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12/16/2013 12:04 EST | Updated 02/15/2014 05:59 EST

Coq au vin, scalloped potatoes, wild blueberry tart delicious potluck recipes

Here are three recipes — a main course, side dish and delectable dessert — that would be welcome fare at a holiday potluck or a sit-down dinner party.

Coq au Vin

Easy to eat and popular with everyone, a classic chicken stew that includes onions, mushrooms, bacon and generous quantities of rich red wine sauce is perfect to take to a potluck or a great dish for a host to prepare ahead.

As in all good stews, key elements are cooked separately and joined together for the final braise. All the work can be done ahead and the final result is even tastier the following day.

For a potluck, suggest guests round out the meal with a salad featuring goat cheese, a big dish of steamed green beans and crusty bread, suggests Jane Rodmell, who created this recipe.

To keep sauce from being diluted during braising time, cut a sheet of cooking parchment just 1 cm (1/2 inch) larger than the surface of your pot or casserole. Lay parchment directly on the surface of the meat and vegetables, with edges turned up around the edge of the pot. Cover the pot. During braising time the parchment sheet catches any evaporated moisture that drips into the casserole from the lid. Carefully lift off parchment and pour away accumulated water.

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

90 g (3 oz) lean salt pork or bacon, cut in 1-cm (1/2-inch) strips

1.5 kg (3 lb) chicken, cut into serving pieces

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

750 ml (3 cups) dry red wine

15 ml (1 tbsp) tomato paste

5 ml (1 tsp) finely chopped thyme

1 bay leaf

125 ml to 250 ml (1/2 to 1 cup) chicken stock, as needed

500 g (1 lb) Sauteed Mushrooms (recipe follows)

250 g (1/2 lb) Braised Pearl Onions (recipe follows)

Beurre Manie: 30 ml (2 tbsp) all-purpose flour blended to a paste with 30 ml (2 tbsp) soft butter (optional)

30 ml (2 tbsp) finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

In a large heavy casserole, Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add bacon pieces and saute until lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Pat chicken dry. Add to pot and brown well on all sides. You may need to do this in batches; do not crowd pot. Remove and set aside.

Add carrot, onion, celery and garlic to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes. Return chicken and bacon to pot and season lightly.

Stir in wine, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaf and add stock as needed just to cover chicken. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook on top of stove until chicken is tender or place in a 160 C (325 F) oven to braise. (Now is the time when you prepare the Sauteed Mushrooms and Braised Pearl Onions.) Test chicken after 20 minutes since the breast meat will cook more quickly. Remove chicken pieces as they are cooked and set them aside while you finish sauce.

Strain cooking liquid, pressing on vegetables to release all the good juices. Return sauce to pot. Bring to a boil and skim off any fat. Taste, adjust seasoning and continue to boil and reduce for a minute or two until sauce is richly flavoured and of light sauce consistency.

If you like lots of sauce and do not want to reduce the amount of liquid too long, prepare a beurre manie, an easy way to thicken sauces and soups. Make a paste of flour and soft butter. With fingers, sprinkle small pieces of the butter-flour paste into boiling sauce and whisk vigorously while sauce thickens to desired consistency.

Return chicken and bacon to pot and add sauteed mushrooms and braised onions. Gently stir together to coat with sauce. Heat briefly to blend flavours, about 5 minutes. The dish is now ready to be served.

For best flavour, let cool, cover and refrigerate for a day or for up to 3 days. About 1 hour before serving, remove pot from refrigerator, bring to room temperature for about 30 minutes and reheat over medium-low heat. Simmer until all contents are hot, 20 to 30 minutes. Garnish with parsley. Serve with simple boiled baby potatoes and steamed green beans.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Sauteed Mushrooms

15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil

30 ml (2 tbsp) butter

500 g (1 lb) mushrooms (whole if small, quartered if large)

1 shallot, finely chopped

Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large skillet, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and saute until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Add shallot and toss over heat for 2 minutes. Season and set aside until needed.

Braised Pearl Onions

To easily peel small onions, blanch in boiling water for one to two minutes, then drain. Trim the root end with a small sharp knife and slip the outer skins off.

15 ml (1 tbsp) olive oil

15 ml (1 tbsp) butter

250 g (1/2 lb) pearl onions, peeled

125 ml (1/2 cup) chicken or beef stock (or half stock, half red wine)

1 bay leaf

2 thyme sprigs

2 parsley sprigs

Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat oil and butter over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute for about 10 minutes, rolling onions around so they brown on all sides.

Add stock, herbs and seasoning. Cover, reduce heat and simmer until onions are tender, about 30 minutes. Set aside until needed.

Source: "All The Best Recipes: 300 Delicious and Extraordinary Recipes" by Jane Rodmell (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca, 2009).

