When my colleagues in the test kitchen happened upon my red folder titled “Holiday Recipes” they poked a little good-humored fun (it was the first week of October). Now that December has finally arrived, let’s talk Christmas!
Some of my friends think it’s extreme that I plan dinner before I’ve had breakfast, so this is my confession: I plan my Christmas feast all year round. There, I said it! Who’s with me?
Christmas is my favorite holiday; the cheer, the mulled wine, the traditional Lanz and Salzburg nightgowns my sister and I wear, the wool socks, the stroopwafel (a Dutch treat made from two thin layers of waffle with a caramel syrup filling in the middle—sit them over a cup of coffee or tea to warm, then dunk and enjoy!). Christmas is pure magic, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that the magic doesn’t come from the FAO Schwartz stuffed animal at the bottom of the tree, but from the indescribable warmth of being with family. Communing with loved ones is my ultimate joy—and daydreaming about what I will feed them gives me a certain comfort all year round.
This is where my holiday folder comes in handy: I am able to save all my favorite findings over the year and call on them for inspiration. Each time I thumb through my collection of recipes I feel overwhelmed by possibilities, itching to hit the kitchen while carols jingle and roasting meat spits, cozy in the oven.
It’s been a secret since October, so I am happy to finally announce what’s going to be on my table this holiday season:
This is a classic English menu as the focus is on a gorgeous beef roast paired with Yorkshire pudding. I am a sucker for tradition.
When Food Editor Shira Bocar was developing this recipe, I kid you not, the entire test kitchen said we are making this for our families this Christmas. It is elegant, flavorful, and screams special occasion.
I love the classic pairing of Yorkshire pudding with beef. You can use either Crisco or bacon grease in place of the pan drippings, as the tenderloin will not release much juice because it is a lean cut.
The pomegranates will add a fresh little burst of flavor to the meal and will look beautiful strewn with everything else.
I just love green beans as a delicate side, so I’m going to use them instead of the asparagus. The deep flavor of brown butter and the crunch of hazelnut will elevate the dish into something extraordinary.
These are adorable morning, noon and night. After dinner I love to set a few cakes on the table with some jars of warmed crème fraîche and a pot of sweet, black coffee.
Every year my family celebrates by roasting a goose. I keep things interesting by switching up the preparation, but this go-round my family is begging me to repeat a few of Martha’s impeccable recipes I did a few years back.
There is nothing like the smell of roasting goose to comfort and cheer all those who walk through the door.
This is the perfect accompaniment to the goose. The sausage adds welcome fat to the nutty wild rice, and the dried fruit pairs perfectly with the gamey bird. There isn’t a picture of this delicious dish – so you’ll just have to make it and trust me when I say this is the best rice I’ve ever had.
You have a few rich days ahead of you, no two ways about it. This simple salad brightened with herbs and a simple lemon Dijon dressing will give your plate the balance it needs.
For this meal I will use carrots and parsnips rather than beets and mushrooms (you can use whatever vegetables you want, the method is the same), and drippings from the roasting goose instead of the oil. In my oven, I can roast the veggies below the bird and then crisp them up while the goose rests before carving.
The best way to finish off this meal is with a decidedly French dessert. It is easy to make, looks fancy, and celebrates the season’s bounty.
Have you started thinking about Christmas yet? If so, we want to hear what’s going on your table!
Josie Adams is the Food Department Assistant at Martha Stewart Living. She loves M.F.K. Fischer, cheese, her sunny apartment in Brooklyn and her pup, Wendy Darling. Follow her on Instagram @josie_lynne and on Twitter @JosieLynne.