Today's sun is the calm before the literal storm making its way toward us ~~~ just in time for the weekend. Stock up on the comfort foods and hot cocoa and wine, not to mention the rock salt and snow shovels, and be safe out there if you need to venture out. But be sure to stop in front of a window, or bundle up and go outside, to appreciate the freshly falling and fallen snow: it is a magical landscape at its freshest, and we don't get beautiful snowfalls all that often, so breathe it in and take those photos.
It's going to be a great weekend for leisurely cooking for those of you who love to do so; this week's recipe takes a little time, though it's not overly complicated, and is a wonderful way to try out Cow-a-Hen Farm's fresh guineas, or even a small fresh chicken. Whatever your tastes, pick up some provisions at tomorrow's market to slow roast or stew or barbecue for sandwiches. Delicious local apples (yes, still!) are also available, as are fresh eggs and impeccable artisan cheeses~~~
We'll be here Fridays as we almost always are, 2 to 5pm, in our indoor heated space, looking forward to talking with you and supplying you with the best of this cold season that this valley has to offer.
Warmth and blessings from us all for a cozy, healthy Winter!
This week at market:
Stone Meadow Farm:
Artisan cheeses; grass-fed beef, veal
Beef, Pork and Poultry: Freshly dressed chickens and guineas this week
Beaver Run Farms:
Pork, specialty cuts and products
Punako Lane Artisan Hearth: Will be back later in the winter
Breads, biscotti, cookies, granola, specialty baked goods, eggs
Lorson's Mushrooms: every first and third Friday
Specialty mushrooms, including oyster and cremini
Orchard Breeze Farm:
Apples, turnips, apple butter and jams, fresh eggs, homemade breads and rolls
Roasted Guinea Hens with Whole-Grain Mustard and Herbs
Adapted from http://epicurious.com
Recipe by Daniel Boulud, Gourmet, October 2000
This recipe is for two 2 1/2 to 3 pound guineas, but can be halved if you're cooking for 2. You can also substitute small local chickens for the guineas. Read through it: it's less complicated than it appears at first glance, requiring a few steps (some of which can be done ahead of time), but yielding a deliciously roasted bird as a result. Enjoy!
8 garlic cloves, each halved lengthwise and germ removed if green
1 lb fingerling potatoes or small boiling potatoes
1 bay leaf (not California)
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
2 (2 1/2-lb) guinea hens or 2 (2 1/2- to 3-lb) free-range chickens
4 large sprigs fresh thyme, leaves and stems separated
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
6 medium shallots (1/2 lb), lobes separated if necessary
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 sprigs fresh tarragon, leaves and stems separated
4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley, leaves and stems separated
Cook garlic and potatoes:
Fill a 3-quart saucepan halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add garlic and simmer 5 minutes. Remove garlic with a slotted spoon and reserve. Add potatoes to water with bay leaf and salt to taste, then simmer, covered, 10 minutes (potatoes will not be fully cooked). Cool potatoes in hot water, uncovered, then drain and peel.
Make mustard butter and prepare hens while potatoes are cooling:
Put a 17- by 11-inch roasting pan in middle of oven and preheat oven to 425°F.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter and set aside. Mash together mustard, chives, remaining 5 tablespoons butter, and salt and pepper to taste. Reserve 1 tablespoon mustard butter for sauce.
Remove excess fat from cavities and necks, then rinse hens and pat dry. Run your finger between skin and flesh of breast and legs of each hen to loosen skin (outsides of thighs are easier to access from neck end). Push mustard butter under skin and massage skin from outside to spread butter evenly over breast and legs. Season hens inside and out with salt and pepper and put half of herb stems in cavity of each bird. Tie legs together with kitchen string and close cavity with toothpicks.
Brush melted butter over hens.
Remove roasting pan from oven and add oil, tilting to coat. Put hens in pan, breast sides up, and scatter potatoes and shallots around them. Roast hens, basting every 10 minutes with a brush and turning vegetables, 30 minutes. Scatter reserved garlic and thyme leaves around hens and roast, basting frequently and turning vegetables, until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of a thigh (without touching bone) registers 170°F and vegetables are tender, 20 to 30 minutes more (30 to 40 minutes more for chickens). Discard string and toothpicks from hens and transfer hens to a platter. Surround with vegetables and keep warm, loosely covered, while making sauce.
Skim fat from pan juices and add chicken broth, then deglaze by boiling, scraping up brown bits, until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Pour sauce through a sieve into a sauceboat and stir in reserved tablespoon mustard butter with salt and pepper to taste.
Chop tarragon and parsley leaves and scatter over hens and vegetables. Serve with sauce.
Garlic and potatoes can be cooked 1 day ahead and chilled, covered (peel potatoes before chilling).
Mustard butter can be prepared 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring to room temperature before using.
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