- Insider asked Michelin-starred chefs to share their favourite main dishes for Christmas dinner, and their tips so you can make them at home.
- Brad Carter, of Carters of Moseley, recommends cooking a big leg of lamb alongside some potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
- Sepia‘s Andrew Zimmerman likes whipping up a whole roasted turbot, which can cook in under 30 minutes.
- Asimakis Chaniotis, of Pied à Terre, loves roasting goose with an orange and honey glaze for Christmas dinner.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
So to give you a little inspiration before you start cooking this week, we asked Michelin-starred chefs to share their favourite main dishes for the holiday feast.
From a show-stopping leg of lamb to a soothing French stew, these dishes will definitely impress your family on Christmas.
Goose will be the star of the show if you serve it as the main course.
Michelin-starred chefs Asimakis Chaniotis and Brad Carter are both planning to make goose for dinner this Christmas.
“This will be the first Christmas I’ve had off in 18 years, it’s the first time I’m cooking at home, and I’m 100% going to roast goose,” Carter, of Carters of Moseley in Birmingham, England, told Insider. “Anyone who likes duck would love goose. The fat content is amazing and obviously brings the flavour, and you get big legs that you can take off separately and cook with the potatoes.”
Chaniotis, the executive chef of Pied à Terre in London, told Insider that he always leaves his goose hanging in the fridge for three to four days before he cooks it so that the skin can become dry – which will help it get crispy in the oven.
Once it’s time to cook, Chaniotis caramelizes the goose with brown butter in a large roasting pan.
“It’s very important to caramelize it everywhere, so it goes crispy and golden brown on every little piece,” he said. “The neck, the thighs, the drumsticks, everything. Spoon it like a baste.”
Chaniotis then puts the goose on an oven tray with the leftover brown butter, as well as some fried shallots and garlic, a few sprigs of thyme and bay leaves, honey, and half a litre of orange juice.
“This is basically a goose a l’Orange,” he added. “You bring this honey and oil stock to a boil and then you put the goose in the oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for four hours.”
During those four hours, open the oven every 10 minutes and glaze your goose with the orange and honey glaze.
“It gives more colour to the goose, even if the temperature is quite low, and gives it a nice sweetness as well,” Chaniotis said.
Once your goose reaches 122 degrees Fahrenheit, take it out of the oven and let it rest for half an hour before your start slicing and serving it.
As for Carter, he loves to traditionally roast his goose and stuff it with sausage meat.
“It’s a bit like meatloaf,” he said. “With smoked bacon, some herbs like rosemary and sage. And then, obviously, roast the potatoes in goose fat.”
A leg of lamb will go perfectly with some potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
“Lamb is normally associated with the springtime, but actually the most full-flavored meat is in the winter,” Carter told Insider. “So it’s a really good choice for a celebration meal.”
Carter recommends cooking the leg for four hours at 200 degrees Fahrenheit – adding some of your favourite herbs alongside it – until the lamb is “pink all the way through.”
And don’t forget to use the lamb fat to cook some potatoes, onions, and Brussels sprouts.
“Just fold through some butter infused with fresh mint and that will be absolutely amazing with the leg of lamb,” he added.
Whole roasted turbot is an impressive dish, and it will cook in under 30 minutes.
“When I’m thinking about stuff to cook for Christmas, it’s usually an excuse to do something a little more elaborate,” Andrew Zimmerman, the executive chef of Sepia in Chicago, told Insider. “And one of the nice things about roasting a whole turbot is the fish is so delicious, it’s going to do most of the work for you.”
Zimmerman recommends getting a turbot that weighs between two and 2.5 pounds to feed three to four people, and asking the fishmonger to clean and gut it for you.
When you’re ready to roast, lay the turbot on a bed of aromatic vegetables – including thin slices of celery, fennel, and onion.
“I usually like to roast the fish at a fairly high temperature, about 425 or 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and then let it rest,” he added. “It should take about 18 to 22 minutes, but keep in mind I’m pulling it out when it’s not quite cooked all the way because I let it rest and carry over. That way it’s going to be as moist, juicy, and perfect as possible.”
