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Christmas Dinner discussion

roxlet Nov 18, 2010 12:04 PM

We used to make goose for Christmas, and then, since we weren't thrilled with the mittle European go-withs (things with prunes, and apples and such) we switched to a proper English meal with a standing rib roast, yorkshire pudding, scalloped potatoes, multiple green vegetables and stilton and sticky toffee pudding among the dessert board (we even acquired a celery vase and a cracker caddy for the stilton). I would like to do something different this year, and I am fooling around with the notion of a crown roast of pork. The problems with this are the following -- 1. the dh thinks that a crown roast is not a good way to cook meat since the thickest part of the meat is in the center, covered by stuffing, and 2. we think we will run into the same problem with the side dishes as we did with the goose. We don't want to do a turkey since we do that for Thanksgiving. Does anyone do something unusual for Christmas dinner, and what are your favorite Christmas meals? Also, I would love some ideas for side dishes for a pork roast. Thanks for your help!

  1. weewah Dec 4, 2010 11:50 PM

    Leg of lamb would be my choice, but no-one else in my family likes it!

    1. m
      mawnyc521 Nov 29, 2010 04:29 PM

      I have had friends make this Jamie Oliver lamb recipe many times and it is DELICIOUS. It would satisfy those that want meat well done, because it is slow roasted it stays very moist. The table side presentation is lovely (they always pull it apart right at the table). It sort of makes a pulled/shredded lamb dish. http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/la...

      1. TheKitchenHotline Nov 29, 2010 01:23 PM

        In stead of one giant roast go with three or four smaller ones. Toast a small Boston butt, a capon and maybe a beef tender loin. I saw Jamie Oliver to a big roasting dish like that once and he did four roasts all in one giant pan.

        1. roxlet Nov 22, 2010 08:19 AM

          We just learned and are delighted that my son's coach from Egypt will probably be joining us again this year for Christmas, but that sort of obviates the crown roast of pork issue!

          6 Replies
          1. re: roxlet
            buttertart Nov 22, 2010 08:28 AM

            Back to square one!

            1. re: buttertart
              roxlet Nov 22, 2010 10:32 AM

              Unfortunately, yes. I have a sneaking suspicion that we will be serving prime rib. Oh, well.

              1. re: roxlet
                coll Nov 22, 2010 12:16 PM

                Crown roast of lamb could work?

                1. re: coll
                  roxlet Nov 22, 2010 02:11 PM

                  And it would certainly appeal to an Egyptian!

                  1. re: roxlet
                    buttertart Nov 23, 2010 11:14 AM

                    Well-done, though. Rather eat well-done beef if I had to than lamb, by far.

                    1. re: buttertart
                      roxlet Nov 23, 2010 11:31 AM

                      Yes, when you wrote this, I realized that we would probably have the same problem with well-done vs properly cooked lamb as with the beef. Short ribs, anyone?

          2. buttertart Nov 20, 2010 03:47 PM

            roxlet - Celery vase. Only you!

            2 Replies
            1. re: buttertart
              roxlet Nov 20, 2010 04:03 PM

              And maybe you?

              1. re: roxlet
                buttertart Nov 21, 2010 04:09 PM

                Didn't have room until this move... My mother had one, which is long gone unfortunately - she was forever getting rid of stuff that was oldfashioned!

            2. Caroline1 Nov 20, 2010 12:08 PM

              Depends on how many of you there will be. For four years running, my standard Christmas dinner was oysters Rockefeller, standing prime ribs of beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast goose with chestnut/Grand Marnier stuffing, and a whole roast suckling pig with an apple in its mouth and a red velvet ribbon with a sprig of holly around its neck, all followed up with a tower of a flaming plum pudding filled with an ice cream bombe. Those years there were always at least twenty adults at the table and a table full of kids in the kitchen.

              Years later, when I couldn't find a whole suckling pig anywhere, I did find a whole pig head in a Mexican market, glazed and roasted it as a boars head and served it with a glazed pork tenderloin roulade sliced and surrounding it on a bed of greens with "sugarplum" grapes for garnish. It was VERY festive, and everyone oohed and ahhed and ate all of the pork tenderloin but I don't think anyone ate any of the head. We had great leftovers!

