Christmas victuals…

After we opened our presents and cleaned up all the pretty paper and bows, Bill got to work on making dinner. He had plans to sous vide a couple of Cornish hens stuffed with wild rice and clementine dressing, using the Anova Precision Cooker I got for him a few years ago. Accompanying our hens would be mashed potatoes, peas, and homemade cloverleaf rolls. For dessert, we had the trifle Bill prepared on Friday. Of course, there would also be plenty of wine, music, and canine company.

The sous vide process took about four hours, and involved sealing the chickens in special bags, which Bill found under the tree yesterday, along with a handy stand for the precision cooker when he’s not using it. After four hours at 150 degrees, Bill would put the hens in the oven to broil, so the skin might crisp.

I think I prefer the baking or broiling method of cooking Cornish game hens. But Bill only uses the precision cooker for steaks, most of the time, so he really wanted to try this method. Supposedly, it keeps the meat from getting too dry.

The end result of Bill’s experiment turned out to be basically okay, except I thought my hen was a little underdone. A little more time in the oven quickly fixed that issue, and I’m perfectly well today, so I obviously didn’t get sick from eating underdone chicken. I do think the chicken stayed moist and flavorful, but the glaze Bill used got a little too brown. I guess I’m a purist when it comes to these things. We also enjoyed a couple of nice Italian wines we purchased through Sommelier’s Choice, an Italian purveyor. A representative is in the wine group I run.

I think my favorite part of the meal were the rolls, which were perfect. I’m proud to report that I taught Bill how to make rolls. When we met, he could cook only a few things. Now, he’s become a real chef. Or, at least in our house, he’s a chef. I seem to have retired from cooking. I used to be pretty good at it, back in the day. I also loved the dessert, although I didn’t come close to finishing it! We have leftovers.

We used the good china and silverware, which we probably ought to break out more often. We also lit candles and a fire, which made the living room look cozy. However, curiously, I neglected to wash the tablecloth. It got a good cleaning this morning.

I got Bill a fondue and raclette grill for Christmas. I did hesitate on that, since I don’t eat a lot of cheese. I do like very specific kinds of cheeses– they have to be mild and melted (it’s a texture issue). If you go to Switzerland for raclette, the whole restaurant smells like ass. I do enjoy fondue, though, and would probably love raclette made with cheese that smells less like ass or a barnyard. Maybe we’ll have a chance to try it today.

I bought Bill a fondue cookbook, as well as a really beautiful cookbook with Alpine recipes, featuring Austrian, Swiss, French, and Italian favorites. Actually, I went a bit nuts on cookbooks, just like I always do. There were SIX of them under the tree! I just couldn’t just pick one or two. I buy them, but we don’t use them very often. I just like to have them around. Some of them are genuinely fascinating. For instance, a few years ago, I bought Bill a copy of The Flavor Bible. He loves it, because it offers a scientific look at cooking. Anyway, now we’re going to need another bookshelf.

I would count this year’s Christmas as one of the better ones. Bill got to talk to his daughter on Skype, and he got to see his cute grandchildren… especially his granddaughter, who is apparently quite a ham. And his daughter is expecting another baby in 2022. Bill told me that when he was talking to her, it felt like everything in the world was alright. That’s a wonderful way to feel, especially in these troubled Corona times.

Below are some pictures from our Christmas dinner…

I hope you all had a nice holiday meal! I look forward to 2022… and some exciting new travels.


3 thoughts on “Christmas victuals…

  1. Hi, knotty!
    It sure looks as though you had a great Christmas meal! And wow, Cornish hens. My mom used to make those. She preferred to make roast Cornish hens instead of turkey for either Christmas or Thanksgiving. More flavorful, she always said.

    Here in Lithia, Florida we had a great Christmas feast. This time around the lady of the house made a meat dish – ribeye something…I didn’t pay attention to the specific cut of meat while we were in Publix cos my mind was on getting my second Moderna shot. We also had:

    Wild rice
    Homemade scalloped potatoes
    Green bean casserole
    Pumpkin pie
    Apple pie

    There was Italian sparkling wine (not champagne, but I’m too sleepy to remember the name). I didn’t partake; I stuck to my 12-oz. can of Coca-Cola.

    Happy holidays! Can’t wait to see what you write about on New Year’s!

    • Thanks, Alex. I think game hens are better when you have a small household. Turkey is too much for the two of us,and would never fit in our oven anyway.

      Sounds like you have a lovely dinner! I love rib-eyes.

      • re Cornish hens: Yep. That was one reason that my mom cited when she cooked them for Thanksgiving. My half-sister worked as a nurse from the late 1970s to 2014, and because she preferred to take Christmas Eve/Christmas Day off rather than Thanksgiving, she was (thankfully, in retrospect) rarely present for the November holiday. And Mom preferred the taste of game hens to that of turkey.

        We did, indeed, have a good Christmas Eve meal. The ribeye was delicious. That’s what we had for dinner last night, too. There were plenty of leftovers.

        Great post, my friend.

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