Hashing out the Holidays

17 Dec

Capote

We’re not sure where we get our delusion of grandeur, but for New Year’s parties, our thoughts turn to Gatsby era ideals: buttery oyster toast or oysters Rockefeller and plenty of bubbly.

And there’s always Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball favourite, chicken hash. Served as a midnight supper, this would look rather smashing served in a silver chafing dish.

PLAZA CHICKEN HASH
4 cups finely diced cooked chicken (white meat only)
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup cream sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 cup dry Sherry
1/2 cup Hollandaise Sauce
Mix chicken, cream, Cream Sauce and seasonings in a heavy skillet. Cook over moderate heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes.
When moisture is slightly reduced, place skillet in a moderate oven, 350 degrees, and bake 30 minutes.
Stir in Sherry and return to oven for 10 minutes. Lightly fold in Hollandaise Sauce and serve at once.
Makes 4-5 servings.
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BOBBY SHORT’S CARLYLE CHICKEN HASH

Recipe adapted from James Sakatos of the Café Carlyle.

One 3-to-4-pound kosher chicken Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup medium-dry sherry 1 cup heavy cream 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth 1/2 teaspoon truffle oil (optional) 4 ounces duck-liver mousse (optional) Slices of white bread, toasted, for serving.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and roast until its juices run clear, 60 to 70 minutes. Let cool. Remove the skin and meat from the bones. Cut the breast meat into cubes. Shred the thigh and leg meat and, if feeling very uptown, reserve for another use. Otherwise, use along with breast meat.

In a large saucepan, reduce the sherry by half over high heat. Add the cream, chicken broth and truffle oil, if using, and boil over high heat, stirring constantly, to reduce by half again, about 10 minutes.

Add the chicken meat and blobs of the duck-liver mousse, if using, to the reduction and bring to a light simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with toast points.

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BOB HOPE’S FAVOURITE CHICKEN HASH

2 chicken breasts, broiled 2 slices bacon, crisply fried and crumbled 1/2 small onion, chopped Salt and pepper to taste 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice 2 tablespoons butter 1 teaspoon dry sherry 2 tablespoons sour cream

Cut chicken into thin strips. Combine chicken, bacon, onion, salt, pepper, lemon juice and butter in skillet. Cook until onion is tender. Stir in sherry and sour cream. Cook just until heated. Serve immediately.

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OYSTER TOAST

Bruise one small anchovy fine and take two dozen oysters and cast off their beards. Chop the oysters fine with a silver knife and put with the anchovy in the chafing dish. Mix both together with sufficient cream to give it a pleasing consistency. Heat well, stirring all the time. Have ready some buttered toast, and serve the hot oysters on these rounds. Eat in solemn silence, and wash down with brown sherry.”

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CREAMED MUSHROOMS ON CHIVE BUTTER TOAST
Adapted from Melissa Clark, New York Times, 5/16/07

1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, or a mix of wild mushrooms such as morels, shiitakes, oysters or chanterellas
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, more for toast
1 large or 2 small shallots, chopped
2 tablespoons dry white wine or white vermouth
1/4 cup heavy cream
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Slices brioche or good white bread, crusts cut off if desired
1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives
Coarse sea salt such as fleur de sel or Maldon, for garnish

Clean excess dirt from mushrooms. Slice mushrooms in half lengthwise and brush away any grit; chop into 1/4-inch pieces.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until very limp, about three minutes. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, for about five minutes. Add wine, reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for about five minutes more. (There are a lot of “abouts” on the cooking times because I found that mine took less time at each step; however, I also may have chopped my mushrooms and shallots smaller than the recommended size.)

Uncover pot and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about two minutes. Stir in cream; simmer until slightly thickened, two minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toast bread and spread with butter. (Clark recommended four slices of brioche, to make eight toasts, but I had enough mushrooms for almost triple that.) Cut each slice in half diagonally and sprinkle lightly with chives. Top each toast triangle with some mushroom mixture. Sprinkle with additional chives, garnish with sea salt, and serve.

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