In her book Entertaining Chic!, Claudia Taittinger, of the world-famous Taittinger Champagne family, shares her tips for hosting fabulous dinner parties with sophistication and style and reveals a riot of recipes guaranteed to impress.
2 cloves garlic
60 ml olive oil
2.5 cups Arborio rice
3 glasses champagne
2 to 3 cups hot chicken broth
2 tablespoons heavy cream
100g grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground pink peppercorns
Truffle slices, for garnish (optional)
Chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)
1. Peel and chop the shallots, and peel and halve the garlic cloves. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan and sauté the chopped shallot and the garlic. Add the rice and sauté until the grains become opaque white. Add the champagne and let evaporate.
2. Add a ladle of broth and cook, stirring continuously, until the broth is absorbed, then add another ladle. Continue until the dish has the consistency of a creamy, heavy soup (if too thick, continue to add more broth). This should take 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and discard the garlic.
3. Add the butter and stir, then add the cream, the grated Parmesan, and ground pepper. Stir to combine thoroughly. Garnish with truffle slices and chopped parsley.
BLANQUETTE DE VEAU
INGREDIENTS (For the veal)
2 cloves garlic
2 large stalks celery
2 large onions
4 whole cloves
2 white leeks
1.5 kg veal shoulder or flank, cut into 5cm pieces
2 small veal osso buco bones, optional
1 bouquet garni (a few sprigs thyme and rosemary; 2 bay leaves)
Stalks of 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1. Peel the carrots, garlic, celery stalks, shallots, and onions. Cut the onions in two and stud cloves into the onion halves. Cut the carrots, shallots, and leeks into 2.5cm pieces. Rinse the meat and bones thoroughly in cold water.
2. Put the meat in a deep pot and cover with cold water (about 3 litres). Bring to a boil, uncovered, for 1 minute and then drain the meat, rinse it under cold water, and discard the cooking water; rinse the pot. Replace the meat in the rinsed pot.
3. Add the vegetables, the bouquet garni, the parsley stalks, the sea salt, and peppercorns. Add water to cover the meat. Cook, uncovered, for at least 1.5 hours. When the meat is tender, strain the contents of the pot through a sieve set over a bowl; reserve the cooking broth.
4. Clean all the meat pieces and set aside.
For the sauce
80g unsalted butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose/plain flour
250ml heavy cream or crème fraîche
1. Wash the pot and melt the butter with the flour to make a roux. Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, for 5 minutes until the roux is pale golden.
2. Let the roux cool slightly and gradually add the reserved cooking broth. Whisk over medium heat until it thickens to a creamy consistency, then stir in the cream, add the meat, and keep warm without boiling.
12 soaked dried morels (or 400g small white button mushrooms)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Boiled potatoes, rice, or pasta, for serving
Parsley leaves, for serving
1. Drain the morels (or peel the button mushrooms) and sauté them with a knob of butter and salt in a small non-stick saucepan for about 5 minutes, until browned.
2. Peel the carrots and cut the carrots into 1.25cm rounds and place in a medium saucepan with water to cover, salt, 1 teaspoon sugar, and knob of butter. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Transfer the mushrooms and carrots to the pot with the meat and sauce, and stir in the lemon juice and a dash of grated nutmeg. Serve with boiled potatoes, rice, or pasta topped with a few parsley leaves.
GREEN PUY LENTIL SALAD
400g green Puy lentils
2 bay leaves
1 carrot, cut into 3 to 4 pieces
1 clove garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or lemon juice
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
2 tablespoons grapeseed/vegetable oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Parsley or chervil leaves, for serving
1. Rinse the lentils and place in a saucepan with 1.5 litres of cold water, salt, the bay leaves, the carrot, and the garlic. Simmer until tender but still firm in the centre, about 25 minutes.
2. Remove and discard bay leaves, garlic, and carrot pieces. Drain the lentils, rinse with cold water, and refrigerate. When you are ready to serve the salad, whisk the vinegar, mustard, and oils to make a vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Transfer the chilled lentils to a bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette. Add the shallots and parsley and toss again. Garnish with parsley or chervil.
FONDANT AU CHOCOLAT
150g unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
200g dark chocolate (60% cacao)
150g caster sugar
50g all-purpose/plain flour
Berries, for serving
Ice cream or crème fraîche, for serving
1. Butter 6 ramekins; set aside.
2. Microwave the butter for about 10 seconds, until softened. Chop the chocolate and melt in a bain-marie or double boiler.
3. In a bowl, combine the softened butter and sugar.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, alternating with the flour. Stir in the melted chocolate, pour the mixture into buttered ramekins.
5. Put the ramekins in the freezer for 1 hour.
6. Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C) and put the ramekins in the oven for exactly 20 minutes. Unmould and serve hot, decorated with berries and crème fraîche or ice cream.
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From France Today Magazine