Winter Supper

We had a lovely supper last weekend with friends we hadn’t seen in too long. Nutmeg in the casserole and cardamom in the cake made for a warming winter supper.

Alas, a bad choice in ice cream nearly derailed the cake. (The maker was apologetic and quick to offer restitution.) The cake achieved redemption when later paired with Sonny’s vanilla.

Chicken Noodle Casserole:

Chicken Noodle Casserole

Chicken Noodle Casserole from Cook’s Country

Use leftover roasted or poached chicken in this recipe or buy a rotisserie-cooked bird at the supermarket.

Serves 8 to 10

2 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves

Table salt
12 ounces egg noodles
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 small onion , chopped fine
1 pound white mushrooms , cleaned and sliced thin
Ground black pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cloves garlic , minced
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons dry sherry
2 cups sour cream
4 cups cubed leftover chicken
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1. For the topping: Mix melted butter, bread crumbs, Parmesan, and parsley together in bowl.

2. For the filling: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. Add 1 tablespoon salt and noodles and cook until nearly tender. Drain and set aside in colander.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cook until mushrooms begin to brown, about 7 minutes.

4. Stir in remaining 4 tablespoons butter until melted. Add flour and stir until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in broth, sherry, and sour cream, and cook, not letting mixture boil, until thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in chicken, noodles, parsley, thyme, and nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.

5. Transfer mixture to 3-quart baking dish. Top with bread-crumb mixture and bake until browned and bubbly, about 30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Serve.

Lovely local Liberty apples:

Liberty apples

The finished apple cake:

Apple cake

Upside-Down Apple Cake with Winter Spices, adapted from this recipe at Cook’s Country

Serves 8

4 Tbl. Butter
½ c. packed light brown sugar
1/8 tsp. Salt
4 firm-fleshed apples, peeled, cored and cut into ½-inch slices, for about 5 cups

½ c. sour cream
1 large egg plus 1 yolk
½ tsp. Vanilla
½ c. whole wheat pastry flour
¾ c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp. Baking powder
¼ tsp. Baking soda
¼ tsp. Salt
¾ tsp. Ground cinnamon
¾ tsp. Ground ginger
¼ tsp. Ground cardamom
8 Tbl. Unsalted butter, cut into chunks and at room temperature

1.Place oven rack in center position and preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter or spray a 9-inch cake pan.
2.Place butter in large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. When butter stops foaming, add sugar and stir to combine. Continue to cook until sugar turns dark brown, about 2 minutes, swirling pan occasionally. Add salt and apples and fold with spatula to combine. Cook, stirring often, until apples have softened slightly and juices are thickened and syrupy, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour apples into prepared pan.
3.In small bowl, whisk together ¼ c. sour cream, egg, yolk, and vanilla until well combined.
4.Place flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices in large bowl. Use electric mixer on low speed for 15 seconds to blend. Add butter and remaining ¼ c. sour cream and mix on low until dry ingredients are moistened, 1 or 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes. Add sour cream/egg mixture and beat on medium-high, scraping down sides of bowl, until batter is homogeneous and fluffy, about 1 minute.
5.Spoon batter over apples and gently spread out to thin layer that covers apples. Bake until cake is a dark golden brown and tester comes out clean when inserted in center, 35 to 40 minutes. Let pan cool on wire rack 5 minutes.
6.Place serving plate over top of pan and invert. Let cake sit inverted for about 1 minute without tapping or shaking pan. Cake will slowly detach itself. Once cake is on platter, gently remove pan. Serve warm or at room temperature with with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

A la mode:

apple cake a la mode

2 Responses to “Winter Supper”

  1. Kate Says:

    I noticed your photography keeps getting better and better. Nice post! I will make all of it.

  2. girldetective Says:

    Thanks for the kind words on the photos. I’ve been meaning to self educate myself, but in the meantime, I turn off the flash, on the macro, get as close as possible, and try not to shake.