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Gruyere Scalloped Potatoes

This is an easy side dish to tote to a collaborative dinner or to serve at home.

2 cloves garlic, minced

625 ml (2 1/2 cups) half-and-half (10 per cent) cream

6 baking potatoes, peeled

30 ml (2 tbsp) all-purpose flour

750 ml (3 cups) shredded Gruyere cheese

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Stir garlic into cream and set aside. Slice potatoes into paper-thin rounds and toss with flour. Arrange half the potatoes in a 33-by-23-cm (13-by-9-inch) glass baking dish.

Sprinkle with half the cheese and pour half of the cream mixture over top.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Repeat layers. Cover and bake in a 160 C (325 F) oven for 1 hour. Remove cover and continue baking for another 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Source: "The Complete Best of Bridge Cookbooks Volume 3" by The Best of Bridge Ladies (Robert Rose Inc., www.robertrose.ca, 2013).

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Wild Blueberry Buttermilk Tart With Sugared Almonds

"I create recipes almost like assembling a Pinterest board of flavours and textures," says Dufflet Rosenberg of Dufflet Pastries, who created this light and luscious treat.

"Here I curated a selection of rustic ingredients like wild blueberries, sweet buttermilk and crisp almonds to build an elegant dessert.

"I'm a big fan of complementing the smooth with a little texture. I love the colour and the hint of lemon that the wild blueberries bring to the creamy buttermilk filling and the satisfying buttery crunch of the almond crust."

Garnish the dessert with sugared almonds and pair it with lemonade for the kids or a light bubbly wine for grownups.

Transport a flan of this size loosely covered with foil on a large flat platter with no raised border so that it doesn't flex and crack. Serve slightly chilled. It's best eaten the same day it's made or leftovers can be covered and stored for up to two days in the refrigerator.

Sugared Almonds

1 large egg white

375 ml (1 1/2 cups) sliced almonds

30 ml (2 tbsp) granulated sugar

Crust

150 ml (10 tbsp) butter, softened

175 ml (3/4 cup) granulated sugar

1 large egg

405 ml (1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp) all-purpose flour

50 ml (1/4 cup) finely ground almonds

Filling

75 ml (5 tbsp) butter

2 large eggs

Pinch salt

1 ml (1/4 tsp) pure vanilla extract

250 ml (1 cup) granulated sugar

50 ml (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour

250 ml (1 cup) buttermilk

22 ml (1 1/2 tbsp) 35 per cent (whipping) cream

30 ml (2 tbsp) fresh lemon juice

325 ml (1 1/3 cups) frozen wild blueberries

Apricot Glaze

75 ml (1/3 cup) apricot jam

15 ml (1 tbsp) water

Sugared Almonds: In a large mixing bowl, place egg white; pour in almonds, then sprinkle with sugar. Toss to coat almonds. Spread coated nuts in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a 160 C (325 F) oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until lightly browned and dry. Toss nuts occasionally to ensure even baking. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in an airtight tin.

Crust: In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place butter; beat until fluffy.

Add sugar and mix well. Add egg and mix well. Add flour and almonds; mix until mixture comes together and ingredients are blended.

Wrap dough in waxed paper and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Remove from fridge, roll dough out on floured surface to 3 mm (1/8 inch) thick, 33 cm (13 inches) in diameter. Using a flat scraper, lift dough carefully and roll onto rolling pin. Lay dough over a 28-by-3-cm (11-by-1 1/4-inch) fluted tart pan with removable bottom. Lightly press dough flat into bottom of pan and press firmly into sides. The sides should be slightly thicker than bottom. Trim any excess dough and refrigerate until firm.

Remove from fridge and press bottom all over with a fork. Bake in a 160 C (325 F) oven for 25 minutes until light golden.

Filling: Melt butter and set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, salt and vanilla. Add sugar and flour together. Whisk until mixture is well combined and there are no visible lumps. Add melted butter and mix until incorporated. Add buttermilk, cream and lemon juice. Mix until well blended.

Assembly and baking: Spread blueberries over bottom of baked tart. Pour filling into tart shell. Carefully place in oven and bake for 45 minutes or until filling is set.

Remove from oven and let sit until cooled to room temperature. Place in refrigerator and chill until set.

Apricot Glaze: Warm apricot jam; add water to dilute slightly. Blend well. Remove from heat and strain to remove any lumps. Brush top of chilled tart with warm apricot glaze.

Remove sides of tart, transfer to a serving dish and store in refrigerator. When ready to serve, place sugared almonds around border.

Source: Created by Dufflet Rosenberg of Dufflet Pastries for the Wild Blueberry Association of North America (www.wildblueberries.com).