              I've also done beef Wellingtons (large) made with the whole tenderloins and in addition to duxelle, lined the pastry with prosciutto to keep it from getting soggy, then a layer of pate, the duxelle, and a layer of sliced Perigord truffles. Incredibly rich, incredibly good, and never any leftovers no matter how few we invited! '-)

              If you don't have any young kids who will worry whether they're eating Rudolph, venison makes a wonderful Christmas dinner. In fact, I have some venison my brother brought me from his last hunting trip in the freezer I'm thinking of braising for Christmas with cranberries, morels, and German apple wine (if I can find any) and maybe, just for good measure, a goose.

              When Christmas dinner was more "intimate," I've served roast duck with black olives from a recipe by Paul Pelliprat that is possibly my all time favorite way to serve duck. Beats the hell out of oranges!

              I do feel Thanksgiving is just not Thanksgiving if I don't do the whole nine yards with a whole turkey, no matter how small (no roast turkey breasts for me!), but I love Christmas dinner because it frees me of turkey no matter what Ebenezer Scrooge thinks, and gives me a chance to cook as outrageously flamboyant as I like. But when we were poor and my first husband was an Air Force air traffic control student, one year we had a lovely loving Christmas with baked spam with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries on top. It's all what you make of it!

              4 Replies
              1. re: Caroline1
                roxlet Nov 20, 2010 12:28 PM

                Thanks for weighing in on this, Caroline1. Your Christmas feasts sound amazing -- and that's just what they were -- feasts! We are about 12, and I think that all that food would be far too much for our crowd. Beef Wellington is an interesting idea, but I am trying to avoid the duck because of last minute requests for the beef to be well-done, which always annoys my DH.

                This duck recipe intrigues me. I am not a big fan of sweet stuff with protein, so a duck with olives sounds like a fabulous alternative to the usual glop that people insist on serving with duck. Just this week I had duck at our club, and it was listed on the menu as having a cranberry balsamic sauce, but I asked for the morel demi-glace that was being served with another entree. It was fantastic with the duck. We've been doing a duck demi-glace with green peppercorns adapted from The Way To Cook, but if you wouldn't mind sharing the preparation with the olives, maybe we could add it to the rotation.

                1. re: roxlet
                  Caroline1 Nov 20, 2010 07:08 PM

                  Here you go! This is mid-twentieth century French home cooking at its best. Or at least I think so. I don't know whether the Pellaprat cookbook is still in print, but even if you have to buy it used, it is one of my most favorite cookbooks! If I were lost on a desert island that had a stove, I would pray that it would be washed ashore! And this is HEAVILY paraphrased, so no copyright infringement. Enjoy!

                  Duck with Olives (Canard aux Olives)

                  Based on a recipe from “Everyday French Cooking for the American Home” by Henri Paul Pellaprat

                  Preheat oven to 450F

                  4 pound duck, cleaned and ready to cook
                  Salt
                  Freshly ground black pepper
                  1 Tbsp flour
                  ¾ cup chicken stock (or water)
                  ½ cup dry white wine (or a bit less of dry vermouth, which is my choice)
                  2 Tbsp chopped parsley
                  2 dozen pitted olives (Mission, Kalamata or unstuffed green olives)
                  Parsley sprigs

