With a Grateful Prayer and a Thankful Heart: Downton Abbey Meal

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Downton Abbey Meal

She knows me so well!  Visiting with my cousin, Karen, recently, she gave me a gift. I was thrilled to see it was a book titled
The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook.
by Emily Ansara Baines

While shopping during Christmas, I saw this book, leafed through it an actually put it into my cart. Then, deciding to purchase just the necessities, I reluctantly put the book back on the shelf. Karen could tell from my reaction just what a delight the gift it was to me.

As many of you, Karen and I are big fans of the British drama, Downton Abbey. I read through the pages of the cookbook and put together a small meal that might be something served during the period of the series.

The lavish meals of this Edwardian era would consist of many courses, ranging from six to 22!
Our dinner is better suited for four guests (or dinner for my sweetie and I with leftovers for another day or two)

 Cornish Game Hen is a very small domestic chicken and would had been familiar to both the aristocrats and their staff and considered a delicacy. I rather consider it a delicacy as well, since I could had bought a good size oven roaster/stuffer for the same price.  But, these tiny poultry are cute and tasty too, especially served with the pan juice reduction.

These fancy little potato bites were made by piping the mixture onto a baking sheet, drizzled with melted butter, baked and broiled until golden brown. They taste just as special as they look!

A vegetable side of asparagus is easy to prepare and pairs well with the poultry

Though the following recipes are not the ones from the book, they are very similar should you like to dine on a meal as Robert and Cora Crawley and their guests might.

Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Rosemary
recipe source: allrecipes

4 Cornish game hens
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, quartered
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 tablespoons olive oil
24 cloves garlic
1/3 cup white wine
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
4 sprigs fresh rosemary, for garnish

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F

Rub hens with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Lightly season hens with salt and pepper. Place 1 lemon wedge and 1 sprig rosemary in cavity of each hen. Arrange in a large, heavy roasting pan, and arrange garlic cloves around hens. Roast in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a mixing bowl, whisk together wine, chicken broth, and remaining 2 tablespoons of oil; pour over hens. Continue roasting about 25 minutes longer, or until hens are golden brown and juices run clear. Baste with pan juices every 10 minutes.

Transfer hens to a platter, pouring any cavity juices into the roasting pan. Tent hens with aluminum foil to keep warm. Transfer pan juices and garlic cloves to a medium saucepan and boil until liquids reduce to a sauce consistency, about 6 minutes. Cut hens in half lengthwise and arrange on plates. Spoon sauce and garlic around hens. Garnish with rosemary sprigs, and serve.

Baked Asparagus with Balsamic and Butter
recipe source: Allrecipes

1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
cooking spray
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
2. Arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet. Coat with cooking spray, and season with salt and pepper.
3. Bake asparagus 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until tender.
4. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat, and stir in soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Pour over the baked asparagus to serve.

Duchess Potatoes
recipe source: Simply Recipes

2 pounds potatoes (Yukon Golds work best), peeled and cut into chunks
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 egg yolks

Place potatoes in a medium to large pot (3 qt) and cover with a couple inches of cold water. Add a couple teaspoons of salt to the water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender (the tines of a fork easily pierce), about 20-25 minutes.

While the potatoes are boiling, melt 2 tablespoons of butter and set aside. You will use this butter to coat the potatoes right before they go in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain in a colander and put the potatoes back in the pot set over low heat. Allow them to release steam for a minute or so. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and mash the potatoes until the butter has been incorporated. Add the nutmeg, black pepper, heavy cream and continue mashing the potatoes. Once everything is incorporated, add salt to taste and the egg yolks. Continue to mash until the mixture is smooth. Do not over-mash or your potatoes will end up with a gluey consistency.

Using a piping bag with a large star point, pipe the potatoes onto a cookie sheet. Alternatively, you can just fill a casserole dish with the mashed potatoes, and use a fork to create lots of peaks on the surface. The swirled edges from the star-point piping bag forms or the peaks of mashed potatoes in a casserole dish will brown nicely in the oven. The browned parts taste great, so you want to maximize them. Whether you make piped portions or a casserole, paint the potatoes with the melted butter. Bake in the 425°F oven until nicely browned, about 20 minutes.

Karen, and her sweet daughter, Katie (who just gave birth to a precious baby boy) and me.


podso said...

A beautiful meal Lorraine! And beautifully presented. I can't believe Sunday is the end of DA for this year.

Maria said...

