Herb and Citrus Roast Leg of Lamb
Orange and lemon in the marinade make for a bright counterpoint to the earthy cumin. Stuff leftovers into pitas, and drizzle with yogurt.
Maple-Mustard Glazed Fresh Ham
Fresh ham is different from the cured ham you may be used to. It's juicy, full of rich pork flavor, and much less salty—a wonderful special-occasion roast. Serve with Brussels sprouts and mashed sweet potatoes.
Sage and Garlic-Rubbed Cornish Hens
The highlight of your meal is going to be a bird that's a twist on the classic. Because the hens are roasted spread out flat (called spatchcocking), the Thanksgiving main course is ready in less than an hour. You can't beat that.
Perfect Beef Tenderloin
Inspired by J. Kenji López-Alt, author of The Food Lab and managing culinary director of Serious Eats, we take a 3-step, 5-ingredient approach to the best holiday roast: First, season, chill, and air-dry the beef overnight to create a flavorful crust; second, slow roast in a low oven to keep it extra juicy; and third, broil a few minutes to brown it. Serve with Board Dressing, Classic Horseradish Cream Sauce, or both. You can build the sauce on the cutting board where you'll carve your roast. Chop, stir, and mound the ingredients. Then rest the cooked roast on the dressing, roll it, and carve it so the roast's juices and the dressing marry.
• • Gluten-Free Tip: Like other dairy products, be sure your butter doesn't contain additives with gluten.
Grapefruit, Endive, and Arugula Salad
Give yourself the gift of one worry-free dish this holiday season. This 15-minute, no-cook, citrus-flecked salad tastes best when it sits at least 10 minutes. No guest will be able to resist our lemony homemade vinaigrette, which adds sweet flavor without lots of fat, calories, or carbs. Tossing the endive leaves in the vinaigrette first softens their bitter edge. You could also sub thinly sliced fennel or chopped Romaine hearts. Top with chopped walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese, and grapefruit slices.
Sheet Pan Roasted Vegetables
A mix of colorful root vegetables may be your star side. Peeled, prechopped butternut squash saves time, but pieces tend to be irregular and small—we prefer peeling and cubing it yourself.
Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Pomegranate and Pine Nuts
For a bit of showmanship, bring the whole cauliflower to the table, and then "carve" and dress with the vinaigrette, pomegranate arils, pine nuts, and parsley.
Sweet Potato Stacks with Sage Browned Butter
Holiday sweet potato sides can lean toward too-sweet territory; a dose of salty, nutty Parmesan balances the flavor in these adorable, delicious stacks. Get the kids to help by having them stack the slices and cheese in muffin cups as you follow behind with the browned butter. Use small potatoes so the slices will fit into the muffin cups. Make sure to slice the potatoes on the thin side, about 1⁄4-inch thick, so they’ll cook through (insert a toothpick in the center of each stack to test for doneness). You can also alternate with slices of baking potato or parsnip for pretty white and orange layers.
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
Keep mashed potatoes warm by placing in a heatproof bowl, covering with plastic wrap, and setting over a saucepan of gently simmering water. This will keep them moist and warm without scorching. A ricer finely breaks up the cooked potatoes without activating the potato starches, which could make the consistency gluey. It also allows the butter and liquid, such as milk or buttermilk, to quickly incorporate so the mash is smooth and free of lumps. If you don't have a ricer, use a potato masher, being careful not to overwork the potatoes. Our Butternut-Swirled Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Mashed Potatoes variations require a little extra time but are well worth the effort.
Potato and Leek Gratin
A mandoline will slice the potatoes quickly and to the same thickness, though a sharp knife will also work. Instead of being buried in cream, the potatoes and leeks are simmered in and drizzled with milk so the potatoes get wonderfully crisp and tender and the cheeses form a melty, golden crust. The result is a rich, rustic potato side with contrasting flavors and textures—a bit of crunch to round out the stuffing, sauces, and mashes on the plate. Reheat leftovers in the oven until crisped and warmed through, and then serve with eggs and a side of fruit for breakfast.
Hibiscus Poached Pears
The rosy hue of the hibiscus syrup is a holiday showstopper. Drizzle over spiced poached pears for a dessert that's a bit lighter, gluten-free, and still feels holiday-special. The key to beautifully poached pears is to cook them in just enough liquid to submerge the fruit—any more and the flavor from the spices may be lost. A parchment paper topper and a plate will keep liquid from evaporating too quickly. Reduce additional poaching liquid and reserve as the base for holiday cocktails, the sweet component of a salad dressing, or a drizzle for your cheese board.
For a vegan version, leave out the 1/2 cup of crème fraîche.
Maple-Gingerbread Pots de Crème
The crackly counterpoint to the silky custards occurs when you sprinkle a thin layer of sugar on top and broil to melt. The caramel hardens as it cools.