After a lot of preparation and a two-week delay due to the Great Flood of 2016 Dinner in the Country is a wrap! We had lots of fun and I learned a thing or two about sausage-making, pepper jelly, and beurre blanc.
I made sausage! Okay, mostly I watched DeWitt make sausage. I sliced and cubed a large pork loin, then ran the cubes through a big grinder. After all the pork was ground, DeWitt added the seasonings; salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and a little dry English mustard. After it was all good and mixed we stuffed it into casings for smoking the next day.
This sausage was part of the charcuterie board that awaited guests as they arrived. Also part of the charcuterie board was a blueberry smoked salmon and a country paté, both made by DeWitt. A blueberry Stilton, Manchego, and English Cheddar rounded out the cheese selection of the board. My pickled okra and green beans completed the board.
The first course was a roasted red bell pepper soup. Red bell peppers were blackened over an open flame then sealed into a large bowl to allow the residual heat to steam them. Meanwhile, I cooked some shallots and carrots in a large pot with some butter until soft. When the peppers had steamed, I rinsed them under running water, removed the seeds and stems and chopped into small pieces. The peppers were added to the shallots and carrots to cook for a few minutes to allow the flavors to blend. A few cups of vegetable stock were added to the vegetables and brought to a boil. Then the soup was puréed in a blender and cream was added. Just before serving seasonings were adjusted and a splash of lime juice added just to brighten things up.
The second course was a cauliflower purée topped with a pan-seared scallop and two shrimp with a saffron beurre blanc. The puréed cauliflower was so light and fluffy it resembled cauliflower fluff.
An intermezzo of mint-lime sorbet was served after the seafood course as a palate cleanser.
The third course was a pork roulade stuffed with our smoked pork sausage, green and red bell peppers, shitake mushrooms and fresh peaches topped with a peach glaze. Our original recipe included chanterelles in place of the shitakes, but unfortunately the chanterelles were lost in the flood. The roulades were served with sautéd summer squash, zucchini and roasted butternut squash.
Dessert was a cobbler of blackberries topped with a buttermilk biscuit and served with a vanilla bean ice cream.
All in all, it was two great evenings of great food with new and old friends. I owe a huge THANK YOU to Sherrye and DeWitt Ginn for opening their home not only to me, but to 16 wonderful guests on top of already housing some close friends who lost their house in the flood. Sherrye and DeWitt were the consummate hosts!
Here is a great article written by Lucie Monk Carter of Country Roads Magazine about DeWitt Ginn, the new Executive Chef at Galatoire’s Bistro in Baton Rouge.