The following is the rest of the holiday entertaining meal I started writing about last Friday. You must know by now that I’m a big soup lover. Since it is winter now, that means soup! Lots and lots of soup. Soup to warm you up after the impromptu snowball fight you had with your husband when he touched your back with his ice cold hands. Soup to fill you up when nothing else in the pantry even looks edible. Soup to serve to family and friends to let them know how much you love them. Soup is like Mom.
Soup is wonderful but then, so is bacon. Bacon with anything or alone. I love me some bacon. And what’s not to love when your appetizer is wrapped in bacon? This appetizer is a whizz to make, taking less than 10 minutes to put together and another 15 or so in the oven to cook. I’ve been making these tasty little nuggets for many years and I had to stop. Why? Because I was eating them all the time! Who needs company to serve appetizers? Not me. And these are totally Paleo, yes they are.
And for dessert? Well, Mr. Fae and I are not big dessert eaters and I don’t fix desserts unless it is the holiday. However, if we want a little something sweet after dinner, we will reach for our two favorite drinks. Bailey’s Over or Tawny Port. Just enough sweetness to satisfy and no leftovers to lure you into eating them for breakfast. True story. If there is leftover pie, it’s mine for breakfast and I blame my mother for that. She always ate leftover desserts. Always.
So, let’s get on with the food!
The list may look long but from start to finish, this takes about 35 minutes to make. You can make this ahead and refrigerate until needed. Also, the recipe calls for Bay scallops, not sea scallops. I found a package of frozen at my local store and it worked out great. Also, the fastest and easiest way to do this is to prep your ingredients; slice the leeks, the mushrooms, measure the liquids…mise en place as the saying goes. This will make the time cooking fly by. One cup of leeks using only the white part took one leek so don’t buy three or four of them for this recipe. Also, I bought the whole mushrooms not sliced mushrooms because I like to rinse mine really well. (Yes, I know you’re not supposed to put them in water, but? Look what they grow in!!!) Cook the leeks until soft in the butter and then add the mushrooms.
You can see that the leeks have cooked down in the butter and now it’s the mushroom’s turn. Once they start releasing their juice, salt and pepper them, and add the parsley. Raise the heat just until all the mushroom juice is gone.
Add the fish stock and bring to a boil, reduce the heat, partially cover this and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Grab a cup of coffee because the next part is really tricky. Remove the pan from the heat, add the scallops, cover the pan and let sit for one minute. Need another cup of coffee? Next pour the entire mixture into a strainer set over a sauce pan. You’ll want the solids and liquid but separate now.
Set aside all the scallopy goodness for the time being, we’re working on the stock now. Bring this to a low boil. Melt the remaining butter in your soup pan. Add the flour and cook for 5 minutes, stirring…don’t let it burn or brown. Once that is done, remove from the heat and begin to add the boiling stock to it. It will bubble up so be careful.
Using a wire whisk, stir this until well mixed and starts to thicken. This takes about 5 minutes. Next, whisk the eggs and cream in a separate bowl. Scoop up one cup of the hot broth and slowly add to the egg/cream mixture. This is tempering the eggs so that when they get added to the much hotter stock, the eggs wont turn into a scrambled egg mess. Once you’ve tempered the eggs, add that to the stock mixture.
And now the best part..adding back in the scallops, mushrooms, and leeks. Can you say “mmmmm good!”?
Let all of this warm together and your bisque is done!
But you really should make appetizers, now, shouldn’t you? You’ve got guests coming over and they need something to nosh on before they invade the kitchen and start nosing around for leftovers because they’re starving!
This is fast finger food at its finest. BACON!
Here is what you’ll need:
Three ingredients!! Turn your oven on to 350˚ before you start rolling these babies up. Line a sided baking sheet with foil as well. Cut each bacon strip into thirds. Stuff each date with a whole almond…
Roll a piece of bacon around it securing it with a toothpick…
and place it on the baking sheet. Bake (not broil) for about 15-17 minutes or until bacon is thoroughly cooked. Remove from the sheet and let drain on paper towels for one minute. Only one minute because now your guests are no longer in your kitchen looking for food, but are in fact eyeing your dog and deciding if Labrador Loin Chops would taste good.
Is it time for dessert yet? You betcha!
As I’ve said, Mr. Fae and I don’t really go in for desserts although we’d be the first to tell you that an occasional slice of pie is sincerely appreciated. Oooey gooey things all taste great, but we don’t seek them out. However, when a little tiny bit of ‘something’ would finish off our evening meal, this is what we will go for.
Tawny Port and Baileys. Baileys for him, port for me. Can’t go wrong. I will tell you that just not any port in a storm will do either. The older the better, starting with 20 year old and ‘tawny’ is preferred. It has a thicker viscosity than regular and tastes….wonderful!
There you have it folk, easy holiday entertaining. I hope that you try a few of these meals and let us know how you like them. Or if you’ve tweaked them and like those results. We’re always on the lookout for new things!
Here are the recipes:
courtesy of Silver Palate
- 7 tablespoons sweet butter
- 1 cup leeks, white part only, well cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound mushroom caps, cleaned, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup Italian parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 cups fish stock
- 1 pound bay scallops rinsed and patted dry
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup crushed tomatoes
- 1/3 cup sherry wine
Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a soup pot. Add the leeks and cook over low heat, covered for 20 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook gently for 5 minutes, or until they begin to render their juices. Add parsley, and season with salt and pepper. Raise heat. Cook, stirring constantly until mushroom juice has evaporated. Add the fish stock to the soup pot and simmer, partially covered for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add scallops. Let stand, covered for one minute. Pour all of this through a strainer set over a bowl, reserving both separately. Transfer cooking stock to a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Melt the remaining butter in the soup pot. Add the flour and cook over low heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not allow the flour mixture to brown. Remove from heat and pour in the boiling soup stock all at once, beating constantly with a wire whisk. The mixture will bubble furiously and then subside. Set the pot over medium heat and cook, stirring with the whisk, until the mixture has simmered for 5 minutes. Thoroughly whisk the eggs and the cream together in a small bowl. Remove soup from the heat and slowly whisk 1 cup into the egg and cream mixture. Now whisk this mixture into the remainder of the soup. Set the soup pot over low heat; stir in the crushed tomatoes and sherry. Cook, stirring constantly, until soup has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil. Finally add the scallop and leek/mushroom mixture and heat for another minute. Salt and pepper to taste.