December 25, 2003
Happy Holidays

feast1.jpg

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Spinach Salad with Radishes & Onions
Pureed Celery Root with Potatoes, Gruyere & Saffron
Brasato di Maiale
Crostata di Mirtillo with Creme Anglaise

Christmas tradition is that the younger generation make the feast.

In the past I've done a goose (we like gamy birds); another year, a Welsh leg of lamb (with honey and thyme). Since the four of us have never actually been able to actually completely consume our Christmas dinner in the past, we went smaller, a bit homier this year with a recipe from Mario Batali (hands down runs the best cooking show on the Food Network) of pork shoulder braised in red wine with juniper berries, rosemary and pancetta, ringed with a salad of grilled scallions.

Brent at Wellspring found us a nice Boston Butt about 4 pounds, which was within the target range for something we could finish. My sister takes credit for interpreting Batali's recipe with aplomb, rendering a flavorful, complex, and tender (something we were fearful of not accomplishing) main dish. Eugenie also cheated by adding some butter at the finish. She also made the cranberry crostata, which has now become our traditional Christmas dessert. I went with the relatively simple Dean & Deluca recipe for celery root and potatoes. There is little chance of missing with such straightforward ingredients. Basically the celery root is pureed with heavy cream, butter and saffron, then incorporated with mashed russet potatoes and shredded Gruyere, topped with Gruyere, and thrown in the oven until the cheese on top is golden. My mother claimed that she couldn't taste the celery root--perhaps the gustatory receptors for celery root are variable from person to person.

Batali's recipe calls for marinating the shoulder for three days. Since we only bought the pork on Christmas day we cheated and marinated for one day and (including a stretch at room temp overnight--the room temp phase was more an oversight than intentional, as I'm not writhing in agony with bacterial dysentary, I think it was OK).

I got to keep my two front teeth for Christmas.

Posted by erich at December 25, 2003 10:51 PM
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