                  Wash and dry the duck and rub it inside and out with salt. “Truss” the duck by bending wingtips under the back “akimbo” style, then if there is a flap of skin across the body opening, tuck the legs under it, (some ducks are sent to market this way) or tie the legs together with butcher’s string. I cut three evenly spaced slashes across each side of the breast with a very sharp knife being careful to ONLY cut the skin and not going through the fat and into the flesh. The duck looks sort of like it has gills in its chest when I'm done. This works much better than piercing the skin with a fork to allow the fat to drain, plus you get more fat without drying out the duck. Place the duck on a rack in a Dutch oven or roasting pan. Roast uncovered in very hot preheated 450F oven for 20 to 25 minutes until duck is brown. Take the duck out of the oven, remove it from the pan and drain the off the fat, then return 2 Tbsps to the pan. (DO NOT DISCARD DUCK FAT! Save it for another day!) Place pan over a moderate burner and add the tablespoon of flour to duck drippings and stir until flour is golden brown. Add the stock and wine and cook until thickened, stirring all the while. Add the chopped parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Return the duck to the pan (without the rack), cover and cook 1 hour or until duck is tender. If you’re using a roasting pan that has no cover, tent it tightly with aluminum foil and cut a slit to vent steam in the top. Meanwhile, if you’re using canned California Mission olives, simmer them in water to cover for five minutes to reduce their saltiness. If you’re using Italian oil cured olives, do the same but maybe twice! It’s not necessary with most Kalamata olives, but whatever olives you’re using, taste them to be sure they’re not overly salty and blanch them if they are. Drain the olives. When duck is done, remove it from the oven and add olives to the sauce and baste duck liberally with sauce before transferring it to a warmed platter. Pour the sauce and olives over it and garnish with sprigs of parsley. Carve at table, or in the kitchen if you prefer. A 4 pound duck should serve 4, but I always prepare 2 ducks just in case. 4 four pound ducks should be plenty for twelve people, and just do them all in the same pan but I would maybe only triple the sauce, but then again, it's really good sauce!

                  If you''re so inclined and given to "Damn the cholesterol, full fat ahead" moments, and if you have two ovens or do it stove top, you can use the duck fat instead of butter to make a fantastic pommes Anna to go with the duck. And I do love my lavender Brussels sprouts with this dish. In the mid-twentieth century French home cooking tradition (at least in s ome French homes, but I look forward to your letters!), with this meal I serve a tossed lightly dressed green salad AFTER the main course and eaten from the dinner plate instead of salad plates. The duck juices add a special dimension to the salad. A Parisienne friend taught me this in the '50s at a Christmas Eve post-mass dinner at her house. Bon Appetite and Joyeaux Noel!.

                  Oh, and the morel demi-glace sounds compelling! Must give it a try and I just happen to have a bunch of dried morel on hand. Fortune smiles! '-)

                  1. re: Caroline1
                    roxlet Nov 21, 2010 04:25 AM

                    Wow! That sounds so wonderful. We will have to try it, and thanks for taking the time to post that recipe.

                    1. re: Caroline1
                      buttertart Nov 21, 2010 04:07 PM

                      This sounds great - there's a recipe for it in the November Saveur I've had my eye on.
                      PS re duck - I always steam mine, pricked all over with a sharp paring knife, for an hour before roasting them. Can hold them overnight just steamed and roast them the next day since they are fully cooked.

                2. b
                  breadfan Nov 19, 2010 08:09 AM

                  How about Porchetta? Butterfly a boned out pork shoulder, layer with herbs, garlic etc... roll, wrap in the skin and roast. I did mine for about 4 hours at 400 degrees, it seems like a lot but the skin turns to cracklins and the pork is juicy, tender and flavorful.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: breadfan
                    roxlet Nov 19, 2010 11:36 AM

                    That sounds delicious. I particularly like wrapping the roast with the skin, which must keep it moist.

                    1. re: roxlet
                      c
                      chefdaddyo Nov 20, 2010 09:44 AM

                      I'll second w/ melply on the crown roast stuffing issue. Use extra heavy foil to form a 'pan' that's sized evenly with the pork. Bake, and drop in just before serving. Perfect end result always trumps the presentation. Our house strays every few years from the Angus rib roast, but always comes back to the beef. In the past we've done goose, suckling pig, the Wellington, and WS hens stuffed w/ wild rice. All were good, but the rib roast always wins! And, makes the best leftovers. How about potato and fennel gratin?

                  2. melpy Nov 19, 2010 07:18 AM

                    My family has made crown roast many Christmases and we have always cooked the roast without the stuffing and then added it back in at the end to ensure even cooking. We make a cornbead apple stuffing with sauteed almond slivers. Usually some type of green beans, homemade apple sauce and warm rolls and salad occupany the meal.

                    Other years we have made filet mignon and baked stuffed shrimp, with salad, roasted potatoes and a green vegetable.

