As I am planning this year's Christmas dinner it occurred to me that I could share some of last year's recipes...sorry to be so late! In the event that you are still trying to figure out a menu maybe you will find an idea here. Our main course was a beef tenderloin. I chose it because I wanted something that required little prep ahead of time and cooks relatively quickly...plus, everyone always loves it and considers it a treat. I garnished the meat with one of my favorite sides...pearl onions agrodolce. I braise the onions in a pan with a little water, butter, vinegar, thyme, salt and sugar until they are soft and carmelized. If you would rather not wing it you can find a similar recipe here. Just substitute butter for the olive oil, and some thyme leaves for the bay leaves.
Planning the sides is always my favorite part -- figuring out a nice mix of colors and textures and then making sure it can all be done without too much stress. There are a few favorites: the potato gratin that my father and Oliver both adore makes an appearance every year! I had recently bought David Chang's cookbook and was reading about his famous brussles sprouts. In the cookbook he said he considers the dressing for that dish universal so I decided to test that theory and try it out on roasted carrots and beets. I added some toasted hazlenuts for crunch, as well as some chopped parsley. Chang's claim was true...it was delicious. If you want the recipe in time for Christmas and don't have the book the recipe for the dressing can be found here.
Of course we needed something green so I made roasted brussels sprouts with bacon. It is such a simple but delicious preparation...slice the brussels sprouts in half and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir in some chopped pancetta or bacon and roast until goden brown and tender.
I like to serve lots of vegetables so opted for two more sides. If you have a gas stove and a grill pan, grilled chicories are delicious. Just cut radicchio and endive into wedges, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, and grill until they are lightly browned and a bit wilted. Last but not least we always have a salad. This time is was a bowl of mesclun greens, sectioned citrus, pommegranate seeds, spiced nuts and feta cheese.
We finish our meal with my parents cookie plate and persimmon pudding with hard sauce made by my mom. Maybe that will be a post next year!