There are only a small handful of people we know who aren’t addicted to Masterpiece Theater’s Downton Abbey, which premieres this sunday January 6th. It’s a day we’ve basically decided to deem a holiday, something we’ll partially attribute to the post-holiday deflation we’re currently feeling. Set in England in the 1910′s, this romance/drama is as appealing to the senses as AMC’s Mad Men. The show transports its viewers to a different world, which is why we called upon a few experts to create a Downton Abbey dinner menu that’s as close to a Crawley affair as we could manage. Between Food & Wine’s Ray Isle’s wine pairings and Wolfgang Puck’s Rack of Lamb, this is surely a menu for the ages. Now if only we could get a staff like the one on Downton Abbey to go with it…
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots, sliced
8 garlic cloves, sliced
1 dry ancho chile, roasted, crushed
2 scallions, thinly sliced into rounds
1 small handful of cilantro leaves
Juice of 2-3 limes
1 tablespoon honey
3 racks of lamb, chine bone removed
Salt and pepper
1 recipe of Romesco Sauce
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 dry ancho chilies, roasted, crushed
1 fresh Serrano or jalepeno chile, cored, seeded, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, diced
3 shallots, sliced
4 whole tomatoes, cut in half
1 cup tomato sauce
Large pinch of saffron threads
1 tablespoon cumin, toasted, crushed
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted, crushed
A few basil and parsley leaves
3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Juice of 1 or 2 limes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Prepare the marinade. Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet and add the shallots, garlic and ancho chile. Cook until barely golden. Remove from heat and add scallions, cilantro leaves, lime juice and honey.
2. Remove the whole ‘eye’ from the rack, reserving the rib bones, and place in a non-reactive roasting pan with the marinade. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 hours. Slice the rib bones into 7 or 8 evenly, dividing meat at the bones.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
4. Prepare the Romesco sauce: In a shallow roasting pan, combine olive oil, ancho and serano chilies, red bell pepper, shallots, garlic, tomato, tomato sauce, saffron, cumin, coriander, basil, and parsley. Roast for 40 minutes or until the tomatoes start to brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a food processor. Add the toasted almonds and lime juice. Process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. Return half of the sauce to the roasting pan and toss in the rib bones. Loosely cover with foil. Cook for 1 hour or until meat is cooked. Remove the foil cover and cook for another 10 minutes or until meat is brown.
6. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
7. Scrape the marinade off the ‘eye’. Season with salt and pepper. Sear over high heat, in a large skillet, until all sides are well browned. Transfer to a shallow roasting pan and coat with the remaining sauce. Cook for about 10 minutes until medium rare. Allow to rest before slicing into 6 equal rounds.
Place three overlapping rounds from the eye on each serving plate and arrange 3 rib bones next to the them. Serve immediately with Sautéed Baby Vegetables (see separate recipe).
For 8 Portions
Best made one day in advance.
8 large yellow onions, halved and sliced end to end ¼” wide
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 2/3 cups water
2/3 cup dry sherry
5 cups chicken broth (as little sodium as possible)
2 2/3 cups beef broth
8 sprigs fresh thyme and one bay leaf, ted together with butcher twine
Fresh ground black pepper
Place onions and butter in large casserole, season lightly with salt and place, covered, in a 400 degree oven. Remove from oven every fifteen minutes and stir. Cook until onions are a light golden brown. This should take about 1 1/2 hours.
Remove casserole and place on stove over medium heat and continue cooking, scraping the bottom regularly until onions are a deep golden brown and begin sticking to bottom of pot and form a crust.
Add half the water and cook, scraping the bottom constantly, until the water has evaporated. Add the sherry and continue cooking and scraping until sherry has evaporated.
Add the remaining liquids, thyme, a dash of salt and bring to a simmer. Continue simmering over low heat for forty minutes. Remove thyme bundle and season with salt and pepper to taste.
1 loaf French Bread
1 pound Gruyère, grated.
Toast eight ½ “ thick slices of crusty French bread until lightly golden and crusty. The slices should be large enough to fill the inside of the soup bowl. If smaller, use two slices per bowl.
Fill eight oven-proof soup bowls to ½ inch from top, making sure to distribute onions evenly between bowls. Place croutons on top, inside the edges of the bowl. Sprinkle evenly with the grated Gruyère and broil until cheese is bubbling and starts to get dark spots.
Chef Brandon McGlamery (formerly of Chez Panisse and the French Laundry) of Winter Park, FL hotspots Luma on Park and Prato makes a Pomegranate and Orange Glazed Duck that is great modern twist on a classic dish that would’ve been sure to be served on Crawley family table. Typical of an aristocratic’s dinner during World War I, a third course would always have included a game bird along with a sweet such as fruit jelly. By combining these two classic components into one, Brandon has created a sweet, spicy and salty dish that will transport you directly to the Yorkshire country side, without having to leave your dining room.
2 Fresh Ducks (gizzards, liver & neck removed)
2 Gallons Water
4 cups Soy Sauce
2 cups Pomegranate Juice
4 cups Fresh Orange Juice
2 cups Local Honey
1/2 cup julienned Orange (or Blood Orange) Zest
1/4 cup Pomegranate Seeds
2 Tblsp Diced Jalapeño
2 Tblsp Olive Oil
Instructions: Combine water, juices, soy sauce and honey in a large pot. Bring just to a boil and then simmer. Remove from heat and let cool. In a large bucket, place both ducks and pour the cooled mixture over them. Brine for 2 to 4 days. On Christmas day, remove the ducks, straining all liquidfrom them and place on a roasting rack. **** Let the ducks come to room temperature. This is very important. Season with cracked black pepper and very lightly with salt. Roast in a 200 degree oven for 3 hours. Place brining liquid on the stove and bring to a simmer, skimming as it cooks. Continue cooking until it reduces to a glaze. After an hour and a half in the oven, begin glazing the duck with a paintbrush using the simmered brining liquid. Repeat this process every 15 minutes. Combine orange zest, pomegranate seeds, jalapenos and olive oil to create acitrus salsa. Serve with the duck.
1 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
2 cups corn kernels
1 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Mix the sour cream and eggs in a bowl. Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add the sour cream and egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Add the corn and milk and mix well. Pour the batter into a 2-quart, 9-inch round buttered baking pan. Bake for 45 minutes.
Catalonian Fire Roasted Lamb Rack
2005 R Lopez de Heredia Vina Cubillo Crianza Rioja (from a great Spanish winery that was certainly doing business during the Downton Abbey era)
French Onion Soup
2010 Domaine Faiveley Mercurey Clos Rochette (you need a white with some substance for a rich, cheese-topped soup like this)
2009 Château Charmail Haut-Medoc (a good claret—the English term for Bordeaux reds—to go with your duck)
Champagne Pol Roger Demi-Sec Non-Vintage (Pol Roger has long been a favorite in England; hence their top wine, the Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill)
*To shop the Downton Abbey dinner aesthetic, Click Here
*Photo Credit: ITV Pictures