                    We are Italian-American and you could always switch it up and do a feast of the fishes on Christmas instead of X-mas Eve (we don't actually make X-mas dinner, just the night before but we invited people who don't eat fish so we have a fish course and the rest is what you read above).

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: melpy
                      roxlet Nov 20, 2010 10:04 AM

                      I'm Italian-American but my DH is not, so our usual Christmas Eve dinner is a mere nod in the direction of the Feast of the Fishes: he makes a lobster stew and then we have an endive, roquefort and walnut salad with a mustard vinaigrette. It's so delicious that I don't miss the other fishes!

                      1. re: roxlet
                        melpy Dec 1, 2010 11:13 AM

                        Lobster Stew sounds yummy! Post the recipe if you can :)

                        My parents stick to crab or lobster fra diavolo, shrimp scampi over linguine as primi piatti for out group. My uncle however goes all out with the fish only. Scungili, eel, baked stuffed lobster/shrimp, shrimp cocktail, fried flounder, lobster tails etc.

                        1. re: melpy
                          roxlet Dec 5, 2010 03:18 AM

                          I will ask my DH.

                    2. g
                      givemecarbs Nov 19, 2010 02:25 AM

                      My mom used to serve crown roast of pork or lamb for the holidays. The presentation can't be beat and both were yummy. Sometimes she even put the decorative paper frills on the crown roast.

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: givemecarbs
                        melpy Nov 19, 2010 07:22 AM

                        Gotta have the frills (or hats as the kiddies called them!)

                        1. re: melpy
                          coll Nov 20, 2010 11:08 AM

                          Leg warmers. (If you were around in the '80s)

                          1. re: coll
                            roxlet Nov 20, 2010 11:25 AM

                            Funny! I never heard that!

                            1. re: roxlet
                              coll Nov 20, 2010 11:32 AM

                              I probably made it up. Every New Years my MIL made lamb crown roast which had to have those little booties on. Always some ribbing from the audience, pun intended!

                              1. re: roxlet
                                buttertart Nov 20, 2010 03:52 PM

                                We called them panties.

                          2. re: givemecarbs
                            chef chicklet Nov 20, 2010 05:19 PM

                            Make it~
                            one of my most memorable holiday dinners was served to us by good friends (my husband's boss at the time and his wife, my youngest son's God-parents). The boss truly was an excellent cook and each holiday party or dinner he did the cooking and it was wonderful. For this particular Christamas dinner party he made a crown roast of lamb with stuffing.

                            While cocktails were served and enjoyed, I could tell that they were pretty busy in the kitchen and me being nosey, wanted to see this how this lamb roast was done.

                            He heated the stuffing seperately in a casserole then at the half way cooking time when they turned the lamb they filled it with the stuffing, covered the bones with foil and let if roast the rest of way. I am telling you it was excellent! Sides were mashed potatoes, acorn squash done fancy, and spinach gratin. The sauce he made to go with the lamb was incredible, and I could not get the recipe from him.

                            What's unfortunate is that he passed away never sharing his recipe ( he had plans to write a cookbook) but his wife told me that he had used quite a bit of Lea Perrins in the sauce. I personally couldn't wrap my head around that ingredient being in there. Oh well it will forever be a mystery. But omg, the sauce I'm not kidding you was lick the bowl good.

                            If I were you, I'd make it, It is so impressive and them being dramatic people, when we were served, he asked one of the guys to bring it out on a tray to show us. Then table side, he carved the chops for each of us. The side dishes were equally as nice and were placed on the dining table to serve ourselves family style. For dessert, if things weren't difficult enough he made vanilla souffles. This is a man that loved his employees.

                            To this day, all I can say is I think I could do the stuffing nicely, and roast it just right, but for certain I wish - I wish, I had the recipe for that sauce.

                            1. re: chef chicklet
                              roxlet Nov 21, 2010 04:24 AM

                              Great story, chef chicklet, and it sounds like it was a fabulous meal!

                              1. re: roxlet
                                chef chicklet Nov 21, 2010 08:22 AM

                                Thanks roxlet, that was just one of the many stories. One Christamas he hired the high school choir that came in during the soup course, they sang to us from the foyer. While other young kids dresed in black and white attire, worked as waiters serving us a delcious consomme in Russian tea cups. I mIss him dearly.
                                Vail Co., now that was something else!

