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5 Merry & Bright Recipes for a Complete Holiday Meal

A few recipes to help you celebrate the season. All were recently featured in the food and wine pairing for the holidays class at Wine + Market in Lexington, KY.

December 7, 2015

In November and December, I helped out with 2 classes taught by the owner/sommelier of Wine + Market about pairing wine with food for the big holiday meals. I cooked, she paired and the results were delicious. Several of the class attendees were kind enough to request recipes, so here they are below. I’d be happy to answer questions about the recipes, post them in the comments here or on Facebook and I’ll get back to you soon. Happy Holidays!

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Serves 4-6

  • 2 medium Butternut Squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
  • Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Small bunch of Sage
  • 1 Onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 Leeks, trimmed of green parts, thoroughly rinsed, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup dry White Wine
  • 3-5 cups Vegetable Stock
  • ¼ cup Heavy Cream
  • Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
  • A few slices Prosciutto di Parma
  1. Heat oven to 425℉. Brush the cut-side of the squash with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place a sage leaf in each cavity and arrange the squash halves cut-side down on a baking tray lined with parchment. Roast for 30-45 minutes, or until the flesh is completely tender and the edges start to brown. Allow the squash to cool before removing the flesh from the skin with a spoon.
  2. Place a large soup pot over medium heat. Once hot, add a few tablespoons of oil, the onion and the leeks. Reduce heat to medium low and allow to slowly cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in a few pinches of salt, a large tablespoon of thinly sliced sage and the garlic. Cook 5-10 minutes more until the onions and leeks are fragrant, soft and translucent.
  3. Pour the wine into the pot and increase the heat to a strong simmer. Cook several minutes until the wine is mostly reduced, stirring frequently.
  4. Remove the pot from heat then add the roasted squash flesh and 3 cups of vegetable stock. Purée the soup using an immersion blender (easiest) or a powerful blender. If the soup remains too thick, gradually add more stock until the desired consistency is reached. Stir in a few tablespoons of heavy cream and taste to adjust seasoning with salt and cracked black pepper.
  5. An optional step is to pass the soup through a fine meshed strainer to obtain a silky smooth consistency.
  6. For the crispy Parma garnish, arrange strips of Parma ham in a single layer on a wire rack (such as a cookie cooling rack). Bake in an oven set to 350℉ until the ham darkens and starts to crisp, it will continue to harden outside the oven. Keep a close eye on the ham for it only takes a few minutes and will easily burn. Allow to cool before breaking into bite-size pieces.
  7. Serve soup with a drizzle of heavy cream, thinly sliced sage, and crispy Proscuitto di Parma.

Fresh Cranberry Relish

Adapted from a recipe by

  • 1 120z bag Fresh Cranberries
  • 2 oranges, zested then peel and pith removed and flesh roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup + 2 Tbsps pure Cane Sugar
  • ¼ cup Red Onion, minced
  • 1-2 Tbsps fresh Ginger, grated
  • ¼ cup Pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 2-3 Tbsps Flat-leaf Parsley, roughly chopped

Pulse cranberries in a food processor until roughly chopped. Stir together with remaining ingredients except for the pecans and parsley. Allow to sit at room temperature for 2 hours before chilling. Relish can be made up to 1 week ahead, and improves as it ages. Refrain from adding the pecans and parsley until the day of serving.

Serve on its own or on top of whole wheat crackers with sharp cheddar.   

Stuffing (mini) Muffins

Makes about 32 mini muffins

  • Olive oil
  • Few Tbsps Butter
  • 1 large Onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 large Fennel Bulb, roughly chopped
  • Sea Salt
  • Several sprigs fresh Thyme
  • ½ cup Sausage: pork or chicken, sweet or savory, links or loose
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, roughly chopped
  • 6 cups Bread cubes from crusty loaf (about 2 ½ baguettes), left out to dry overnight
  • 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1-3 cups Vegetable Stock
  • ¼ tsp ground Allspice
  • Freshly cracked Black Pepper
  • ½ lb Gruyère, grated
  1. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Brush a mini muffin tin with olive oil.
  2. Melt a few Tbsps butter with olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in a good pinch of salt and the thyme. Continue to cook for 10-15 minutes longer until the onion and fennel are soft and translucent.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, crumble and cook sausage until just browned. No need to cook until completely done, since the sausage will be baked as well.
  4. In a large bowl, stir together the cooked onion and fennel (discard the sprigs of thyme first), sausage, apple and bread cubes.
  5. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the mustard, eggs, vegetable stock (start with a small measurement) and allspice. Season with at least ½ tsp Salt and black pepper. Stir the wet mixture into the dry. The bread cubes should be evenly and well-moistened but not soggy. Gradually add more stock as needed.
  6. Press the stuffing mixture into the muffin tin and cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and increase the heat to broil setting. Place 1 generous Tbsp of cheese on top of each muffin. Return to the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted and formed a browned crust. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes before using a butter knife or small offset spatula to remove the muffins from the tin.   

Roasted Turkey and Sautéed Mushrooms  

Serves 6-8

  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • 1 lb Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • Few sprigs Thyme
  • Sea Salt and freshly cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 bone-in, skin-on Turkey Breast
  • Stock
  1. Preheat oven to 425℉. Melt a large spoonful of butter in a good splash of oil in a large pan over med-high heat. Once hot, scatter the mushrooms in an even layer in the pan and leave for about 3 minutes, until the undersides are browned. Stir in the whole sprigs of thyme, a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Continue sautéeing the mushrooms and stirring frequently until mostly browned and tender without being limp. Remove the mushrooms from the pan.
  2. Heat the same pan with another spoonful of butter and splash of oil over med-high heat. Season the turkey breast with salt and pepper and place skin-side down in the pan. Cook until golden brown then flip to the other side.
  3. Once both sides are browned, pour about a cup of stock into the bottom of the pan then cover the breast with parchment or foil and place in the oven. Immediately turn the oven down to 350℉. Begin testing the turkey for doneness after 40 minutes of cooking.
  4. For the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, uncover the turkey and add the mushrooms to the bottom of the pan to reheat before serving.      

Chocolate Truffles with Caramelized Pecans

Makes about 30 truffles

  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 10 oz Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips, or bar chopped into small pieces
  • Sea Salt
  • 1 cup Pecans, toasted
  • ½ cup pure Cane Sugar
  1. Heat cream in a saucepan until it boils. Remove from heat and pour in chocolate, leaving to sit for 3 minutes. Whisk until chocolate completely melts then stir in a good pinch of sea salt. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large pan, add pecans and sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly until sugar completely melts, darkens slightly and glazes the pecans. Use a spatula to remove the caramelized pecans from the pan onto a surface lined with parchment paper. Spread the pecans into a mostly even layer and sprinkle with salt. Allow to sit at room temperature to harden.
  3. Use a small spoon to scoop mounds of the chocolate ganache mixture onto a plate lined with parchment. Chill another 30 minutes before rolling into smooth(ish) truffles.
  4. Chop the hardened caramelized pecans into small pieces and roll each truffle in the pecans to coat. Chill until ready to serve.   

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