Previously: Into the Woods, Part 1
I love this picture because it shows what our little group is all about -- lots of laughs around the dinner table, something tasty on our plates and in the glasses (Forest Brownie and tawny port in this case), and we're all a little bit fuzzy around the edges at this point in a long and decadent evening.
The first Into the Woods Supper Club post whetted our appetites with a focus on the drinks and appetizer course at our recent dinner. Today we’ll pig out with details, recipes and photos of the main course and dessert, pun most definitely intended.
Drinks: Ilise and Ann - Cocktails: The Tawny Forest; Green Gimlet; Wines: Merry Edwards Pinot Noir Meredith Estate 2008; Landmark Chardonnay Overlook 2012; a Stag's Leap Viognier; and a Renwood Old Vines Zinfandel
Appetizer: Ellyn - Little Nosh of Cheese, Bread and Smoked Whitefish Salad; Mushroom-Leek Soup with Thyme Cream
Main Course: Greg and Dan
- Braised Wild Boar in Red Wine
- Mushroom-Chestnut Pappardelle
- Steamed Cranberry Beans
Dessert: Kathleen and Karen
- Forest Brownie – A Woodland Landscape (with Salted Caramel Bittersweet Brownies as the base)
Click Read More below for more of the story, photos, recipes and another playlist for frolicking in the forest.
Hit Play on the Forest for the Trees Playlist, snuggle more deeply into your sweater and picture the rustling leaves on the ground and in the crisp air as you trek through the woods (in your mind!)
Unless you live in a climate that doesn’t get chilly, leafy autumns, in which case you do you.
Everyone should read onward, that’s the main thing.
The guys paired the boar with fresh pappardelle (also from Eataly) tossed with mushrooms and buttery fresh chestnuts. Either dish, with its rich earthiness and distinct flavor profile, could have stood alone as the main meal. Together they were unstoppable. Oh wait, that was me going back for seconds of that drool-worthy meat.
Click to enlarge the photos and read the captions.
Recipe source: Greg Beckett and Dan Dexter combined recipes from Epicurious and Hip Foodie Mom
INGREDIENTS for mushroom-chestnut mixture
- 4 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
- 5 1/3 large shallots, sliced (about 2 cups)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/3 pounds assorted fresh wild mushrooms (such as stemmed shiitake, crimini, and oyster), sliced
- 1 1/3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup Madeira
- 1 1/2 cups FRESH roasted whole chestnuts, peeled and halved – Cook’s note: Recipe for buttery fresh roasted chestnuts appears in the printable recipe for this dish attached above
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
Pappardelle, or other fresh pasta of your choice – about 1 ½ pounds to serve 6-8 people as a side dish
- Melt 3 tablespoons butter in large deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté until tender and golden, about 6 minutes.
- Add garlic and stir 30 seconds. Add remaining 3 tablespoons butter and stir until melted.
- Add mushrooms; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sauté until tender and brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add thyme and stir 1 minute. Add Madeira and simmer until almost evaporated, about 1 minute.
- Add chestnuts and whipping cream and simmer until cream thickens and coats mushroom mixture, about 1 minute.
- Season generously with salt and pepper. Turn the heat to low while the pasta cooks.
- To cook fresh pasta, start with a large pot of boiling water, about 4 to 6 quarts of water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the boiling water for every pound of pasta. Add the pappardelle. Fresh pasta cooks very quickly and should remain al dente, meaning it should still be firm but cooked through – about 3-4 minutes for the pappardelle. Drain it in a colander over a bowl, reserving ¼ cup cooking liquid.
- Stir the pasta and ¼ cup reserved cooking liquid into mushroom mixture; toss well to combine. Drizzle with a dash of olive oil. Toss well and serve.
The Ks decorated their brownie forest thusly:
- extra brownie crumbles for hilly terrain
- rock candy trees in an evergreen shape (purchased)
- crushed graham crackers with green food coloring for moss
- candy-coated chocolate bits for rocks (purchased)
- chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds for wolf scat (purchased)
- crushed almonds for forest path
- chocolate covered pretzels for scattered wood bundles
This was served with a scoop of Talenti ice cream and a Gummi white cow (both purchased).
|Printable Recipe- Salted Caramel Bittersweet Brownies|
|File Size:||557 kb|
Recipe source: Karen Wollins and Kathleen Kuiper
For the Filling:
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp. fleur de sel (or ½ tsp. table salt)
- ¼ cup sour cream
For the Brownie:
- 1¼ cups flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
- 11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%), coarsely chopped
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1½ cups sugar
- ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
For the Assembly:
- 1½ tsp. fleur de sel (optional)
- 1 tsp. coarse sugar (optional)
Make the Caramel:
- In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and corn syrup with ¼ cup water, stirring them together carefully so you don’t splash the sides of the pan.
- Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350ºF, or until the mixture is dark amber in color (keep a close eye on the caramel at all times, as it goes from golden brown to black and burnt very quickly), 6 to 8 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, and slowly add the cream (careful, it will bubble up) and then the fleur de sel.
- Whisk in the sour cream. Set aside to cool.
Make the Brownie Batter:
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9-by-13-inch pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper, and butter the parchment. (You can also use aluminum foil.)
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.
- Place the chocolate and butter in the bowl of the double boiler set over a pan of simmering water, and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler, and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature.
- Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or the brownies will be cakey.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate. Using a spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until there is just a trace amount of the flour mixture visible.
Assemble the Brownies:
- Pour half of the brownie mixture into the pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Drizzle about ¾ cup of the caramel sauce over the brownie layer in a zigzag pattern, taking care to make sure the caramel does not come in contact with the edges of the pan or it will burn.
- There will be extra caramel. (Reserve it for another use, like drizzling over ice cream. Don’t be tempted to add it all here as too much caramel will burn and become unpleasantly hard.)
- Use your offset spatula to spread the caramel evenly across the brownie layer.
- In heaping spoonfuls, scoop the rest of the brownie batter over the caramel layer. Smooth the brownie batter gently to cover the caramel layer.
- Bake the brownies for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
- Remove the brownies from the oven and sprinkle with the fleur de sel and coarse sugar. Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving. They’re easier to cut after they’ve cooled overnight or chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours. The brownies can be stored, tightly wrapped at room temperature, for up to 4 days.