                          3. g
                            gembellina Nov 19, 2010 01:18 AM

                            Christmas is always turkey, unfortunately, but it's more about the sides. Stuffing is paramount, and our usually has chicken livers, turkey giblets, chestnuts and sausagemeat. I'd imagine you could doctor that with some cranberries or something else a bit sour and sweet to help the richness of goose if you decide to do it in a non-european style. Then chipolata sausages wrapped in bacon are also a must-have. Potatoes roasted in duck/goose fat. Carrots and parnisps with honey and mustard. Brussels with bacon and chestnuts. BREAD SAUCE. Redcurrant jelly. I think you could have all of these things with goose.

                            http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/nov...

                            I just tore out a recipe for a celeriac and hazelnut dauphinois which sounds pretty wintry to me.

                            1. mattstolz Nov 18, 2010 07:57 PM

                              im thinking i wanna do a Feast of Seven Fishes this year. we're in Florida so getting good fish shouldnt be much of a issue. just have to think of how i wanna serve them, and what kinds!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: mattstolz
                                roxlet Nov 19, 2010 03:11 AM

                                That's usually done for Christmas Eve -- at least for Italians.

                              2. jen kalb Nov 18, 2010 02:53 PM

                                I know; you are really asking about the meat, but a couple of years back I made an excellent boozy fruity trifle that was a huge hit - refreshing and very festive after a big meal.

                                Had made Yule logs in the past but liked this better.

                                Christmas is so exhausting that I think something fairly laid back is nice for the Christmas dinner tho we vacillate between a big fancy meal and going into a coma. I do love making a goose! goose is traditional in England and elsewhere too, so no reason to stick with a middle european theme. I would think that many of the same things that would work with pork would also work with goose - refreshing bitter greens included.. By the way, a cuban style pork leg can be spectacular. Its nice to get it boned out and stuffed with adobo for a terrific flavor.

                                16 Replies
                                1. re: jen kalb
                                  roxlet Nov 18, 2010 03:54 PM

                                  That's an interesting idea, though I'm not sure the kiddies would cotton to adobo, but I'd love to eat that. Porchetta maybe?

                                  I love trifles, but they aren't too mobile. We generally have other folks come for dessert after dinner, so dinner morphs into a dessert party with maybe 25 people or so milling around the dinner table that now is covered in desserts. I think trifle is kind of a sitting at the table dessert, but that might be fun to add to the desserts. I make sticky toffee pudding, struffoli, casateddi, numerous other cookies as well as a cheese plate starring stilton.

                                  1. re: roxlet
                                    jen kalb Nov 19, 2010 07:01 AM

                                    Your dinner sounds wonderful.

                                    We make trifle in a large bowl - it is spoonable onto a plate or into a smaller bowl.

                                    I will dig out the fresh ham in adobo recipe its from Puerto Rican Cookery by Carmen Aboy Valldejuli - http://www.amazon.com/Puerto-Rican-Co...

                                    whats not to like about lots of garlic,salt,oregano and black pepper.its less exotic than the fennel etc in porchetta for sure.

                                    1. re: jen kalb
                                      roxlet Nov 19, 2010 11:37 AM

                                      Thanks, jen kalb!

                                  2. re: jen kalb
                                    buttertart Nov 20, 2010 03:51 PM

                                    My father was English and loved a goose for Christmas. You had to have mashed potatoes, green peas, and applesauce with it. I usually do something between that and the Mitteleuropa thing (goose is a tradition for us too, my husband is crazy about it).
                                    Goose serves relatively few, however, would think you'd need two for 12 people.

                                    1. re: buttertart
                                      JoanN Nov 20, 2010 03:57 PM

                                      I used to make one goose for 5, but that was because one person wouldn't eat it. LOL. I think 2 for 12 would be stretching it. At least for goose lovers.

                                      1. re: JoanN
                                        buttertart Nov 20, 2010 03:58 PM

                                        I was thinking the same, actually. Not much to go around.

                                        1. re: buttertart
                                          Barbara76137 Dec 23, 2011 04:05 PM

                                          I used to have a great uncle who would roast an entire goose for himself every single Sunday.

