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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Scotch Dinner

We are blessed with some of the most wonderful friends.  And, once in a while we get to celebrate something really fun with some of them.  Like Mark's retirement.  Time for Scotch and dinner. 

And, you can see our furry kids really wanted to join us.  But, they know better than to come in a room where humans are eating...

Dinner was to be pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon and served with a bourbon glaze, sweet potatoes and cauliflower gratin.  Except that Connie and I didn't communicate well.  He thought I had a pork tenderloin thawed so he put the ones from the grocery into the freezer.  Then, thanks to a big project at our office that HAD to be finished, he got to the house well after we'd started the other dishes.  There was simply no time for thawing pork tenderloins.  Thank goodness for buying and freezing chicken thighs.  Those are easy to thaw.  Not quite as easy to wrap with bacon, but easier to thaw :-)  Since we were celebrating Mark's retirement with a really nice bottle of Scotch, my intent was to use Scotch (our regular brand, not the really good stuff) in the glaze.  The recipe below reflects the way I actually made the dish.  Which turned out to be a fabulous dish in spite of the substitution.  And, in spite of the fact that the bacon simply wouldn't stay on the chicken...

I wanted to do something with cranberries and apples for the sweet potatoes.  A hunt through recipes I've saved didn't bring up anything I wanted to make.  But, there was a recipe on that I could use as inspiration.  The cauliflower gratin was a recipe that I'd clipped from a magazine and tucked into an envelope of recipes to try soon.  Eons ago.  I have NO clue which magazine it came from.  I do wish they'd identify their recipes at the end of each because I really try hard to give credit as credit is due...  I'm assuming the bacon wrapped pork tenderloin/chicken is from Midwest Living.  It's credited to Chef Beth Murphy, Old Town Ale House. 

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs with Scotch Glaze


4 chicken thighs (I'd recommend removing the skin)
8 strips thick cut bacon
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1 t Chinese five spice powder
1/2 c Scotch (we use Dewar's)


Preheat your oven to 350. Par cook the bacon in an oven proof skillet just until it starts to brown.  Leave the bacon fat in the skillet.  Wrap the chicken thighs with the bacon and secure it with tooth picks.  Mix the brown sugar and Chinese five spice.  Pat the chicken thighs with the brown sugar mix.  Saute in the bacon fat until the bacon is browned.  Remove the skillet to the oven until the chicken is cooked through.

adapted from Chef Beth Murphy

Cauliflower Gratin with Almond Crust


1/4 c butter
1 head cauliflower, separated into florets
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 T flour
2 t chopped fresh thyme
1/2 t salt
1/2 c whipping cream
1 c grated Gruyere cheese
2/3 c panko
1/4 c sliced almonds
1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese


In a large skillet, melt the butter.  Add the cauliflower and onion.  Saute for about 8 minutes, then add the garlic.  Stir in the flour, thyme and salt.  Then, once the cauliflower is thoroughly coated with the flour, pour the mix into a greased casserole.  Drizzle it with the cream.  Then, top it with the Gruyere, followed by the panko, then the almonds then the Parmesan.  Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Sweet Potato and Apple Casserole with Cranberry Relish


1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced about 1/8" thick
2 apples, sliced about 18" thick (I didn't peel them)
1 12 oz package cranberries
1/2 c dark brown sugar
1/4 c orange juice concentrate
1/4 c Scotch
1 t Chinese five spice powder
1/4 c butter
1/2 c chopped pecans


In a medium saucepan, par cook the sweet potato until it is slightly softened but not mushy.  Ours took 5-8 minutes.  Drain the sweet potato.  In a casserole, layer the sweet potatoes and the apples.  I used three layers of each.  In a medium saucepan, mix the cranberries, brown sugar, OJ, Scotch and five spice powder.  Cook over medium heat until the cranberries pop.  Stir in the butter.  Once that's melted in, pour the relish over the sweet potatoes.  Top with the chopped pecans.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. 

adapted from

1 comment:

Kayte said...

Gotta love a cook who can roll with the punches and get the dinner on the table with excellent results and nary a worry. :-) Looks great, all of it.