Christmas Dinner Spectacular
Our gift to you? Three festive menus: impressive mains, delicious sides – plus the perfect wine pairings.
MENU No. 1: PRIME RIB
Mustard Seed-Crusted Prime Rib Roast with Dijon Crème Fraîche and Roasted Balsamic Onions
PREP 1 hour TOTAL 4 hours
For some, Christmas dinner wouldn’t be complete without beef. Here, a decadent prime rib roast is coated in mustard seeds and served with a tangy mustard sauce and sweet-sour onions. Serve with steamed baby carrots.
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup prepared white horseradish
1 cup plus 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, divided
4 medium onions, cut into 3/4-inch wedges with some core attached
5 very large shallots (about 1 pound), quartered through the root end
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt plus additional (for sprinkling)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 9 1/2-pound bone-in standing rib roast, trimmed
2 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1/4 cup brandy
2 cups beef broth
Chopped fresh Italian parsley
Using electric mixer, beat crème fraîche and whipping cream in medium bowl to firm peaks. Fold in horseradish and 1/3 cup mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and chill. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Keep chilled. Rewhisk before serving.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss onions, shallots, vinegar, oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl. Sprinkle roast lightly with coarse salt and generously with pepper. Stir 2/3 cup mustard and garlic in a small bowl; rub over roast. Place roast, bone side down, in roasting pan. Sprinkle mustard seeds over, pressing to adhere. Roast 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 350°F.
Arrange onion mixture around roast. Return to oven; roast until instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 120°F, stirring onion mixture occasionally, about 2 1/4 hours for medium-rare.
Transfer roast to work surface. Tent with foil; let rest 30 minutes. If necessary, increase oven temperature to 450°F and return onion mixture to roasting pan and roast until deep brown and very tender, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer onion mixture to medium bowl.
Place roasting pan over 2 burners on medium-high heat. Add brandy; stir 30 seconds. Whisk in broth and remaining 1 teaspoon mustard; boil until reduced to 1 1/4 cups jus, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Season jus with salt and pepper.
Slice roast; arrange on platter. Spoon onions around roast. Sprinkle parsley over. Pass Dijon crème fraîche and jus alongside.
PREP 45 minutes TOTAL 1 hour 15 minutes
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 9- to 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
6 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
8 large egg whites
Special equipment: 8 1-cup soufflé dishes or custard cups
Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter eight 1-cup soufflé dishes or custard cups; place on large rimmed baking sheet. Melt 1/4 cup butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour; whisk 1 minute. Add buttermilk; whisk 1 minute. Stir in spinach and next 4 ingredients. Set aside.
Using electric mixer, beat egg whites in large bowl until firm peaks form. Fold egg whites into spinach mixture in 3 additions. Divide equally among prepared dishes.
Bake soufflés until puffed and brown on top, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately.
WHAT TO DRINK
The king of roasts meets its match in the king of wines. Dijon mustard’s pleasant sharpness softens Cabernet’s big tannins. With the roast, try the ROBERT MONDAVI 2006 CABERNET SAUVIGNON OAKVILLE (California, $45). The wine’s spice and blackberry flavors are perfect with the beef.
MENU No. 2: ROAST PORK
Lemon- and Prosciutto-Stuffed Pork Loin Roast with Broccolini
PREP 1 hour TOTAL 2 hours 30 minutes
8 to 10 SERVINGS
1 4-pound boneless pork loin, trimmed
12 thin slices prosciutto (about 6 ounces)
1 large lemon, very thinly sliced
1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 1/2 pounds broccolini, trimmed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
1 cup Pinot Grigio or other dry white wine
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Special equipment: Kitchen string
INGREDIENT INFO Panko is available in the Asian foods section of most supermarkets.
Place pork, fat side down, on work surface. Using long thin sharp knife and starting 1/2 inch above underside of roast, cut 1/2 inch in along right side. Continue cutting 1/2 inch above underside, unrolling roast like carpet. Arrange prosciutto evenly over pork. Arrange lemon slices over prosciutto. Sprinkle with panko, then chives. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Turn pork so 1 short end faces you. Beginning at 1 short end, roll up pork; arrange seam side down on work surface (fat side will be facing up). Using kitchen string, tie at 1- to 1 1/2-inch intervals. Transfer pork, fat side up, to roasting pan. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Cook broccolini in pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Drain; cool. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover pork; chill. Wrap broccolini in paper towels, then plastic; chill.