                                          1. re: Barbara76137
                                            buttertart Dec 23, 2011 04:50 PM

                                            My husband would have me do one a month if he could get away with it. Guess what's for dinner Sunday???

                                            1. re: buttertart
                                              Barbara76137 Dec 23, 2011 05:35 PM

                                              umm........let me guess, rhymes with MOOSE???

                                              1. re: Barbara76137
                                                buttertart Dec 24, 2011 12:49 PM

                                                You got it!

                                    2. re: jen kalb
                                      Caitlin McGrath Nov 22, 2010 03:57 PM

                                      Oh, I made a trifle one year for Christmas that everyone loved. Chopped poached pears, cinnamon pastry cream, and bittersweet chocolate sauce for the layers, topped with whipped cream and shaved chocolate. I couldn't use booze because a guest couldn't have it, but there would be lots of good possibilities, flavorwise (brandy, rum, poire Williams, etc,). It was festive and seasonal and special enough for the holiday. I based it on the classic poires belle Helene combination of chocolate, pear, and cream or ice cream, which I love.

                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                        l
                                        LJS Nov 29, 2010 11:45 AM

                                        I realize the moment in this thread has LONG passed, but I have a Christmas Ginger Trifle that is a big favourite with most.

                                        Instead of pound/ sponge cake: gingerbread
                                        Instead of sherry: Ginger Wine (we used Stone's Green Ginger Wine, but any will do)
                                        Keep the custard layer as is
                                        Instead of fruit: applesauce
                                        Instead of jam: marmalade with ginger if you can find it
                                        Keep the whipped cream layer as is
                                        Instead of almonds to decorate: crystalized ginger

                                        I promise you, this tastes like Christmas! (It also works very well with a gluten-free gingerbread for my celiac daughter and my husband likes this the next day with hot raisin sauce)

                                        1. re: LJS
                                          buttertart Nov 29, 2010 11:49 AM

                                          That sounds a lot better than the one in Saveur this month - these flavors all go together, unlike that mishmash.

                                          1. re: buttertart
                                            biondanonima Nov 29, 2010 01:18 PM

                                            I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought that recipe sounded weird, random and unappealing. Kind of like Rachel's famous trifle on Friends - remember, the one where she accidentally combined two recipes into one trifle, with sauteed beef and vegetables on top of the custard layer? :)

                                            1. re: biondanonima
                                              buttertart Nov 29, 2010 01:19 PM

                                              Yikes.

                                      2. re: jen kalb
                                        buttertart Dec 23, 2011 04:52 PM

                                        The Beast had to trek all the way back to the Key Food in PH to get one this year...$4.98/lb, not bad, they're around $8.95/lb in Manhattan when you can find one.

                                      3. JEN10 Nov 18, 2010 02:26 PM

                                        Lasagna is our traditional Christmas meal. A nice salad of greens on the side is all you really need, along with some good wine and loving guests.

                                        1. JoanN Nov 18, 2010 02:18 PM

                                          I've made crown roasts of pork and had them come out marvelously. But if you're worried about it, why not that same cut, just not tied into a circle. I'm thinking of something like the Standing Rib Roast of Pork from the Zuni Cafe cookbook. Did that for a dinner party not too long ago and it was a huge hit.

                                          I don't do Christmas, but one of the most elegant dinners I ever cooked was for my parents 50th anniversary. I served a whole saddle of lamb and it was just spectacular. Or, you could do racks of lamb. I always find them very festive.

                                          How many are you cooking for, by the way?

                                          18 Replies
                                          1. re: JoanN
                                            roxlet Nov 18, 2010 02:30 PM

                                            We haven't settled our guest list yet, but it will probably be about 12 not including some young 'uns under 8.

                                            1. re: roxlet
                                              JoanN Nov 18, 2010 02:39 PM

                                              I guess that means that just about anything short of a standing rib roast or turkey you'd have to do at least two of?

                                              How about a roasted fillet of beef? I've made this recipe a few times http://books.google.com/books?id=rolu... I used caul fat to wrap the roast and it was wonderful. Very forgiving for a group, too, because it's as good room temp as it is hot.

