I love Christmas. I love the food, the decorations, the music. I love spending time with friends and family, love the way strangers on the street smile and wish me a Merry Christmas, and did I mention the food?
It's a joyful time, certainly, but it doesn't leave you with a lot of free time! Like many of you, I lead a busy life. Too often, the only time I have to read is just before bedtime. And I barely manage fifteen minutes before my eyes refuse to stay open any more.
But the week between Christmas and New Year... ah, that's my time. That's when I settle into my favorite comfy chair with my eggnog and read. This year, I have a grand selection to choose from, just from among my fellow Carina authors. I recently bought an e-reader and have downloaded a number of Carina mystery and suspense titles to keep me happy over the Christmas break. Good food and good books--does it get any better?
Now I'd like to know what you do over the Christmas break. Is the time filled with frenzied activity? Do you hunker down and stay warm?
Before I go, I'd like to give you a final gift, Dear Reader. This is a traditional French-Canadian recipe that IS Christmas to me. (Did I mention that I like food?) I hope you enjoy it, too. The quantities will vary according to the size of pot you have. Use a heavy pot with a lid. This dish is easy and delicious, but definitely not for vegetarians.
You will need:
- Chicken, veal, pork, rabbit, moose (any kind of meat your prefer) cut into one-inch cubes NOTE: you will be limited by the size of your pot
- Peeled and sliced potatoes - 1/4-inch thickness
- Peeled and sliced onions - 1/4-inch thickness
- Salt, pepper, spices to taste
- Chicken or beef broth (your preference)
- Pastry -- enough to cover the top and also to use in between layers (I use the ready-made stuff from the store)
Ready? Okay. Now, place a layer of potatoes on the bottom of your pot, followed by a layer of onions, then a layer of been (or chicken, or veal...). Season with salt and pepper and any spices you favour. Then add one-inch-wide strips of pastry in a criss-cross pattern. Repeat the layers with a different kind of meat until you are near the top of your pot. Don't forget to season as you go along. When you're close to the top, pour in about a cup of broth. Then cover everything with a solid layer of pastry, with slits for venting. Cover with the lid.
Cook at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for four to five hours. Check every hour or so. If it looks too dry, add some broth.