6 easy recipes for a traditional holiday meal

Make six staples for a fantastic meal this holiday season. Chef Lindsay Leopold, resident chef of Sur La Table shares her recipes for an appetizer, entrée and dessert! 

 

 

Arugula Salad with Roasted Pumpkin and Pomegranate 

Yield: 4 servings 

Any winter squash would be great in this light, yet hearty salad.  Acorn and delicata are wonderful varietals that don’t need to have the skin removed. 

 

Salad: 

  • 1 (2-pound) sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 2 cups (2 ounces) baby arugula leaves 
  • 2/3 cup pomegranate seeds 
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped 
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved 

Vinaigrette: 

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup 
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 

Preheat oven to 400°F. 

 

To roast pumpkin: 

1. To a rimmed baking sheet, add pumpkin, olive oil, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. 

2. Toss to coat, transfer to oven, and roast until pumpkin is tender and browned along the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. 

3. Stir pumpkin halfway through roasting. Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. 

 

To make vinaigrette: 

1. To a small bowl, add vinegar, maple syrup, and mustard; whisk together. 

2. Whuke whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in the oil to form an emulsion. 

3. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. 

 

To serve: 

1. To a large bowl, add the roasted pumpkin, arugula, pomegranate seeds, and just enough dressing to coat ingredients. 

2. Toss gently and top with pecans and Parmesan.

3. Serve immediately.

 

Perfect Cranberry Relish 

Yield: about 3 cups 

You can make this cranberry sauce up to 2 days ahead, cover, and store in the refrigerator. Let sauce come to room temperature before serving.  

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 (12-ounce) package fresh or frozen cranberries 
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest  
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper  

Directions:

1. To a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, add all ingredients.

2. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.

3. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened and reduced, about 10 minutes.

4. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

5. Cool sauce to room temperature before serving.

 

Herb Brined Roasted Chicken 

Yield: 4 to 6 servings 

 Dry brine needs a minimum of 24 hours to work its magic, and can be done up to 3 days in advance. When roasting chicken, the general rule of thumb is to allow 20 minutes of cooking time for every pound. To be certain the chicken is fully roasted, use an instant-read thermometer. When inserted into the thigh, thermometer should register at 165°F.                                                                                                                                

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons sea salt 
  • 1 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary 
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley 
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme 
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest 
  • 1 (4 to 5 pound) roasting chicken, patted dry 
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed 
  • 1 whole lemon, quartered 
  • 1 onion, cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • 1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • Freshly ground black pepper 

Directions:  

1. To a small bowl, add salt, fresh herbs and lemon zest; stir to combine.  

2. Loosen skin from the meat with your fingers or the end of a wooden spoon.

3. With your hands, rub the salt and herb mixture liberally over the chicken and under the skin. 

4. Transfer chicken to a baking dish and refrigerate, uncovered, on the bottom shelf for 24 hours. 

  

Preheat oven to 450°F.  

 

To roast the chicken: 

1. Transfer chicken to the rack of a roasting pan. Add garlic, lemon, onion, celery, and carrots to the chicken cavity and season the outside of chicken with pepper.

2. Tuck the wings underneath the chicken and tie legs together with kitchen twine. 

3. Place chicken in the oven and roast until skin is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thigh meat registers 165°F, about 30 minutes more. 

5. Remove roasting pan from oven and lift the chicken on the rack out of the pan and discard vegetables from inside the cavity.

6. Transfer chicken to a cutting board with a well and cover loosely with foil.

7. Allow chicken to rest for 15 minutes. 

8. While chicken is resting, pour pan juices from roasting pan into a fat separator and set aside for making gravy.  

 

To serve: Remove twine from chicken and carve; serve immediately. 

 

Lump-Free Gravy 

Yield: 8 servings 

You can make the gravy ahead and refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months.

 

Ingredients: 

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1 shallot, minced 
  • 4 large garlic cloves, halved 
  • 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour 
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or chicken drippings  
  • 1 cup dry white wine 
  • 4 fresh sage leaves 
  • 1 fresh thyme sprig 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions: 

1. To a large saucepan set over medium heat, add butter. When butter melts and foam subsides, add shallot and garlic and sauté, stirring often, until shallot softens, about 5 minutes.

2. Sprinkle flour over the shallots and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 1/2 minutes to form a roux. 

3. Whisk in the chicken broth, wine, sage, thyme, and bay leaves.

4. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

5. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.

6. Strain gravy through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids. 

7. Serve immediately or refrigerate if making ahead. 

 

No Fail Potato Mash 

Yield: 8 to 10 servings 

 The russet potato, also known as the baking or Idaho potato, has low moisture and high starch, qualities that yield wonderfully light and fluffy mashed potatoes. The key to that fluffy texture is to process the hot potatoes in a ricer or food mill.  

 

Ingredients:

  • 5 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks 
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sea salt, divided 
  • 1 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream 
  • 1 1/3 cup whole milk 
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces  
  • Freshly ground black pepper 

Directions:

1. To a large pot, add the potatoes and cover with cold water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat and add 1 tablespoon salt.

2. Lower heat to medium, cover partially, and simmer until potatoes are tender and can be pierced with a fork with little to no resistance, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain potatoes in a colander. 

3. While potatoes are cooking, to a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, add cream, milk, butter, and remaining 2 teaspoons salt.  Cook until butter is melted, 3 to 4 minutes, and remove from heat. 

4. Set a potato ricer on the rim of the pot used to cook potatoes. Fill the ricer halfway with cooked potatoes and press them through. Continue until all potatoes have been riced. 

5. Using a silicone spatula, mix the cream mixture, adding a little at a time, into the riced potatoes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. 

 

To serve: Mound potatoes in a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately. (Potatoes can be made a few hours ahead, dotted with 1 tablespoon butter, loosely covered with foil, and kept in a warm oven.) 

 

Pumpkin Tart with Whipped Cream 

Yield: 1, 11-inch tart 

 

Sweet tart crust:  

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2- inch pieces 
  • 2 large egg yolks 
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons cold water 

Pumpkin filling:  

  • 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree 
  • 3 large eggs 
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract 
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream 

Whipped cream: 

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream 
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste 

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

 

Make the crust: 

1. To the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, add flour, sugar, and salt; pulse to blend. 

2. Add the cold butter pieces and pulse, just until the butter is the size of large peas.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons water.

4. Add yolk mixture to the butter mixture and process just until the dough begins to form small clumps, about 5 seconds.

5. Test the dough by squeezing a handful of clumps; when you open your hand they should hold together.

6. If they are crumbly and fall apart, sprinkle another 1 tablespoon water over the dough, pulse a few more times and test again. 

7. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured work surface and knead gently 2 to 3 times, just to finish bringing it together.

8. The dough is now ready to use, or wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.  

 

To prepare tart shell: 

1. Press dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of a11-inch tart pan with removable bottom.

2. Transfer tart shell to the freezer to chill until firm while you make the filling.

  

To make filling: 

1. To a large bowl, add pumpkin. Whisk in the eggs, 1 at a time, until thoroughly combined.

2. Add sugars and spices. Lastly, whisk in cream.

3. Pour the filling into the unbaked tart crust. 

4. Bake until the filling is firm in the center, about 35 minutes. 

5. Transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. 

 

To make whipped cream: 

1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, add cream, sugar, and vanilla paste.

2. Whip until medium stiff peaks form. 

3. Transfer cream to a pastry bag with a medium star tip, if desired.  

 

To serve: Decorate tart with whipped cream using the pastry or dollop cream over tart slices before serving.  

 

 

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