                                              1. re: JoanN
                                                roxlet Nov 18, 2010 02:44 PM

                                                One of the reasons I'm off beef has to do with the fact that a couple of our usual guests are in the 'well done' beef category, which sends my husband into a snit every Christmas when the guests ask if they can have their meat well done. My husband usually gets prime beef, so this annoys him no end, to say nothing of dealing with special requests as you're trying to get dinner for 12 out. I want to avoid anything that has to be cooked a different way for different guests, which is why the idea of pork appeals to me...

                                                1. re: roxlet
                                                  JoanN Nov 18, 2010 07:43 PM

                                                  Oh, I see. And understand completely. I'd feel the same way.

                                                  My 16th birthday present for my grandson, the gourmand, was a week in New York City. Anything he wanted to do; anywhere he wanted to eat. High on his list was Peter Luger. I told him that if we went to Peter Luger we would order the steak for two and order it medium rare. He could have the more well done pieces, but that was how we were going to order the steak. God bless him, I made a convert. A very proud moment in my life.

                                                  1. re: JoanN
                                                    roxlet Nov 19, 2010 03:10 AM

                                                    These two are very stubborn, and this has been going on for years. We have frequent Egyptian guests who are generally very game about trying medium rare beef even though everything in Egypt is cooked to death. They always say how delicious and juicy the beef is in the US and we tell them it's because it's not well done. Our Xmas guests' tastes are very entrenched however.

                                            2. re: JoanN
                                              l
                                              LJS Nov 20, 2010 11:40 AM

                                              I also was wondering about how many you are going to serve. As long as it is a crowd and we are on the subject of pork and the Zuni Cafe, I can swear by their version of Mock Porchetta. I honestly do not know why it should modestly be labeled 'mock' as it is as good as many made-on-the-spit-in-Italy versions I have enjoyed. We make this frequently for special dinners.

                                              The great thing about the porchetta, as opposed to the roasts you are looking at, is that it will feed 12-16 easily if you simply use a larger piece of meat and double the spicing. A very forgiving, very festive and very delicious alternative to that troublesome Crown Roast of Pork.

                                              1. re: LJS
                                                roxlet Nov 20, 2010 11:42 AM

                                                I think that the lack of this Zuni Cafe cookbook is a huge hole in my cookbook collection, and though I have sworn off more cookbooks for the time being, I may have to make an exception in this case.

                                                1. re: roxlet
                                                  JoanN Nov 20, 2010 02:11 PM

                                                  You won't be sorry. Promise.

                                                  1. re: JoanN
                                                    roxlet Nov 20, 2010 03:17 PM

                                                    I ordered it and it will be in my hot little hands by Tuesday. Somehow, I was under the misapprehension that this was a Mexican or southwestern cookbook. I have never eaten at the restaurant, and somehow I am completely ignorant about the book. I know it gets a lot of love on CH, so I am wondering how I missed it!

                                                    1. re: roxlet
                                                      JoanN Nov 20, 2010 03:37 PM

                                                      Easy misapprehension to make. Zuni is, in my opinion, right up there with Sunday Suppers at Lucques and All About Braising and might even (I'd have to think harder about this) be in my top ten. Never made anything from it that wasn't at least wonderful, often better than that.

                                                      1. re: roxlet
                                                        Caitlin McGrath Nov 22, 2010 12:51 PM

                                                        Zuni Cafe is much loved for its unfussy but excellent California cuisine. When you delve into the book, you might want to look at the COTM threads. Here's the master thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/355995

                                                        As an aside, I don't think roasting a goose limits one to those fruit, etc. accompaniments. We had goose for Christmas when I was growing up, and eventually my mother stopped doing the German grated potato stuffing passed down from my father's parents, and began serving what she felt like, as one might do for T-day.

                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                          roxlet Nov 22, 2010 02:11 PM

                                                          Good point! I saw they did goose on Iron Chef last night (don't know if it was a repeat or not) and I was surprised to see how tentative the judges seemed about it.

                                                          1. re: roxlet
                                                            buttertart Nov 23, 2010 11:19 AM

                                                            What's great is goose breasts roasted pink in a Peking Duck style oven the way you can get them in China...

