How to throw a Downton Abbey party

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Celebrate the hit television show by serving up a feast inspired by the Edwardian period of British history.

How to throw a Downton Abbey party

Downton Abbey is a cultural phenomenon that has swept audiences across the world. The drama, the intrigue and the characters draw viewers in and keep them coming back time and again. So, next time Downton Abbey is on, invite some friends over, enjoy this menu inspired by the period, and eat well while you watch a magnificent drama.

First course: Salmon mousse-stuffed “truffles” with quail

A play on a famous Escoffier dish using salmon mousse instead of truffles and omitting a lot of the stuffing of things into game birds.

Yields 12 truffles

Ingredients:

  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 12 large mushroom caps with stems removed
  • 1 pound salmon, bones removed
  • 2 quail
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons apricot jam
  • 4 tablespoons heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cut the head of garlic widthwise so that the top is removed and the cloves underneath are open to the air.
  3. Spread the olive oil over the garlic.
  4. Grease 2 baking sheets with cooking spray and arrange the mushroom caps and garlic on 1.
  5. Liberally sprinkle the salmon and quail with salt and pepper on all sides. Place them on the second baking sheet.
  6. Roast the mushrooms and garlic 12 minutes, remove them, and let them cool.
  7. Bake the quail and salmon another 8 minutes and remove the salmon from the oven.
  8. Next, mix the jam with 3 tablespoons of water and brush it on the quail.
  9. Bake the quail for another 5 minutes or until the jam is dry. That should be a total of 25 minutes.
  10. Next, put the salmon in the food processor with the cream.
  11. Squeeze the garlic out of its skin and put it into the processor.
  12. Pulse until you have a mousse and shred the quail.
  13. Make the “truffles” by putting some of the mousse in the mushrooms and top them with a small pinch of quail.

Second course: Creamy chicken soup

Edwardian diners liked to have soup early on in their meal so they could eat and still have room for later courses.

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • Salt
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, skin removed
  • 6 cups broth
  • 2 cups heavy cream

Directions:

  1. In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.
  2. Once melted, add the celery, onions and a healthy pinch of salt.
  3. Saute the onions until soft, about 8 to 10 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken thighs and cook them about a minute on each side.
  5. Add the broth and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the chicken for 45 minutes.
  7. Once it’s cooked all the way through, remove the chicken from the broth and pull the meat off the bones.
  8. Put the meat back into the soup with the cream.
  9. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil.
  10. Serve when the soup is thick.

Third course: Filet mignon over potatoes with beef gravy

A typical British beef meal.

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • Salt
  • 20 tablespoons butter
  • 4 (6 ounce) filet mignon steaks
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups beef stock

Directions:

  1. Place the potatoes into a pot with well-salted water.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and boil the potatoes until they are fork tender.
  3. When the water starts to boil, melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a skillet.
  4. Liberally coat the steaks with salt and pepper and cook them 6 minutes per side in the buttered skillet.
  5. When the potatoes are done, drain them of most of the water.
  6. Mash them with 12 ounces of butter and the heavy cream until they are creamy. Leave the pot they are in on the stove over low heat while the steaks finish.
  7. Once the steaks are done, remove the steaks from the skillet and melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet.
  8. Add the flour and stir together to make a paste.
  9. Cook the paste 30 seconds and then pour in the beef broth.
  10. Stir the broth to mix in the paste and bring it to a boil.
  11. Once the broth is thick, you can serve the steaks on a bed of potatoes with gravy.

Fourth course: Tea cakes

A sweet end to another wonderful meal.

Yields 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • Serve with raspberry jam

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream the butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Mix in one-third of the dry ingredients into the wet.
  5. Once well incorporated, add the next third and stir well.
  6. Finally, add in the last third and mix.
  7. Pour into a baking sheet greased with cooking spray.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes away clean.
  9. Serve with jam.

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