These main courses take a starring role in any holiday meal.
Salt, pepper, and a rib roast are literally the only ingredients you need for this. Because all the flavor comes from the meat itself and its slow, low-temperature roasting, it's a good idea to splurge on the highest-quality beef you can get (USDA prime grade is hard to find, and expensive, but worth it). The leftovers will make for some of the best roast-beef sandwiches you'll ever have. See more prime rib recipes.
This recipe comes from the Sephardic Jewish cuisine of Spain and North Africa. A simple seasoning of lemon, paprika, and thyme gives the chicken Mediterranean flavor, and high-temperature roasting ensures beautifully browned skin. An easy gravy made from the drippings completes the dish, making it suitable as a weeknight family meal or as the centerpiece to a small dinner party.
Not every holiday meal has to feature a big hunk of meat at the center of the table. This dish encapsulates fall flavor with steamed Brussels sprouts and crunchy hazelnuts, a creamy Parmesan sauce, and just a little bit of bacon. To make this a vegetarian-friendly entrée, use vegetable broth instead of chicken, and serve the crumbled bacon on the side.
Any time you cook a 10-pound ham, there are bound to be leftovers. This recipe takes advantage of your extras and is delicious hot or cold, on fine china or on sandwich bread. The marsala-wine glaze gives wonderful color and sweetness to an already impressive presentation.
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.
High-heat roasting makes this bird browned and beautiful, and truffle-scented homemade gravy makes it an extra-special treat. The holidays are a time for indulgence, and since this recipe calls for only a few ingredients, use the best quality you can.
This roast turkey variation is both sweet and spicy, just the thing to keep your guests on their toes. Poblano peppers and flavors from whole apples and cider give new meaning to a holiday classic.
Savory reigns supreme in this quick recipe that looks like it took hours of slaving in the kitchen to prepare. Garnish the top with a little fresh parsley right before serving with noodles, rice or boiled potatoes.
The deep rich colored sauce is full of sour-sweet savor that comes from vinegar, cherries, and cipollini onions. For a wine pairing, try Cantina Zaccagnini Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2007, il vino "dal tralcetto". It keeps up with both the sweet and sour notes in this dish.
Prepare the filling, stuff the tenderloins, roll, and tie them a day ahead. Let them stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before cooking. You won't need any cranberry sauce, as the sweet and savory apple-cranberry stuffing does double duty. If you can't find turkey tenderloins, use skinless, boneless turkey breast halves.
In its most simple state, a cassoulet is a slow-simmering bean dish with little bits of meat or sausage. A mixture of meat adds depth, and the medley of sausages here (versus traditional large hunks of slow-cooking meats) speeds up the cook time without sacrificing flavor. Look for D'Artagnan sausages at specialty stores, or order online from dartagnan.com. Open some great red wine, and chase this course with a bitter green salad.
You’ll need to prepare the Homemade Turkey Broth ahead—a day or two in advance is ideal. In a pinch, use purchased fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth.
Because you’re starting with a boneless cut, the brining time is much shorter than if using a whole bird. That makes this meal a great choice for an impromptu holiday gathering that still warrants an impressive dish.
Sweet citrus like oranges, tangerines, or clementines can stand in for the brilliant gold satsumas. But keep in mind that satsuma rind is milder than orange rind.
Browning the coriander seeds and cumin seeds called for in this recipe is a truly fragrant experience. Honey makes this sweet spice mixture absolutely delectable when glazed over a smoked ham.
This savory pie is full of flavor. Make it as a filling vegetarian option to serve with your holiday meal or let it stand alone as the main star on your dining room table.
A sweet sauce is common with roast leg of lamb, but this one has so much more depth of flavor than the traditional mint jelly. And the crunchy pine nuts add depth of texture as well. The lamb itself gets loads of flavor from marinating overnight in a lemon-spice-onion mixture before cooking.
Large bone-in roasts always make holiday meals feel special. This one, with only seven ingredients, is easy as can be. About 2 hours of roasting yields medium-rare perfection with a crusty exterior that will elicit oohs and aahs when you slice it at the table.
Salmon is a common entrée at Hanukkah meals, because many traditional dishes feature dairy ingredients, which kosher dietary laws prohibit mixing with red meat or poultry. This Asian-flavored fish dish is extra tender from long, low-temperature cooking, and is matched perfectly by the creamy rice and crisp stir-fried bok choy.
The name sounds like something you'd find in a three-star restaurant, and the finished dish lives up to the name. Wonderfully creamy polenta and deeply earthy mushrooms complement a simply flavored roast chicken that's juicy and delicious. This dish is perfect for smaller gatherings where a whole turkey or roast would just be too much.
This is one of the best ways to prepare pork loin. Overnight brining ensures a tender and juicy end result, and flavors the meat all the way through. Rolled around a delicious stuffing piquant with kalamata olives, the final product is beautiful as well.
Our variation on the classic French wintertime dish uses meaty squash for body, rendering it much more healthful than the original. Though not as traditional as a turkey, ham, or roast, this is a great main course for a smaller holiday gathering or intimate dinner party.
Roasted turkey is an absolute must for any Thanksgiving, so if you're looking to shake things up a bit, the stuffing is a better place to start. Savory sausage (try hot Italian sausage if you like spicy) and sage, an herb that just tastes like Thanksgiving in any application, get a kick in the pants from sweet dried apricot, which provides contrast in both flavor and texture. Cooking the stuffing inside the turkey suffuses the meat with a subtle sage-and-apricot scent, but if you're uncomfortable doing that, just cook it in a separate pan.
We use red snapper in this dish, but cod, haddock, halibut, or other fresh white fillets will work. Rouille (roo-EE) is traditionally spicy; add 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper, if you like.
Mint, a favored partner for lamb, fits nicely into the gremolata. Serve these tender shanks with polenta, mashed potatoes, or risotto and broccoli rabe.
A variety of black, white, pink, and green peppercorns updates the standard au poivre coating. The deeply flavored, slightly sweet sauce balances the spice of the pepper. Serve with haricots verts and mashed potatoes.
You can use a double layer of turkey brining bags, then keep the bagged turkey in a stockpot in the refrigerator to guard against punctures. Garnish the turkey with fresh herbs and apples, if desired. For more great variations on this roast turkey recipe try: Roast Turkey with Onion and Cranberry Chutney, Shallot and Sage-Roasted Turkey with Shallot Gravy.
Remove the turkey liver from the giblets so your broth won’t become bitter. Freeze any extra broth, and use it in soups, stews, and sauces. Rich, full-flavored, and worth the effort, homemade broth or stock makes a good dish great.
If you don’t want to spend your entire Turkey Day in the kitchen, this is the entrée for you. A bold spice rub gives the meat big flavor and gorgeous color.
Nine ingredients (not counting salt, pepper, and cooking spray) come together for a grand holiday centerpiece with deep nutty essence from toasted walnut oil and chopped nuts. Let your turkey come to room temperature before it goes in the oven; it will cook more evenly and more quickly.
Brining a turkey is well worth the day-ahead time investment. It removes all guesswork, producing an incredibly moist bird that's more forgiving of being slightly overcooked. If you can't find an organic turkey, look for a fresh one without "added solution."