Iberian chicken, roast turkey, mushroom cannelloni–Bettina Osmeña’s Christmas delights
The Iberian chicken hinted brine before being baked to a pinkish brown. The breasts and thighs were simmered in unfiltered olive oil until juicy and delicate, sending off aromatic juices.
Mixed with garlic, peppercorn, rosemary, tarragon and thyme, and nestled on leeks and celery, the dish has become the new favorite of foodies.
There’s also the luscious, deboned roast chicken, its juicy meat draped in golden brown, herb-flecked skin and served atop a pile of baby potatoes and baked grapes. It is perfumed with fresh herbs and lemon.
“Chicken is my specialty,” says entrepreneur and foodie Bettina Osmeña. For a long time she was known as a hostess nonpareil, regaling guests with her wholesome meals served in style. The recipes are either inspirations from her trips abroad or heirloom dishes. She never scrimps on ingredients and uses only the best for healthy eating. The secret to good cooking, she says, is that food should be prepared with utmost care.
When friends urged her to venture into the food business so that their personal orders would become official, she put up Gourmet Corner. It sells premium ingredients such as imported oils and tomatoes, and takes orders for epicurean meals. Products range from frozen food like curries and pasta sauces for extremely busy cooks, to customized meat dishes and pastas.
For Christmas and special occasions, Osmeña brings out a succulent, savory turkey with a nicely crunchy, brown skin that tastes wonderful even without stuffing or gravy. The turkey is first roasted to get the crispy, brown skin, then the meat is cooked to accurate doneness. Fragrant herbs stuffed inside the cavity suffuse the meat with their aroma, along with loosely packed bread stuffing, raisins, chorizo and walnuts.
The turkey’s heirloom secret recipe was inherited from a matron in Cebu who specialized in this dish. When she passed away, the recipe was handed to Osmeña.
For seafood lovers, the poached salmon is clean-tasting and light, shining in its pinkish glory. The dill sauce adds to the sumptuousness of the fish without eclipsing its smoky taste.
There are meatless alternatives for the diet-conscious.
“The mushroom dip is for people who like to eat healthy,” says Osmeña. “I have baked cherry tomatoes with a secret blend of herbs, garlic and anchovies, bathed in first-grade olive oil. We can make it with angel hair pasta. It’s so perfect.”
The mushroom cannelloni is anointed with butter under a blanket of cheeses and white sauce. The pasta tubes are stuffed with mushrooms that have been manually sliced to preserve their shape.
“A food processor won’t work. We need many people to cut the mushrooms,” she says.
The vegetarian lasagna is scooped out of a pool of sauce and molten cheese. Osmeña attributes its richness to the San Marzano tomatoes that are cultivated in the fertile volcanic soil at the base of Mount Vesuvius, Italy. Low in acidity, they exude sweetness and keep a firm pulp.
“The taste pops out of your mouth,” she says.
During family Christmas dinners, she serves turkey, lechon, mushroom cannelloni and callos.
“The meal is traditional,” she says. “It’s everybody’s food, but done our way.”
For more details, contact 0998-5696849; visit Gourmet Corner on Facebook.
Roasted pine nuts
Cubed ripe mangoes
Baked cherry tomatoes
¼ cup champagne vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (use the best quality)
1 tablespoon mixed herbs chopped basil, chives and parsley
Mix all of the above ingredients in a
Shake the bottle vigorously.
You may also use a blender.
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