeal topping ingredients together in a bowl. Remove pie from oven, press down apples with wooden spoon and pour oatmeal mixture over pie, smoothing out and pressing down firmly as you go. Put back in oven and cook an additional 30 minutes, until apples are oozing from the sides and oatmeal crust in browned.
Remove and let set for at least 30 minutes before serving. Delightful served warm with small dollop of whipped cream.
Crust and topping:
2 C. all-purpose flour
2/3 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, cold
1 C. pecans, chopped fine
10 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 1/2 C. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 tsp. allspice
3/4 C. canned pumpkin (not canned pumpkin pie filling)
3 whole eggs
Combine flour, brown sugar and butter using a pastry cutter, blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse oatmeal. Stir in pecans. Press half of the mixture into bottom of a 13x9-inch baking pan. Reserve remainder for topping. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for approximately 15 minutes until it just begins to brown at the edges. Remove from oven.
While baking above, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and allspice in large mixing bowl or mixer. Slowly add pumpkin and eggs until thoroughly mixed. Pour over crust, spreading evenly, then add the remaining topping by sprinkling over pumpkin mixture. Return to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until pumpkin is set. Cool for 2 hours. Drizzle your favorite glaze in a zig-zag pattern, slice into bars and serve. Makes 24-36 bars depending on size of cut.
For more information on Canards Catering & Event Production, visit their website at www.canardscatering.com.