If you want something soothing, garbure — a traditional French stew — may be just what you’re after.
“Garbure is mostly associated with Southwestern France,” Zimmerman said. “It’s rich, delicious, and full of flavour, and requires very little heavy lifting for Christmas dinner.”
Zimmerman’s garbure includes duck confit, sausage, beans, and plenty of vegetables – including celery, onions, cabbage, carrots, leeks, and turnips.
He recommends making the duck confit a week in advance (you can purchase it too). And the garbure actually tastes better if you make it a day or two before Christmas.
“Garbure, like most stews, improves with a sort of cooling and heating and hanging around a day or so,” Zimmerman said. “It benefits from being made well in advance.”
Talk about a stress-free Christmas dinner!
Leave the turkey for Thanksgiving and serve up some lobster motoyaki at Christmas instead.
“My favourite main Christmas dish is my dad’s lobster motoyaki,” Mari Katsumura, the executive chef at Yūgen in Chicago, told Insider. “It’s a whole lobster split in half, steamed, and then topped with this sweet miso Japanese hollandaise and broiled until golden brown.”
Katsumura loves the lobster motoyaki so much, she’ll be serving it on the Christmas carryout menu at Yūgen this year.
“This dish always makes me think of the holidays and celebrations,” she added.
Take some inspiration from the UK and serve up beef Wellington, a classic British dish.
Carter also recommends making beef Wellington for Christmas because it’s a “show-stopping dish eaten at really special times.”
The dish features beef fillet and mushrooms wrapped in pastry, but Carter has a few tips to make it even more impressive.
While some beef Wellington recipes call for the beef to be wrapped in pancakes, Carter actually covers his meat in charcuterie.
And when it comes to the sauce, Carter recommends enriching it with some bone marrow to really take the flavour up a notch.
Or make this venison from legendary restaurateur Daniel Boulud.
Boulud told Insider that he always offers his grain-crusted venison at Daniel – one of his restaurants in New York City – during the holiday season.
To start, first season your venison with salt and pepper. Then, in a shallow bowl, mix 3 tablespoons of oat flakes, 2 tablespoons of flax seeds, and 2 tablespoons of sunflower seeds. In a separate bowl, mix two tablespoons of flour with ½ teaspoon of cocoa powder.
Lightly dust the top side of each venison portion with your flour and cocoa mix. Then brush your venison with a beaten egg and dip it into the grain crust mixture, pressing to help it stick.
Melt butter until it foams in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Then place the venison crust side down into the pan and sear it for three minutes to toast the crust while basting with butter. Turn the venison over, add garlic and thyme, then continue to sear over medium heat while basting the top for three more minutes until the venison is rare.
Remove your meat from the heat and let it rest in the warm butter for five minutes while you make the sauce. The gentle heat will help carry over the temperature to medium-rare.
To make the sauce, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium high-heat and roast the venison trim for six to eight minutes, turning frequently. When the trim is golden brown, add two shallots (peeled and sliced), two carrots (cut into 1-inch pieces), one stalk of celery (cut into 1-inch pieces), one clove of garlic, one sprig of thyme, and two juniper berries.
Cook everything together, stirring often, for five minutes. Then add 1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar. After the vinegar has evaporated, add 1 cup of demi-glace or beef stock and ¼ cup of water. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until the sauce has reduced to your desired consistency, then pass it through a fine mesh sieve. Return the sauce to a small pot and keep it warm.
Once you’re ready to serve, bring your sauce to a simmer and stir in 1 teaspoon of English or Dijon mustard and 1 tablespoon of butter, along with salt and pepper.
Boulud typically pairs the dish with red cabbage that’s been cooked in beer, and says his above recipe can also be used to prepare roasted duck or fowl instead of venison.
- Read more:
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- Michelin-star chefs share easy recipes you can make at home, from one-pot dinners to 30-minute meals
- Michelin-star chefs share 7 hacks to make your turkey the star of Thanksgiving