                                                             
                                                            1. re: buttertart
                                                              roxlet Nov 23, 2010 11:30 AM

                                                              I want it! Yum!

                                                              1. re: roxlet
                                                                buttertart Nov 23, 2010 11:55 AM

                                                                It is totally delicious - they serve it with a chili jam that goes very well.

                                                  2. re: LJS
                                                    JoanN Nov 20, 2010 03:39 PM

                                                    Curious why you call the Crown Roast troublesome. Assuming you had trouble with it? I don't recall anything out of the ordinary.

                                                    1. re: JoanN
                                                      roxlet Nov 21, 2010 01:16 PM

                                                      My husband feels that with the bone one the outside and the fat on the inside, it's hard to get to roast perfectly. I live with a perfectionist.

                                                      1. re: roxlet
                                                        JoanN Nov 21, 2010 01:46 PM

                                                        I'm sorry. I got lost in a miasma there somewhere. I thought (for no good reason; it's not what s/he said; it's not what I wrote) that LJS was referring to the Zuni Standing Rib Roast of Pork as being problematic. Nevermind.

                                                2. b
                                                  breadfan Nov 18, 2010 01:25 PM

                                                  I have done Spanish Paella, Beef Wellington, Osso Buco and variations of rack of lamb and roast beef tenderloin for our Christmas dinners.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: breadfan
                                                    Athena Nov 18, 2010 01:54 PM

                                                    I've done a crown roast of pork (not Christmas, not in America so don't have Thanksgiving) and have to disagree with your husband - it doesn't have to be packed with stuffing and the meat roasts perfectly - though I think having a good butcher prepare the roast makes a big difference.

                                                    Various things I have served with it: butternut squash tian, Patricia Wells' cauliflower gratin, acorn or butternut squash slices roasted with apple slices, roast potatoes (in goose fat), sweet potatoes that have been baked and then mashed, steamed Napa cabbage with lots of butter and black pepper, endive braised with chicken stock and butter.

                                                    The roast is really pretty scattered with pomegranate seeds before sbringing to the table.

                                                    For a sauce I deglaze with vermouth or cider or calvados.

                                                  2. biondanonima Nov 18, 2010 01:01 PM

                                                    None of us are big turkey or ham fans so my mother usually does something with beef. She's done a standing rib roast, beef wellington, a whole roast tenderloin, individual filets, etc. This year she's shaking things up and doing racks of lamb with a spice rub plus a roasted chicken for non-lamb eaters.

                                                    Anyway, I agree with your husband about the pork roast. If you want to do pork, you might see if you can get your hands on some pork short ribs. I had one braised in red wine at Bouchon in Las Vegas and it was one of the greatest things I've ever eaten. Also, the way they had it cut, it was a large bone with a ton of meat, so it made a lovely presentation (each person gets their own rib). I've never seen pork short ribs at any of my usual meat shops, but you might be able to special order.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: biondanonima
                                                      roxlet Nov 18, 2010 02:33 PM

                                                      That sounds delicious, but we are wondering if it is, in fact, a short rib. Given the fact that it is named for the short bone, how could it actually have a large bone? Could it have been something else and called a short rib? I'd love to try that!

                                                      1. re: roxlet
                                                        biondanonima Nov 18, 2010 05:59 PM

                                                        I don't know - it looked like an English-cut beef short rib, just smaller (as you would expect with pork). However, it could have just been marketing. It was definitely delicious though!

                                                        1. re: biondanonima
                                                          roxlet Nov 18, 2010 06:07 PM

                                                          It does sound wonderful. Isn't there a Bouchon book somewhere? I wonder if that recipe is in it...

                                                      2. re: biondanonima
                                                        roxlet Nov 20, 2010 09:27 AM

                                                        I went on line and saw the menu item for the pork short ribs at Bouchon in LV. Sure do sound fabulous!

                                                      3. blue room Nov 18, 2010 12:52 PM

                                                        I've wanted to try this for a long time:
                                                        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bo...
                                                        I'd make a potato dish of some sort with mushrooms and/or bleu-type cheese.

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