Love love love this!!!! I'm a huge Downton Abbey fan, and have been looking for some fun Downton recipes too! This looks fabulous, I think Mrs. Patmore would approve!! ;)

marie said...

You really should do food photography...your photos are amazing!
I'll be trying the duchess Potatos and Balsamic Asparagus very soon. Or maybe Bill will be trying them soon...now thathe's retired I've appointed him head chef!

Veronica and Daniel said...

SOOOO fun! I think it would be fun to do a meal sometime with several courses just like we always see them eating in the show...but I don't know about 22 courses! :) What a lovely dinner!

Debbie said...

Oh I loved this! The potatoes just look and sound heavenly, and I LOVE asparagus cooked that way! Yum, yum, yum, glad you shared the recipes. Enjoy your day!

Barbara F. said...

Wow, Lorraine, this is a meal fit for a Queen, your silver is stunning! Have not seen pieces like that in ages. I want to make those potatoes. You did better than the cookbook, I bet! xo


Oh wow, what a fine dinner party! I loved this and it's making me want to reproduce it one day for guests. I don't have all your gorgeous silver, but I'll do with what I have, lol! Thanks for sharing the r├ęcipes lovely lady.


Oh, and I'd love to get your book!

Debby Ray said...

Oh my...a meal fit for a Crawley to be sure! It looks SO tastey. I used to make Cornish hens quite often when my hubby and I first married...yum! Thanks for making me hungry....good thing I'm off to lunch!

Creative Design said...

Lovely post Lorraine! I'm a huge DA fan and a loyal PBS follower beginning when you only had one tv in the house and it had 3 channels, plus PBS!


Blackberry Lane said...

What a lovely gift.

Vee said...

Mildred just sent me over! Oh my! What a fun cookbook that must be. I don't know how people could eat 22 courses! It must have lasted for bours.

Blackberry Lane said...

LDH: I sent Vee here and you will like her Downtown Abbey post here: http://ahavenforvee.blogspot.com/2014/02/downton-abbey-discussion.html

Debbie Huffaker said...

Delicious....the way it's served makes it all the more special!! What a sweet friend you have!

Lorrie said...

What a fun book, and a fun event. Love the silver serving dishes - they really go with the theme!

Dayle Allen Shockley @ A Collection of Days said...

One of these days, Lorraine, I'm coming for dinner.

Ann said...

it's been ages since I've cooked cornish game hens. Those potatoes look very good. Everything just looks over the top delicious

Maryann said...

Everything looks delicious, I will be sure to try the asparagus and potatoes. What a great gift

Connie said...

What a thoughtful gift . . . you are going to have fun cooking your way through the pages :)
Happy cooking :)
Your blogging sister, Connie :)

Gypsy Heart said...

Absolutely beautiful meal! Your serving dishes are beautiful too. I think you have a lot more patience
than I do to make those potatoes. :) Such a lovely dish ~

I think Downton Abbey is the best TV series ever!


Pondside said...

I think I just heard the dressing gong! I'll slip on my evening gloves and tiara and be right down!

Red Couch Recipes said...

What a great meal. Love the Duchess Potatoes. Joni

Just a little something from Judy said...

I wish it was dinner time, and I wish I lived next door to you. Maybe, just maybe, if I shoveled all of your snow, and washed all your windows, you would invite me in for a meal like this:) You should be the next one to write and illustrate a cookbook. I am sure you would sell many. What a beautifully done meal, and so well photographed. Lovely picture of you three.

nancycreative.com said...

Everything looks so pretty! What a wonderful meal!

Cranberry Morning said...

That will give you a lot to do while waiting for Season Five to arrive this fall! What a great book. And congratulations to Karen and Katie on the sweet family addition. You'll have to check out my (last)Friday post for another Downton book you won't want to miss. It's hilarious.:-)

The Old Parsonage said...

Oh how wonderful - what a special gift!! I LOVE Downton and this meal looks yummy. I'd eat every last bite!!

Love the post about Jethro!!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

This is just beautiful. Wasn't it a stunning finale?

Cheryl said...

What a gorgeous meal! It all looks delicious, but the asparagus is making me drool!

kitty said...

What a lovely meal, Lorraine, and how thoughtful of Karen to gift you with such a wonderful cookbook. xo

Nasreen Basu said...

too good piece of information, I had come to know about your site from my friend sajid, bangalore,i have read atleast 7 posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your web-page gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new post, once again hats off to you! Thanks a lot once again, Regards, cornish hen recipe


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