New Year's Eve Mains

Wednesday 27 December 2017

I've never been a go out and paint the town red person on New Years Eve.  I have always been a stay at home and enjoy a nice meal and nibbles kind of a person.  Partially because through the years, whilst raising a large family, we couldn't afford to pay a sitter to come in and watch the children, and partially because my then husband always worked on New Years.  The guys with the children got Christmas off and in exchange they worked for the single guys who wanted to ring in the New Year out and about! 

I never minded really.  I've never been a party type of gal.  Instead we always just enjoyed a nice family meal and then the children and I would have a nibbles buffet and see if we could stay up long enough to rock it in with Dick Clark! 

And it really is no different now.  Todd and I are usually in bed well before midnight and then wake up when the fireworks start, wish each other a Happy One and go back to sleep.  We do like to have something really special for our dinner however and once again I am drawing from my vast collection of experiences when working at the Manor to show you several examples that might be contenders when it comes to your Happy New Year's meal.  Be it on New Year's Eve itself, or on New Year's Day!  

You cannot get much more elegant than Beef Fillet. This looks complicated, but I promise you its really quite easy and very, very tasty.

*Beef Wellington*
Serves 4 

This is a bit of a fiddle, but so worth the effort.

750g thick beef fillet (1 pound 10 ounce)
2 TBS butter, softened
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
175g chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced (6 ounces)
1 TBS chopped fresh sage
350g puff pastry, thawed if frozen (12 ounces)
1 large free range egg, beaten
salt and black pepper to taste 

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7.  Put the beef into a roasting tin.  Spread with the softened butter and season liberally with salt and black pepper.  Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then remove. 

While the beef is roasting, heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add theonion and garlic and cook, stirring, for abour 3 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Add the mushrooms and sage.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have softened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. 

Roll your pastry out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle large enough to enclose your beef completly.  Place your beef slightly off centre (So that the seam will be a the bottom of one side and not on top.  Spread the mushroom mixture over top of the meat and down the sides. Bring the long sides of the pastry over the beef to cover and seal closed with some beaten egg. Tuck the short ends over, trimming away any excess and brushing with egg to  seal.  Place on a baking tray, and brush all over with egg.  Cut two slits in the top.  Roll out the trimmings and cut some decorative shapes from them and place them on the top in a decorative manner. Brush with egg also. 

Return to the oven and roast for 40 minutes.  It should be nicely golden brown.  Let stand for about 10 minutes, then cut into thick slices to serve. 

Note - make sure the pastry is nice and chilled prior to using so that you get the butter layers puff up nicely.  If you find your pastry is browning too quickly in the oven, tent loosely with some foil.

 I've never been overly fond of duck myself, but they loved it at the Manor.  This was often served for dinner.  Its very elegant.

*Blueberry Sauced Duck Breasts*
Serves 4
Very elegant, with  delicious sauce.  Serve with a selection of your favourite vegetable accompaniments. I like butter herbed new potatoes and haricots vert. Plan ahead as the duck needs to marinate for about an hour prior to cooking. 

4 duck breasts, skin left on
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
the grated rind and juice of one orange
1 TBS chopped fresh parsley
salt and black pepper to taste
For the sauce:
150g blueberries (1 1/2 cups)
240ml Madeira (1 1/4 cups)
1 TBS red currant jelly  

Cut several shallow diagonal cuts in the toskin of the duck breasts.  Place into a glass bowl and add the garlic, orange rind and juice and the parsely.  Season to taste.  Turn the duck over in the mixture to coat thorougly, then cover and leave in the refrigerator to marinate for about an hour. 

To make the sauce, put the blueberries, Madeira and red currant jelly into a saucepan. Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 10 minutes.  Keep warm. 

Heat a large dry, non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the duck breasts, skin side down and cook for about 4 minutes without disturbing.  Turn them over and cook for a further 4 minutes or according to taste.  Remove from the heat, cover the pan and then leave to stand for about 5 minutes.

Slice the duck breasts and transfer to warmed dinner plates, spooning a portion of sauce over heach.  Serve immediately with your desired accompaniments.

My mother always did a baked Ham for New Years when I was growing up. We loved it, and we loved the homemade pea soup that would make an appearance in the ensuing days!  Did you know that a gammon is simply a ham that hasn't yet been cooked?  Serve this either hot or cold cut into thin slices with hot English Mustard on the side!

*Glazed Gammon*
Serves 6
My mother always, always did a baked ham for New Years day.  Did you know that after it is cooked, gammon becomes ham. Gammon is merely a ham that has not been cooked. 

one 4kg gammon joint (8 1/4 pound)
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
300ml dry cider (1 1/4 cups)
6 black pepper corns
1 bouquet garni
1 bay leaf
To finish:
about 50 whole cloves
4 TBS demerara sugar (turbinado) 

Put the gammon in a saucepan large enough to hold it.  Cover with cold water.  Bring to the boil. skimming off any foam and scum that rises to the top, and discarding it.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and simmer for half an hour.  Drain well and then return to a clean saucepan. Add the apple, onions, cider, bouquet garni, pepperorns, bay leaf and a few cloves.  Return to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 3 1/2 hours. 
Remove the gammon from the pan and allow to cool for several minutes. (Reserve the cooking liquid)  Using a sharp knife, loosen and then peel off the rind and discard, leaving a nice layer of fat all over.  Score the fat into diamonds with a sharp knife. Studd with the remaining cloves decoratively. 

