While America turns to home cooking in these uncertain times, we bring you three traditional holiday dinners that will bring you back to simpler days.
Holidays are for memories, for family and for splendid dinners. From Thanksgiving through Christmas and Hanukah, the American table has always been a place of ingenuity, rich flavors, international influences and annual traditions. This year, we decided to present three old-fashioned favorites you might want to try, with tips from star-quality local chefs.
THE BEEF WELLINGTON
“Nobody likes a soggy Beef Wellington. For more defined layers, place your Wellington in the freezer in between each stage of wrapping. After you’ve wrapped your tenderloin with the prosciutto, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and set it in the freezer for 20 minutes. This will firm up the meat and make the next step easier. After wrapping your Wellington in the pastry, make sure it’s well sealed and place back in the freezer for another 20 minutes before baking. Remove from the freezer and place on a preheated baking sheet seal-side down; this will help ensure that no filling leaks out.
“While wrapping your Wellington with the pastry, brush the inside as well as the outside of the pastry with egg wash. This will create a seal on the inside with the meat and pastry and stop it from separating and leaving a gap.” —Executive Chef and Owner Eric Baker, Rebel House
- 1 2-pound center-cut beef tenderloin, trimmed
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Olive oil, for greasing
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 1/2 pound mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- Leaves from 1 thyme sprig
- 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 12 thin slices prosciutto
- Flour, for dusting
- 14 ounces frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Flaky salt, for sprinkling
Using kitchen twine, tie tenderloin in 4 places. Season generously with salt and pepper. Over high heat, coat bottom of heavy skillet with olive oil. Once pan is nearly smoking, sear tenderloin until well-browned on all sides, including ends, about 2 minutes per side (12 minutes total). Transfer to plate. When cool enough to handle, snip off twine and coat all sides with mustard. Let cool in fridge.
Meanwhile, make duxelles: In food processor, pulse mushrooms, shallots and thyme until finely chopped.
To skillet, add butter and melt over medium heat. Add mushroom mixture and cook until liquid has evaporated, about 25 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then let cool in fridge.
Place plastic wrap down on a work surface, overlapping so it’s twice the length and width of the tenderloin. Shingle the prosciutto on plastic wrap into rectangle big enough to cover whole tenderloin.
Spread duxelles evenly and thinly over prosciutto. Season tenderloin, then place it at bottom of prosciutto. Roll meat into prosciutto-mushroom mixture, using plastic wrap to roll tightly. Tuck ends of prosciutto as you roll, then twist ends of plastic wrap tightly into a log and transfer to fridge to chill (this helps it maintain its shape).
Heat oven to 425°. Lightly flour work surface, then spread out puff pastry and roll into a rectangle that will cover tenderloin (just a little bigger than the prosciutto rectangle you just made!). Remove tenderloin from plastic wrap and place on bottom of puff pastry. Brush other three edges of pastry with egg wash, then tightly roll beef into pastry.
Once log is fully covered in puff pastry, trim any extra pastry, then crimp edges with a fork to seal well. Wrap roll in plastic wrap to get a really tight cylinder, then chill for 20 minutes.
Remove plastic wrap, then transfer roll to foil-lined baking sheet.
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake until pastry is golden and center registers 120°F for medium-rare, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes before carving and serving. –Delish.com
THE RACK OF LAMB
“Resting the lamb when it comes out of the oven is the most important step in the cooking process. Resting at room temperature for 15 minutes allows the cooking process to finish, and also gives the internal juices an opportunity to expand back out to the edges of the meat. This results in a more tender and juicy rack of lamb.” —Executive Chef Roger Brock, Boca West Country Club
CHEF BROCK’S RACK OF LAMB (WITH A TWIST)
- 1 full rack of lamb
- Moroccan Spice (see recipe below)
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Remove lamb from refrigerator 30-40 minutes prior to starting. Season with salt and pepper and Moroccan Spice. Heat pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil, and sear lamb rack on top and bottom. Place lamb on sheet pan and place in a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until internal temperature is 115 degrees. Remove lamb from oven and let rest for 15-20 minutes. Before serving, put lamb back in oven for 4-5 minutes, remove lamb and cut into 2 bone chops.
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
Combine dry ingredients together. You can also purchase a pre-made blend if you like.
THE CHRISTMAS GOOSE
“Remember, goose is a game bird. A goose is not a turkey. Just like a duck is not a chicken. It is OK to have pink breast meat. I cook a goose in a two-step process. Roast the whole bird when the breast meat reaches a temperature of 135 degrees F. I carve the breasts off of the goose and continue roasting the legs till they reach about 170 degrees F and are nice and tender.” —Chef Blake Malatesta, Space of Mind Modern Schoolhouse
- 1 fresh or frozen (12-pound) goose, giblets reserved
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium carrots, scrubbed and cut in half
- 3 stalks celery, cut in half
- 1 head garlic, cut in half crosswise
- 1 bunch fresh thyme sprigs
- 1 bunch fresh sage
- 1 medium onion, cut in half
- 8 sprigs flat-leaf fresh parsley
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
If goose is frozen, place it in refrigerator overnight to thaw. Remove goose from refrigerator, and let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse goose inside and out with cold running water, and pat it dry with paper towels. Trim as much excess fat as possible from the opening of the cavity. Remove first and second joints of the wings, and set them aside for use in making the stock.
With point of a sharp knife, prick entire surface of the goose skin, being careful not to cut into the flesh. Fold neck flap under the body of the goose, and pin flap down with a wooden toothpick. Generously sprinkle cavity with salt and pepper, and insert 2 carrot halves, 2 celery-stalk halves, garlic, thyme and sage. Using piece of kitchen twine, tie legs together. Generously sprinkle outside of goose with salt and pepper, and place it breast-side up on wire rack set in large roasting pan.
Roast goose in oven until it turns a golden brown, about 1 hour. With baster, remove as much fat as possible from the roasting pan every 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees, and roast until goose is well browned all over and an instant-read thermometer inserted into a breast, not touching a bone, registers 180 degrees, about 1 hour after reducing the temperature.
Meanwhile, prepare goose stock, which will be used when making gravy and the dressing. Trim and discard any excess fat from the wing tips, neck and giblets, and place them in a small stockpot. Add 4 carrot halves, 4 celery-stalk halves, both onion halves, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, and enough water to cover bones and vegetables by 1 inch (about 2 1/2 quarts water). Place stockpot over high heat, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer stock, skimming scum as it forms, for 2 hours. Strain stock through cheesecloth-lined strainer. Remove and discard fat floating on the surface of the stock, and set stockpot aside.
Remove goose from the oven, and transfer to a cutting board that has a well. Let goose stand 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare gravy. Pour off all fat from the roasting pan, and place pan over high heat. Pour in wine, and cook, stirring up any brown bits with wooden spoon until cooking liquid is reduced by three-quarters. Add 2 cups goose stock, and cook, stirring until liquid is again reduced by three-quarters. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in butter, and cook until slightly thickened. Pass gravy through cheesecloth-lined strainer into gravy boat, and serve with goose. –marthastewart.com