My filling, inspired by chef Alain Ducasse, had some lambs brain in it for a bit of extra flavor. If you want to add it, a half a lamb’s brain will do, or perhaps a bit of prosciutto or some pancetta.
Smetannik means “the one that is made of sour cream” and it is my all time favorite Russian cake. When we first came to North Carolina and found an International Grocery (read Russian store), we started buying their frozen Smetannik by the pound. It was THE celebration cake. It would get cut down to whatever size we wanted and thawed to a delicious creamy cake.
Cranberry is a standard Thanksgiving flavor, so I wanted to make a bit of a nod to it especially since I refused to follow any other aspects of the American tradition. The cranberry is cooked down and paired with some orange juice for a wonderful and complex flavor. I prepare the recipe in a 12 inch deep tart pan, if you are using a standard 9 inch tart pan, simply divide the recipe in half.
To start off our meal, and to placate everyone while I was finishing cooking, I served a baked Camembert with sautéed porcini mushrooms and shallots sweetened with some fig jam. I love cheese, but have never been a fan of Camembert on my cheese plate, but I do love it baked with some jam! Imagine a baked brie enveloped by puff pastry and topped with some raspberries and walnuts, what could be better? I wanted to make our dish a bit more savory and a tad less buttery so I went with searing some porcini with shallots baked over the Camembert. Everything can be assembled ahead of time, and just stick it in the oven for 10 minutes to warm up before serving. The temperature is not really important, so you can add it to the oven with your turkey/goat/lamb/ham or whatever else is roasting in there!
I was never a huge fan of turkey, so I generally prefer to make a big lamb roast. This year, I wanted to make a whole baby goat or lamb! My friend Anwar looked for one for me, and in the end sold me an entire half of a full grown goat, which made a beautiful roast!
Monégasque means of Monaco, and it appears that this is a variation of one of Monaco’s national dishes. A ravioli filled with chard, spinach, cheeses, and a bit of lamb’s brain (because why wouldn’t you?) is served on top of a stew of beef braised in red wine with carrots and herbs, very much like a Boeuf Bourguignon.
I was leafing through Alain Ducasse’s book and came across this combination of lobster and fresh truffle, perfect for our fish eaters. I had recently bought a little jar of fresh Summer Truffles since this cookbook required truffle for almost every recipe, and decided Thanksgiving was a great moment to serve it out. I loved a lot of Ducasse’s recipe and was inspired by his flavor profile, but have simplified this recipe to make it easier for the home cook.
Risotto is a mainstay in the fall for me. I have loved it since my friend Kikki in Brooklyn made some for me with ingredients she brought back from her second home in Bormio. Every time I make it, I think about her bringing the big hunk of Parmesan out of its packaging and grating it liberally into the dish.