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Sunday Roast

Ahhh Sunday Roast.  A time for friends and family to gather over a hearty, savoury, home-cooked, and lovingly prepared meal on the last day of the weekend to relax and catch up and recollect before a new week begins.  My family is like most others in the city in this day and age… we’re busy, overstressed and wouldn’t slow down and spend time together unless we made excuses to do so.  My brother and sister in law live only a 30 minute drive away and yet it’s like they’re in a whole world apart, living their lives off in the distance with intermittent contact with mom, dad and little sister (me).  So I instated the institution of Sunday Roast within the family, as it combines my love of cooking and baking for my friends and family, and my love of spending time with them on the official day o’ rest.  It’s such a quaint, lovely old fashioned tradition, who wouldn’t want to have Sunday Roast every week!

(Note: Many people I use the phrase “Sunday Roast” in front of seem to be slightly confused about the concept;  the term “Roast” is used loosely here, in a general, generic form to simply mean a hearty, slow cooked, savory meal that doesn’t necessarily include roasted meat….  Maybe it’s a British thing?)

So my brother and sister in law just returned from their very first trip to Europe, and needless to say the p and m and I are quite excited to hear all about it and see their pictures.  This Sunday’s Roast is our opportunity to do so!

As my sister in law, Sara, doesn’t eat red meat, I decided to go with a Chicken dish… and what better than my very favourite; Ina Garten’s recipe for Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic!  I swear you would barely know there’s even any Garlic in it at all, let alone 40 cloves… honest!!  I adore this recipe because the Chicken comes out tender and moist and is served in an absolutely devine creamy, herby sauce.  I highly recommend it!!

With the Chicken (I’m already drooling in anticipation…) I plan on making Potatoes Boulangere… which is essentially the same as Potatoes au Gratin in that it’s a baked dish with layers of thinly sliced Potatoes and Onions… however without the Cream and Cheese….  For every potato in the world there is surely one more recipe for Potatoes Boulanagere, and it can be quite difficult to choose just one recipe out of the sea of them on Google… but the one I’ve made is extremely simple: Potatoes, Onions, Chicken Stock/Broth, Butter, Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg.  Other recipes I’ve seen include herbs, creme, milk, etc.  My recipe of choice’s simplicity is deceptive;  make no mistake that it packs a wallop of flavour despite it’s short list of ingredients!  Be wise, though, when selecting a broth…. the flavour of the dish is all about the broth.

As my brother, Matt, is a total baby about consuming anything with Onions, I’m tempted to opt for Mashed Potatoes instead, but we’ll see.  (Imagine; nearly 30 and still squeamish as ever about eating something like Onions!  I was so hoping he would grow out of it…. I think I’m out of luck on that one…)

For the vegetables I made roasted Brussels Sprouts last time, as the Chicken and Potatoes were quite moist and saucy.  It was good to have the contrast of the dry-ish (not dried-out, mind you) Sprouts, which rounded the meal out very nicely.  Unfortunately, however…. my family isn’t entirely keen on Sprouts… Boo.  I thought maybe roasted Root Vegetables… but alas, my dad hates Parsnips.  (How anybody could hate Parsnips is beyond me… they’re one of my all-time favourite vegetables…)  I’m thinking of maybe roasting some Carrots and steaming some Peas and then tossing them in a dish toegether at the last minute?  I dunno, we’ll see.

And last, but certainly not least; for dessert– Cherry Clafouti!!  Okay, now if you’ve never had a Cherry Clafouti… drop everything immediately and go out and get the ingredients to make yourself one.  Seriously.  Right now.  Before it turns cold and you can’t get decent Cherries any more, find a farmer’s market and pick some up for Heaven’s sake!  This is one of the best desserts ever.  (Note: The link above gives a little bit of background on the dessert as well as the recipe that I like to use, and photos.  I do not, in fact, use a cast iron skillet to prepare my Clafouti, as all of mine have been used to prepare meats and fish… and if you’re unaware… cast iron has flavour memory, and needless to say; I do not want my desserts tasting like last week’s blackened Halibut.  So until I buy a new, separate cast iron skillet set aside solely for the purpose of non-savoury dishes…. it’s the spring form pan for me!)

Clafouti (kla-foo-TEE) is a traditional dessert from the Limousin region of France during the peak cherry season and is often served as a breakfast dish. In France, the dish is often made without pitting the cherries because the pits are thought to enhance the flavor of the batter with a perfume faintly reminiscent of almonds. Whole cherries are also less likely to bleed into the batter.

Essentially Cherry Clafouti is like a big, creamy, custardy, rich pancake filled with beautiful fresh ripe Cherries and topped with Confectioners’ Sugar.  It’s not too sweet, it’s lovely and flavourful and my family ate the entire thing in about ten minutes.  (They don’t usually do that sort of thing, so… that’s saying something.)  You can also make the dish with fruits other than Cherries, like Apples and Plums and Figs and Pears and Blueberries, etc.  I don’t even usually like Cherry desserts, or Custards… but this is just phenomenal.  I like to whip up a fresh batch of home made Whipped Cream to dallop on top of this bad boy after it’s been cut up and dished out.  Yum.  : )

Cherry Clafouti

Cherry Clafouti

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