As we approach New Year’s Eve, the question on everyone’s mind is what to prepare for the festive table this December. We asked our long-time author and culinary expert Nata Brix. And the answer we got was a complete New Year’s Eve menu.
In our family there is an absolute cult of food. So in the middle of December we start to think about New Year’s menu. We try new dishes, but there are five favorites that remain on our New Year’s table year after year.
This is a good alternative to the classic baked duck. Although it is a bit fiddly to prepare, it is well worth the effort. I usually make the confit from two large, fat ducks. The result is two two-litre tins of meat, more than a kilo of duck fat, eight liters of wonderfully fragrant broth and another half kilo of lean meat for the soup.
I serve the confit with various side dishes – mashed potatoes, celery root, cauliflower, but always add red cabbage when serving. It takes a long time to stew and it needs time to soak in the spices, so it’s better to prepare it in advance.
Shred a cabbage into a large pan, add fresh cranberry juice, 3-4 cloves, 1-2 bay leaves, 5 peppercorns, a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, grated apple, a handful of fresh cranberries and stew over a low heat until tender, stirring occasionally.
To prepare mashed cauliflower, separate the cauliflower into florets, in a pot lightly fry shallots, garlic, add the cabbage, a couple of potato tubers, salt, pour water and cook for 40-50 minutes. Then drain the water, leaving some for mashing, whisk with a mixer, pour in the hot cream and whisk again.
Duck confit with stewed red cabbage
Turkey liver pâté
The liver for this must be the freshest you can find. I usually buy them at the farmer’s market. The pâté is very quick.
A kilogram of liver is cleaned of veins, washed under cold water. In a small amount of vegetable oil I fry 1-2 shallots, a small garlic clove and a couple of sprigs of thyme.
Then I add liver and stir continuously so that the liver “takes hold” evenly, add 30-40 grams of cognac or brandy, continue stirring a little more and take it off the fire. This is the most important part of making the pâté: don’t let the liver dry out and remove the heat in time, then the pâté will be tender and creamy.
Then remove the thyme sprigs and garlic (you can leave it in if you like), and use an immersion blender to puree it. Add 100g of butter, salt and pepper and whisk well.
I put the ready pâté into moulds, top it with the deep-fried sage leaves, pour in the melted butter, cool it down and put it in the fridge. It can keep for up to 10 days, but it usually doesn’t.
Turkey liver pâté
If you think this method of cooking liver pate is too calorie-dense, then you can, instead of frying raw liver just pour boiling water, let it stand for a couple of minutes, then drain the water. And don’t add butter.
Chicken liver pâté can also be made in the same way.
How to serve the pâté
As a free-standing snack, put the slices of toasted black and white bread beside it;
make a salad by dressing the leaves with olive oil and balsamic and spooning the pâté dumplings on top;
serve as an appetizer by spreading the pâté on a toasted toasted slice of bread, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, seasoned with freshly ground black pepper and grated cheese and topped with a bunch of arugula leaves.
It so happens that we only eat this gourmet salad with its special nutty aftertaste at New Year’s Eve. Because of its special flavour, korn is ideal with meat, fish, poultry, vegetables and cheeses. The only drawback is that it doesn’t last very long, so you have to use it as soon as you buy it. Also, korn needs to be prepared thoroughly: simply rinsing it under running water is not enough. It is better to leave it for a few minutes in cold water to remove any sand that may be at the base of the inflorescence. I also remove the small roots by pinching them off with my fingers. After all these manipulations, I rinse the salad again, dry it, put it in a bag and put it in the fridge until serving.
Winter salad with root
First, prepare the dressing: whip two yolks with a whisk, pouring a thin stream of vegetable oil to form an emulsion. Add mustard, salt, white pepper, and a few drops of lemon juice.
Dice the toast bread and leave to dry in the oven.
Cut the bacon into julienne strips and fry in a dry frying pan.
Mix the korn leaves quickly with the dressing, arrange on plates, add the croutons and bacon. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top.
Winter salad with root.
If you have a ready roast beef in the fridge, you can always feed not only your family but also surprise guests.
I make roast beef only from the tenderest part of the beef – the loin.
I peel the loin from foil and excess fat, cut off the “head” and “tail”, sprinkle it with salt and pepper on all sides and wrap it tightly in a few layers of foil, forming an even “sausage”. I used to shape roast beef with string and fried it on a hot pan to form a crust. When I realized that this does not affect the taste, but saves time, I stopped doing it.
An important condition: before sending the roast beef to bake, you should give it time to rest at room temperature, so it would not be cold. Then it will take only half an hour to bake it in a preheated to 180 degrees oven. Take the ready roast beef out of the oven and cover it with several layers of towel – it needs time to cool in a “comfortable environment”. After three or four hours, you can put the roast beef in the fridge or freezer.
Practice has shown that the roast beef can be frozen for future use. The main thing is to defrost it correctly afterwards, putting it in the fridge for several hours. I often put ready roast beef in the freezer and just to freeze it slightly, so it’s easier to cut it into thin slices. But the perfect slicing, of course, is on a slicer.
This is a spectacular, hearty and delicious roast beef-based appetizer.
Arrange the thin slices of roast beef in a single layer on a large platter. Prepare the sauce by blending 1 tin of tinned tuna (with juice), half a cup of mayonnaise, half a cup of 23% cream and black pepper.
Spread the sauce evenly on roast beef, top with capers (you can also chop gherkins finely) and place a hill of salad leaves or arugula alone (its mustard flavour will come in handy).
Egg liqueur with cranberries
Simple to make but the taste is amazing!
To make the liqueur, mix together in a large bowl:
8 egg yolks.
8 to 100g icing sugar
vanilla sugar packet
375g condensed milk
250 ml light rum.
Mix well, place in a water bath and cook until it thickens, stirring continuously. Then cool it down, pour it into a nice bottle and put it in the fridge. Store for a maximum of two weeks and only in the refrigerator.
Put the fresh cranberries in the bottom of a glass, pour in the egg liqueur, add two slices of the homemade biscuit, add the cranberries again and drizzle over the liqueur. Add the cranberries on top and sprinkle with icing sugar.
The dessert is convenient in that it is “assembled” just before serving, and if you don’t get around to it on New Year’s Eve, you can easily make a fresh dessert the next day.
The eggnog is great not only with cranberries but also with other berries, fruit, dry biscuits, meringues and plain ice cream.
So there you have it, the New Year’s menu:
- Corn salad with bacon
- Turkey pate appetizer
- Vitello tonnato
- Duck confit with red cabbage and mashed cauliflower
- Egg liqueur with cranberries and homemade biscuit
New Year’s Eve is an important holiday for our big family. Now that the kids have grown up and we all have halves, we only get together once a year, and that time is on New Year’s Eve. We usually sit down to dinner at eight o’clock in the evening and, after the snacks, we begin to take stock of the year that has passed. Each of us (there are 11-13 of us around the table) tells us what was wonderful last year, what made us happy, what made us sad, what dreams and achievements we had and what we will have next year. Nothing brings our family together like these long New Year’s parties and endless conversations.