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When I first looked through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan, I knew I wanted to have a dinner party using only recipes from the cookbook. My last party was 5 months ago so it was about time to host another. I love feeding people! It also happened to be my friend Julie’s birthday and the first birthday dinner I’ve ever cooked. It was quite a success. Fun and delicious!

Ready To Entertain

We started with gougeres and kir royales, then onion soup with gruyere croutons. individual chicken b’stillas (Moroccan pot pies) and a lemon meringue birthday cake.

Gougeres are eggy little cheese puffs. They are traditionally served with kirs, which is a drink made with creme de cassis and white wine. A kir royale is made with champagne instead of white wine. A great drink.

Gougeres

Makes about 36

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup water

8 tablespoons butter

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

5 large eggs

1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere cheese

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 425F. Line 2 baking sheets with a silicone mats or parchment paper.

Bring milk, water, butter and salt to a rapid boil over high heat. Add flour and reduce heat to medium-low and start vigorously stirring with a wooden soup. Stir for about a minute or so until the dough is very smooth.

Transfer dough to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Let dough sit for a minute. Add eggs one at a time making sure each is incorporated before adding the next. Mix the dough until it is thick and shiny. Mix in the cheese.

Drop dough onto the baking sheets in about 1 tablespoon spoonfuls. Put the baking sheet into the oven and turn the heat down to 375F.

In The Oven

Bake for 12 minutes then rotate pan. Bake another 12-15 minutes until the gougeres are golden, firm and puffed. Serve warm or cool on racks.

Cooling

The Mound of Gougeres

With a Kir Royale

For the onion soup I made gruyere toasts instead of melting the cheese over the bowls since my ovenproof bowls were all in use.

Onion Soup

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

4 lbs onions (I used about 10 small yellow onions)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

3 cloves of garlic

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 cup dry white wine

8 cups chicken stock

Bread

2 tablespoons Congac or other Brandy

1 1/2 cups Gruyere

Directions:

Cut onions length wise and slice onion into thin slices. Add oil and butter to a large dutch oven or pot and heat over low heat. When the butter is melted add onions and garlic. Season with salt. Cook onions on the lowest setting, stirring frequently until they are a deep caramel color. Be patient this can take a long time. Mine took about 2 hours. be careful not to burn them.

Cooking

Caramelized

Sprinkle with flour, stir and cook for a minute to cook away the raw taste. Pour 1/3 cup wine into the pot and stir to scrape up any brown bits sticking to the bottom of the pot. Let the wine cook away and pour the chicken stock and the rest of the wine into the pot. Season with salt. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover partially and cook for an hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste. To serve pour a teaspoon of Congac into the bowls then top with soup.

Soups Up

Slice bread and toast under the broiler until crisp. Turn over and top with grated Gruyere cheese and return to broiler until cheese is melted. You can also float the toasted bread in the bowl and top with cheese then melt under the broiler.

Soup With Croutons

Chicken B’stilla is a Moroccan dish that the French have made their own. It is essentially a chicken pot pie. There is a lot of work and time involved in this dish but it is well worth it and very impressive.

Chicken B’stilla

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

8 chicken thighs skinless (I used 6 chicken breasts instead)

2 large onions chopped

3 cloves of garlic minced

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon ground coriander

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Big pinch of saffron threads

2 1/2 cups chicken broth

3 tablespoons lemon juice

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

8 sheets of filo (9 x 14 inches)

6 tablespoons butter, melted

3 ounces sliced almonds, toasted and chopped

Cinnamon Sugar for dusting

Directions:

Stir together chicken, onions, garlic and spices in a dutch oven or other large pot. Cover and let marinate for 1 hour at room temperature .

Add chicken broth and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook for an hour.

Remove chicken from pot and set aside. Strain liquid and reserve onions. When chicken is cool enough remove meat from bones and shred or chop. Clean the pot and return the liquid back to the pot, whisk in lemon juice and bring to a boil. Cook until you have about 1 cup of liquid left in the pot. Reduce heat to low.

Beat the eggs with the honey. Pour into broth while whisking constantly until broth thickens. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

I did all this the night before and put it in the refrigerator overnight.

Mix together the chicken, onions, sauce, parsley and cilantro. Preheat oven to 400F. Place filo between waxed paper and cover with a kitchen towel. To make 1 large pie, brush a 9 x 2 inch pie pan with melted butter. Brush one sheet of filo with butter and place in the center of the pan with the excess hanging over the edge. Brush another sheet of filo with butter and place it in the pan perpendicular the other first sheet. I found it easier to handle when you place it buttered side down. Place the next two buttered sheets down to make an X . To make 6 individual servings cut the filo in half lengthwise and thirds crosswise. Place them in the ramekins like above.

Ramekins With Filo

Sprinkle the bottom of the pan or ramekins with the almonds. Add chicken mixture on top, then top with more almonds.

Filled Ramekins

Fold the excess filo over the chicken. To make the top for the pie pan, butter 4 sheets of filo and place them on top of each other. Cut out a 10 inch circle and place on top of pan. Tuck the sides in and brush with butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. to make the individual servings butter 4 sheets of filo and place on top of-each other. Place on top of ramekins and fold sides in. Butter top and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Place on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes, then lower heat to 350F and bake for 20 more minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

Chicken B'stilla

Yum!

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