Place 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 450°F. Place pork on lower rack; roast 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F; roast pork until instant-read thermometer registers 145°F when inserted into center of pork, 45 to 60 minutes longer, depending on thickness of roast. Transfer to cutting board. Increase oven temperature to 375°F.
Divide broccolini between 2 rimmed baking sheets. Drizzle olive oil over, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Place in oven and roast until ender and lightly browned, about 10 minutes, reversing sheets halfway through roasting.
Meanwhile, place roasting pan over 2 burners on medium-high heat. Add broth and wine; bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Boil until reduced to 1 cup, about 8 minutes. Stir in butter. Add cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Strain sauce into small pitcher. Season with salt and pepper.
Using kitchen scissors, cut string along top of roast; discard. Cut pork into 1/2-inch-thick slices; arrange on platter. Drizzle lemon juice over broccolini; season with salt and pepper. Serve pork with broccolini, passing sauce alongside.
Celery Root and Potato Mash
PREP 30 minutes TOTAL 55 minutes
8 to 10 SERVINGS
1 pound celery roots (celeriac), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 4 cups)
2 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces1/2 cup (or more) whole milk
1/4 cup chopped celery leaves
Cook celery root in large pot of boiling salted water 5 minutes. Add potatoes to pot; cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Drain. Return vegetables to pot; stir over medium-high heat until dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat; add butter. Using potato masher, mash vegetables until butter is incorporated. Add 1/2 cup milk; mash until almost smooth, adding more milk as needed. Stir in celery leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
WHAT TO DRINK
The lemony pork is great with Pinot Grigio, a white that’s also known for its lemony notes. One to try: CUPCAKE VINEYARDS 2009 PINOT GRIGIO(Trentino DOC, $14), a charmingly bright wine with citrus, pear, and pineapple flavors.
MENU No. 3: HERBED SALMON
Rosemary-Rubbed Side of Salmon with Roasted Potatoes, Parsnips, and Mushrooms
PREP 45 minutes TOTAL 1 hour 25 minutes
8 TO 10 SERVINGS
A whole side of salmon makes for a light, delicious – and impressive – main course.
1 1/2 cups packed fresh rosemary leaves
4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound red-skinned or white-skinned potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 pound parsnips, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 3 1/2-to 3 3/4-pound whole side of salmon with skin
1 pound cremini (baby bella) mushrooms, quartered if large, halved if small
Assorted salad greens
1/3 cup Pinot Noir or other dry red wine
Blend rosemary, salt, and pepper in processor until finely chopped. With machine running, add 4 tablespoons oil; process to coarse paste.
Position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 450°F. Toss potatoes, parsnips, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and 3 tablespoons rosemary mixture in large bowl. Transfer vegetable mixture to rimmed baking sheet, arranging in even layer. Roast vegetables on lower rack 20 minutes.
Line another large baking sheet with parchment. Place salmon, skin side down, on sheet. Spread with remaining rosemary mixture. Toss mushrooms with vegetable mixture. Return vegetable mixture to lower rack; place salmon on upper rack. Roast salmon until just opaque in center and vegetables until tender, about 20 minutes.
Line platter with salad greens; place salmon on top of greens. Transfer vegetables to serving bowl. Place vegetable baking sheet over 2 burners on high heat. Add wine and bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Drizzle juices over salmon.
Rainbow Chard and Radicchio Sauté
PREP 45 minutes TOTAL 45 minutes
8 TO 10 SERVINGS
2 pounds rainbow chard (3 to 4 medium bunches)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound radicchio (about 2 large heads), cored, cut into 1-inch wedges, leaves separated
2 tablespoons (or more) red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons currants (optional)
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
Cut ribs from chard; chop crosswise into 1-inch pieces (about 4 cups). Slice leaves crosswise into 1-inch strips (about 16 cups).
Melt butter with oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook until onion is tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add chard ribs; cover and cook until tender, about 6 minutes. Working in batches, add chard leaves and radicchio, stirring until wilted. Cook uncovered until vegetables are tender, stirring often, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons vinegar and currants, if desired. Season with salt and pepper and more vinegar, if desired.
Using slotted spoon, transfer chard mixture to bowl. Sprinkle pine nuts over.
WHAT TO DRINK
The general rule is red with meat and white with fish, but Pinot Noir is a light red and salmon is a rich fish, so it works. We like the earthy, fruity GAINEY VINEYARD 2007 PINOT NOIR (California, $48).