Potluck Favorites is the newest addition to the popular Country Comfort cookbook series which brings the best in tradition and taste to kitchens everywhere. Each recipe has been carefully selected to highlight a variety of flavors that everyone will love. Included in the collection of over 100 recipes are these two holiday favorites for you to make and enjoy for your Christmas gatherings:
Holiday Chestnut Soup
Author’s Note: Hardly anyone cooks with chestnuts anymore. Those giant, brown beauties, when roasted, fill the air with an unmistakable fragrance during the holiday season, as Salvation Army Santas on street corners collecting money to enable less fortunate families to enjoy a Christmas dinner. Many of the holiday parties I attend also have an element of gift giving beyond that of just giving to each other. It is acceptable to ask one to bring a gift for a girl or boy, to give to the Boys and Girls Club of America or the Catholic Guardian Society, spreading the joy while passing round this delectable soup.
3 cups roasted bottled chestnuts, whole
2 cups yellow onion, chopped
3/4 cup carrot, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups chicken stock
2 tablespoons cream sherry
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground multicolored pepper
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1-1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 400°F. Roast chestnuts on a pan for 15 minutes, then remove to a large bowl and cool to room temperature. To roast chestnuts in their shell, preheat oven to 425°F. On the flat side of each chestnut, cut an X deeply into the skin. Place on a baking pan and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes. Rotate chestnuts to cook evenly. Peel as soon as they are cool enough to handle, as they will be difficult to peel once fully cooled.
Combine onion, carrot, and oil in pan; toss to coat vegetables. Bake at 400°F for 1 hour or until tender, stirring occasionally. Add to chestnuts; stir in stock and sherry. Pour half of stock mixture into a blender; blend until smooth.
Pour pureed mixture into a large soup pot. Repeat process with remaining stock mixture. Stir in salt and pepper. Simmer for 25 minutes. Beat cream until soft peaks form. Serve hot with a dollop of cream, a sprinkling of thyme, and a few cranberries.
White Chocolate Peppermint Drops
Yields approximately 80 cookies
Author’s Note: These cookies look amazing on your holiday table. The red and white of the crushed peppermint on top of the cookie is so festive.
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 ounces white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon shortening
1 (12-ounce) bag peppermint candies, finely crushed
Red food coloring, if desired
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft. Add the baking powder and beat until creamy and lighter in color. Add egg and peppermint extract. Beat in the flour in three equal amounts until combined. Add about 7 to 10 drops of the food coloring, if desired.
Roll 1-inch balls of the unchilled cookie dough. Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until cookies are firm, but not browned. Cool completely. Once cookies are cool, prepare the white chocolate. Over a double boiler, melt the white chocolate chips with shortening. Dip the tops of each cookie in the white chocolate, and then dip into the crushed peppermint candies.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Monica Musetti-Carlin holds a degree in liberal arts and is an award-winning media consultant. As a journalist, lecturer and “foodie” with over 30 years of experience in media, she continues to contribute to such publications as The New York Times, New York Magazine and many New York weeklies. Most recently, in addition to writing the Country Comfort series, she is completing several nonfiction and fictional works in progress and is looking to enhance the marketing and distribution of her recipe and craft product lines.
COUNTRY COMFORT: POTLUCK FAVORITES
Written by Monica Musetti-Carlin
Foreword by Roland A. Iadanza
978-1-57826-514-5, $12.50 paperback
978-1-57826-515-2, $9.99 ebook
Publication date 12/30/2014
New from Hatherleigh Press.
Distributed through Random House.
Available wherever books are sold.