In Maria and Charlie’s bright and functional kitchen personal chef Kim Hersom and New England Living TV host Parker Kelley chop, cook, sauté a meal of comfort for the dinner guests. The menu includes Beef Tenderloin, Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Crema, Smoked Trout with Picked Shallots on Pumpernickel Toast, Pommes Anna, and Creamed Spinach.
You do not have to love mushrooms to enjoy this classic. The porcini rub adds a rich, earthy depth of flavor to the tenderloin.
1 once dried porcini
2 tbs fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Combine dried mushrooms, rosemary and peppercorns in a spice grinder and grind to course powder. Salt the tenderloin liberally, rub with olive oil and coat all over with porcini-rosemary mixture.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Place tenderloin in pan and sear to create a nice brown crust all over (approximately 10 minutes).
4. Transfer to a large roasting pan. Roast in oven until thermometer inserted into thickest part reads 125 degrees (approximately 30 minutes for medium rare). Remove from oven and transfer to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes.
4. Carve beef in 1/4-inch slices.
Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Crema
This is a fantastic autumn or winter Soup, which is rich, elegant and gluten- and vegetarian-friendly—making it great for a dinner party.
2 1/2 lbs (8 cups) peeled, chopped and seeded squash
1 large onion peeled and chopped
2 shallots peeled and sliced
2 leeks sliced (white and pale green parts only)
2 carrots chopped
2 ribs celery chopped
2 Tbs butter
4 tbs olive oil
1 cup apple cider, or and an apple, peeled, cored and chopped (or both)
Few sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary
Salt and pepper
Suggestions: maple syrup, brown sugar, zest of orange or clementine, and a pinch of cayenne.
For Sage Crema
12-14 fresh sage leaves removed from their stems
3/4 cup crème fraîche or heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. In a large bowl, toss squash, salt, pepper and olive oil and mix to coat. Divide squash between two baking sheets in a single layer. Roast for 15 minutes, turn the squash and reverse pans. Roast until tender (approximately 5 more minutes).
3. While the squash is roasting, get on with the soup base. Melt the butter in a heavy large saucepan. Add onion, shallots, leeks, carrots and herbs. Sauté until slightly softened and fragrant (about 15 minutes).
4. Add roasted squash, cider or apples, vegetable stock and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly before proceeding. Remove herbs at this point.
5. Working in batches, purée soup in blender and process until smooth. Return soup to the saucepan. This is s good time to add my flavor suggestions such as maple syrup, zest of clementine, orange or cayenne. Adjust seasoning with course salt and pepper to taste.
1. In a small sauce pan, heat crème fraîche and sage leaves to a simmer. Do not boil. Remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes. Pour into a blender and process until smooth.
2. Heat soup in saucepan over medium-high heat. Divide soup among 8 bowls, drizzle sage crema in the center and garnish with additional herbs (thyme sprigs, rosemary or best sage leaves).
Serving Tip: during the colder months, I am a true believer in warming my bowls and plates in the oven set on low heat (250 degrees). This with ensure the dish you are serving your guests is a the best temperature. The opposite works for those hot summer months—chill your cold dishes for crudo, salads, and chilled soups.
Smoked Trout with Picked Shallots on Pumpernickel Toast
This is a great starter and can be done a day ahead, which allows the flavors to mellow and develop.
1/2 smoked wild trout
2/3 cup sour cream or crème fraîche
Juice and zest of one lemon
A dab of good quality Dijon mustard (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chive
Tablespoon small capers (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Remove the skin from the trout fillet and discard. Flake the fish into a bowl using two forks—or your best tool your clean hands!
2. Add the rest of ingredients and mix gently, taste to adjust seasoning. Chill until ready to serve.
3. Put into a serving bowl and sprinkle with additional chives or picked shallots. Serve with toasted pumpernickel, crostini, or crackers.
For picked shallots
Two shallots peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
Pinch of salt, sugar and a few twists of fresh cracked black pepper
1. Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and let sit at room temperature for an hour or so allowing the flavors to absorb and soften the shallots.
2. Drain liquid from the shallots and place on top of trout mixture.
1/2 cup olive oil or 1/2 cup melted butter (Butter gives the dish a nice brown color. If you don’t want to use too much butter, just brush the muffin tin with butter and use olive oil for the rest.)
1 1/2 lbs or about 8 small to medium Yukon gold potatoes
2 cloves garlic crushed
12 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Generous amounts of salt and fresh black pepper
Equipment: I prefer using a mandolin to slice the potatoes and thinly and uniformly as possible
Medium sized muffin tins lined with small pieces of parchment paper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Brush each muffin tube with melted butter, place a small square of parchment in each, then place 1 thyme sprig in each (this will ultimately be the top after its inverted). Set aside.
3. Thinly slice potatoes using a sharp chefs knife or a mandolin. Place in large bowl and add the olive oil and butter, remaining thyme and the crushed garlic, season well with salt and pepper and toss well to coat.
4. Layer potato slices, overlapping slices to maintain a circular pattern – continue until the muffin cup is filled to the top and press down. Cover the tin with foil. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife.
5. Line a second baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
6. Remove foil from muffin tin and invert tin onto the prepared sheet – you may have to bang it s little to loosen the stacks of potatoes. The small parchment squares are to remain on top for now.
7. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Bake for an additional 15 minutes. Remove small piece of parchment but keep the sprig of thyme on top for a pretty presentation and serve!
6 Tablespoons butter
1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
16 oz bag fresh spinach (not baby spinach), chopped
1. Cook spinach in a large bit of salted boiling water until just wilted. Approximately 1-2 minutes. Drain. Shock in a bowl of iced water to preserve green color and stop cooking process. Drain well and roll up in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until tender, approximately 6 minutes. Turn heat down to low and add heavy cream and simmer at low heat for 2 minutes to combine flavors, season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat.
4. Combine both the sauce and the spinach in a bowl and then transfer to an oven proof serving dish and sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over the top. Bake for 12 minutes.