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Place the gammon on a rack in a roasting tin.  Sprinkle with the sugar.  Roast in the oven, basting occasionally with the reserved cooking liquid, for about 20 to 25 minutes, until nicely glazed.  Serve either hot or cold, cut into slices.

Fish is also a nice option for New Years.  It cooks quickly.  Do be careful not to over cook, remembering that it will continue to cook as it stands.  The hollandaise sauce is beautifully flavoured and not as difficult to make as you would suppose, however if you are concerned, do have in a couple of jars of ready made just in case.  You could also do a blender hollandaise, which is very simple and pretty fool proof.  You can find that recipe here.

*Herbed Salmon Fillets*
Serves 4 

Tender moist salmon served with a delicious Hollandaise sauce.  Take care not to let the bottom of your bowl touch the surface of the water while you are making the Hollandaise or your egg yolks will curdle. 

4 salmon fillets, about 6 ounces each, skin removed
2 TBS olive oil
1 TBS each chopped fresh dill and snipped fresh chives
(you will need additional chives to garnish)
salt and black pepper to taste 

For the Hollandaise:
3 large free range egg yolks
1 TBS water
225g butter, cut into small cubes (1 cup)
the juice of one lemon
salt and black pepper to taste 

Preheat the grill (broiler) to medium.  Rinse the fish under cold running water and then pat dry with some paper kitchen toweling.  Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Combine the herbs and the oil in a bowl.  Brush over the presentation side of the fish.  Transfer to the grill and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, turning once and Brushing with more of the herb oil mixture, until your salmon is cooked to your taste. 

To make the hollandaise, put the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water.  (Alternately you may use a double boiler) Add the water and season to taste with salt and black pepper.  Reduce the heat until the water is barely simmering and then cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken.  Whisk in the butter, one piece at a time, until the mixture is thick and shiny.  Whisk in the lemon juice and then remove from the heat. 

Place the grilled salmon fillets, presentation side up onto each of four heated dinner plates.  Spoon the sauce over top and garnish with additional snipped chives. 

We like this with purple sprouting broccoli and baby new potatoes. 


  1. Well, Marie, you have done it again! You have planned my whole New Year's Weekend dinners, each one elegant on its own! So, Friday will be the salmon, Sunday will be the duck, and Monday (New Year's Day) will be our usual roast pork but using your recipe for ham for an interesting twist. Don't know about Saturday, yet, just something restful. Then along comes Epiphany and Dundee Cake. Isn't this season fun for feasting? I love to plan and cook like this.

    1. It certainly is the season for feasting Jo! Thanks and a very Happy New Year! xoxo

  2. P.S. We served a beef rib roast for Christmas dinner, along with roasted root vegetables. For our anniversary tomorrow night, I've planned something similar to Beef Wellington but something more like a Beef Bourguignonne under puff pastry, using a recipe from BON APPETIT (2015).

    1. Oh, I am really craving a Prime Rib. Yum. Happy Anniversary! I miss Bon Appetit magazine! xo

  3. I'm just the same about New Year's eve, and now I have the children not too feel guilty about my no-party kind! I like cooking something special for this night, that's actually the best part of it! We'll be hosting my dad's wife and she's a vegetarian so this tempting beef will not be for us, too bad!!

    1. Bummer about the beef, but I am sure you will have a nice meal no matter what! Happy New Year! xo

  4. I think I enjoyed 3 NYE parties in my life and they were by the time my daughter was married and had them.That's it.This is maybe 15 yrs ago..then children came etc. now they have adult parties :) And I am older than adult.I just want to be home:) NYV and in bed by 9-10...
    Marie it is -10 F:(

    1. WE are so much alike Monique, For us, its bed by 9-10 also. The fireworks wake us up at midnight, but not always. Brrrr . . . -10. Its a good thing you have lovely warm houses and strong furnaces to keep you warm! xo

  5. Each one yummier than the last. For the last 15 years I have spent New Year's eve with friends from my bible study group. At the beginning there were a dozen of us and we'd go out to a very nice dinner and then go back to one of our friend's apartments for dessert. Now there are just four of us -- time and tide -- and one of us is 95 and rarely goes out. We will be at her house with Chinese food and enjoy dear friendship and being together. Nothing fancy, but is there anything better than being with those you love?

    1. It sounds like a lovely way to spend a New Years Eve Carol! You are right, there is nothing better than being with the ones you love! Happy New Year! xo


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