Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Langdon Hall: A Weekend Autumn Lunch

Originally built as a Federal Revival mansion by the famous New York Astor family at the turn of the 20th-century, Langdon Hall is celebrating its 30th anniversary this season. Owned and operated by Bill Bennett and Mary Beaton, the architect and interior designer couple purchased the Langdon Hall property with their inspiring dream to create a country house hotel. Two years later the doors opened and an amazing journey began. Considered to be one of the top hotels in Canada, I've been escaping to Langdon Hall since the 1990's and have spent many memorable weekends there, blissfully enjoying their spectacular spa, playing croquet on the crisp manicured lawns, relaxing in the tranquil secluded outdoor pool, exploring the impressive chef's kitchen garden, and of course indulging in Langdon Hall's exceptional cuisine by the superbly talented Jason Bangerter — one of my favourite chefs in Canada. In addition to Langdon Hall's main dining room, one can also dine at Wilks' Bar. Offering lighter lunches and dinners in a cozy club-like atmosphere, the bar has a welcoming wood burning fireplace, a collection of comfortable leather chairs and period photos of Langdon Hall’s original founding family. Elegant and refined, taking the time for a leisurely weekend lunch at Wilks' is one of life's more delicious pleasures.  

30 years ago this month Bill Bennett and Mary Beaton purchased the Langdon Hall property 
with their inspiring dream to create a country house hotel

Langdon Hall owners Mary Beaton and Bill Bennett's gorgeous dog Phoebe

Wilks' Bar Autumn menu

Planted flowers on the table

Wilkes’ Burger with black pepper bacon compote, smoked Majestic Henry cheese, garden pickles, frites and house made mayonnaise

Fish and Chips with Pommes Pont Neuf, Lemon Aioli and Pea Vines

Acorn Squash Soup
Serves 12
Recipe courtesy of Chef Jason Bangerter, Langdon Hall

"On chilly nights, I like to serve this soup with a garnish of braised meats — duck, rabbit or pork confit — with seared nuggets of foie gras, stewed chestnuts and brioche seasoned with winter spice. At home, I simply add a dollop of vanilla yogurt, pomegranate seeds and rustic baked black pepper croutons". JB

2 acorn squash
1/4 cup maple syrup
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 onion
1 carrot
6 cloves of garlic
1 half rib of celery
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 cup dry white wine
12 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1 half stick of cinnamon
6 sprigs each fresh thyme and parsley
2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Vanilla yogurt
pomegranate seeds
rustic baked croutons

Split the squash and remove the seeds. Drizzle with half of the maple syrup, a splash of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down in a roasting pan in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes, or until lightly caramelized and fork tender. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the cooked flesh and reserve.

Slice the onion, carrot, garlic and celery. In a medium stockpot, sweat the vegetables in butter and ginger until soft. Add the cooked squash and wine, and cook until the wine is reduced by two-thirds. Add the stock to an inch above the vegetables and add half a cinnamon stick. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer. Tie the herbs in a tight bundle with string, add to the pot and cook for 20 minutes.

Remove the herb bundle and cinnamon, then purée the soup in batches in food processor until smooth and velvety, adding the remaining syrup and more stock if necessary. Strain and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
To serve, ladle the soup into warmed soup bowls and garnish with a dollop of vanilla yogurt, pomegranate seeds and some rustic baked black pepper croutons.

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