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A Dressed Up Holiday Menu

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This menu is luxury on a plate, featuring a show-stopping beef roast with a creamy morel mushroom sauce and chocolate soufflés.

This menu practically screams special occasion (and feeds a small crowd), starting with the salt-crusted standing rib roast. The crust blankets the roast while it cooks, sealing in all the juices and infusing the meat with flavor. The result is tender, perfectly medium-rare beef that’s seasoned all the way through. With a creamy sauce of dried morel mushrooms and Marsala wine, it’s luxury on a plate.

The menu is completed with winter vegetables at their best: A silky puréed cauliflower soup; rainbow chard and fennel sparkling with fresh lemon segments and Parmigiano shavings; and buttery little Yukon Gold potato cakes. Easy recipes, sophisticated results. Want something a little more casual? Try the dressed-down version of this menu.

Download a pdf  of this menu, including all recipes, shopping list, and timeline.

Menu Timeline

One to seven days ahead:

  • Make and freeze the chocolate soufflés.

Five hours ahead:

  • Make the cauliflower soup.
  • Let the rib roast sit out for an hour.
  • Prepare and shape the potato cakes.

Three hours ahead:

  • Blanch the chard and prepare the remaining ingredients for the chard recipe.
  • Sear the beef, cover it with the dough, and roast.

One hour ahead:

  • Make the morel sauce.
  • Make the almond and pepper relish.

Thirty minutes ahead:

  • Finish the potato cakes.

Before dinner:

  • Reheat the soup.
  • Finish cooking the chard.

Before dessert:

  • Bake the soufflés and make the whipped cream.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce:

  • 4 large bunches rainbow or Swiss chard (about 3-1/2 lb.)
  • 1-3/4 lb. cauliflower florets
  • 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb. medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 3 medium lemons
  • 1/2 lb. watercress
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb, plus 1/2 cup chopped fronds
  • 1/4 cup finely diced shallots
  • 2 oz. dried morels, preferably small
  • 3 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme (stems included)
  • 2 Tbs. chopped juniper berries
  • 1 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh mint
  • 1 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh chives
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh tarragon or thyme
  • 1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Meat, Eggs & Dairy:

  • One 3-bone standing beef rib roast (about 7 lb.)
  • 2-1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 7 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 8 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. whole milk

Other Groceries:

  • 1 cup dry Marsala
  • 6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, preferably 64% cacao
  • 1/4 cup jarred piquillo peppers
  • 1/4 cup Marcona or regular almonds
  • 1 Tbs. dark rum

Pantry Staples:

  • 2 to 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • 13 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 10 medium cloves garlic plus 2 Tbs. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. light brown or demerara sugar
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt

Wine pairings:
Consider beginning the meal with a sparkling rosé. The estate grown and bottled Catalonian Raventós i Blanc L’Hereu de Nit Reserva Rosé 2006 ($16) has a delicate salmon hue, tiny bubbles, and the flavors of soft, ripe tart fruits. Then move on to another Spanish wine, this time a white with floral tones and deep body to pair with the rich beef and morel sauce, such as the Cellers Unió Roureda Llicorella Blanc 2005 ($36) from the Priorat region.

The Menu

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