As restaurants are still closed at the moment, we’re trying to put together our own special Christmas menu to brighten up the holiday season, even if we won’t have our usual Christmas markets, parties or other festivities.
Once again, the first day of Advent has marked the start of that special time of year. Whereas in previous years we’ve spent these weeks leading up to Christmas in shops buying gifts, dashing from one Christmas party to the next and visiting various Christmas markets, this year is very different.
Maybe it’s a good opportunity to get back to basics and to distract yourself from the anticipation by cooking your own Christmas menu? Award-winning chef Lukas Kienbauer, based in Schärding in Austria, has just had to close his restaurant again because of the coronavirus pandemic. He would normally have been serving up trout cooked on a salt stone, duck breast and white chocolate espuma during the Christmas season.
We would have loved nothing more than to brighten up the pre-Christmas evenings with his regional and seasonal cuisine for dinner, which is why we asked him for some recipes, so that we can try them at home for ourselves until all the restaurants are allowed to open their doors again.
Another tip for anyone who is still hunting for presents: give vouchers for your favourite local restaurant! Like many restaurateurs, Lukas Kienbauer is offering vouchers that you can buy directly online via his restaurant’s website. And if you’re not so keen on giving vouchers at Christmas, the restaurateur has also set up an online shop, Lukas Delicatessen, where you will find everything you need for the perfect gourmet dinner: from spices and sauces to honey, flavoured syrups and complete gift boxes.
It’s a way you can support your favourite local restaurant and also give a gift that looks forward to the time when businesses are able to open up again.
But until then, we’ll have to get by with our own culinary skills and have a go at the three-course menu devised by Lukas Kienbauer:
Starter: Trout cooked on salt stone. Sauerkraut. Dill. Mustard
Serves 4 people:
4 trout fillets, skin-on, boneless 2 salt stones, 10 x 20 cm
Heat the salt stones to 90°C. Place the trout fillets on the hot stones, skin side down. After 5 minutes, turn them over and leave for 1 minute.
Remove the skin and serve.
1 kg white cabbage, finely sliced 20 g salt 10 g sugar Caraway seeds Juniper berries Bay leaves
Mix everything together and knead well until juices start to be released. Leave to stand for half an hour, then press firmly into a fermenting container or a Kilner jar. Leave at room temperature for at least 3 weeks.
Warm the oil to between 50°C and 60°C, mix with the dill and pass through a fine sieve. Cool down on ice immediately.
100 g sauerkraut juice 100 g cream Salt Sugar Chilli powder Dill oil
Bring the sauerkraut juice and cream to the boil and add the other seasonings. Finally, add the dill oil to taste. Do not stir: the oil and sauce should not emulsify.
50 g cider vinegar 50 g water 50 g sugar 1 tbsp mustard seeds
Boil all the ingredients together for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to stand.
Dill Herbs and edible flowers Thin crostini
Chop the sauerkraut and arrange in the bottom of a deep plate. Place the trout on top. Add the dill, mustard seeds, herbs, crostini and flowers on top of the trout. Pour the sauce all around.
Main course: Duck breast. Red wine butter. Celeriac
4 duck breasts Salt
Salt the duck breasts and place skin-side down in a dry, non-stick pan. Fry on a medium heat until the skin is crispy and the duck is almost done. Then turn it over and finish cooking until pink. Allow to rest for a few minutes, then slice.
12 cubes of celeriac (approx. 3 x 3 cm) 100 g water 100 g cider vinegar 100 g sugar
Boil the celeriac with the other ingredients until tender.
100 g browned butter 250 g celeriac, peeled and roughly chopped 400 g milk Salt A pinch of sugar Juice of half a lemon
Duck breast by Lukas Kienbauer from “Silvia kocht” (Silvia cooks), Monday to Friday at 2 pm on channel ORF 2 – Credit: Simeon Baker
Sweat the celeriac in half the butter without browning, then deglaze with milk. Cook until soft, by which time the milk should have reduced down almost completely. Blend to a fine puree with the remaining butter. Season with salt, sugar and a little lemon juice.
Red wine spiced butter:
150 g port 150 g red wine 1 clove ½ vanilla pod, split and de-seeded ½ stick of cinnamon 100 g cold butter, cubed Salt Sugar
Simmer the port and red wine with the spices until reduced to a third of its original volume. Strain, reheat and gradually stir in the cubes of butter. Season to taste with salt and sugar.
Course sea salt (fleur de sel or Maldon salt) Edible flowers
Place the duck breast in the centre of the plate and season with the coarse salt. Arrange the celeriac pieces and the puree decoratively around it. Pour the sauce around everything and garnish with the flowers.
Dessert: White chocolate. Mulled wine
200 g milk 20 g honey 150 g white chocolate 80 g cream
Bring the milk to the boil with the honey, remove from the heat then stir in the chocolate. After that, add the cream, pour into a whipping siphon (Isi) and screw on one or two chargers, depending on the desired consistency. Then chill for at least 3 hours.
Baked white chocolate:
100 g white chocolate
Roughly chop the chocolate, place on a tray lined with baking parchment and bake in the oven at 160°C for 5 to 10 minutes until the chocolate caramelises.
Mulled wine granita:
300 ml mulled wine of your choice (consisting of red wine, sugar, spices such as clove, cinnamon, vanilla and cardamon) Pour the mulled wine into a shallow container and freeze. Scrape the frozen block with a fork to create a granita consistency.
Chocolate espuma by Lukas Kienbauer from “Silvia kocht” (Silvia cooks), Monday to Friday at 2 pm on channel ORF 2 – Credit: Simeon Baker
Squirt the chocolate espuma into a glass or a cup, cover with a tablespoon of granita and garnish with the baked chocolate and flowers.
We hope you have great fun cooking, and enjoy the run-up to Christmas!
If you make these recipes, we’d love to see them: please feel free to share your finished dishes and tag us with @hoglshoes on Instagram.