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Chef John Besh's Big Easy Christmas



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 “Christmas waves a magic wand over this world,
and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. ”
~ Norman Vincent Peale

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The Big, Easy Christmas
Chef John Besh

Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2008
Food & Wine Books, Editor Kate Heddings
©2008, American Express Publishing Corporation


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Champagne Mojitos
Hot Spiced Wine
Oyster Tartlets
Chilled Shrimp with Rémoulade
Chicory Salad with Quince and Pecans
Horseradish- and Herb-Crusted Beef Rib Roast
(recipe follows)
Root Vegetable, Pear & Chestnut Ragout
(recipe follows)
Creamy Potatoes with Bacon
Oyster Dressing "Grandmère" (recipe follows)
Hot, Buttered Cauliflower Purée
Pat's Popovers
Braised Kale
Père Roux's Cake
Poached Pear and Brown Butter Tart


Horseradish-and-Herb-Crusted Beef Rib Roast

"The inspiration for this delicious roast comes from chef John Besh’s
father-in-law, Pat Berrigan, who serves it every Christmas with horse-
radish sauce on the side. Besh opts to smear the roast with a horseradish,
garlic and herb butter, which bakes to form an irresistible crust."

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 head of garlic, cloves coarsely chopped
1 cup prepared horseradish
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped thyme
3 tablespoons chopped rosemary
3 tablespoons chopped sage
One 16-pound rib roast of beef
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. In a food processor, combine the
butter with the garlic, horseradish, thyme, rosemary and sage and
process to a paste.
2. Stand the roast in a very large roasting pan. Season generously all over with salt and pepper and set it fatty side up. Spread the horseradish-
herb butter all over the top. Bake for about 3 1/2 hours, until an instant-
read thermometer inserted in the center registers 125° for medium rare. Transfer the roast to a carving board to rest for at least 20 minutes or
for up to 1 hour before serving.

Make Ahead: The horseradish-herb butter can be refrigerated overnight.
Let the butter soften before using.


Root Vegetable, Pear and Chestnut Ragout

"This ragout—slightly sweet and not too rich—is a wonderful mix of winter vegetables and fruit and an excellent accompaniment to a beef rib roast."

1 1/2 pounds celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
11/4 pounds turnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch dice
4 Bosc pears (1 1/2 pounds) peeled,
cored and cut into 1-inch dice
11/4 pounds baby golden beets
(2 bunches), stems trimmed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large shallot, minced
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped thyme
1 1/2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 cup roasted peeled chestnuts from
a jar (vacuum-packed)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the celery
root and boil until tender, about 6 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer
to a large baking sheet. Add the turnips to the pot and cook until tender,
about 5 minutes. Transfer to the baking sheet. Repeat with the pears,
cooking them for 2 minutes and transferring them to the baking sheet.
Add the beets to the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the beets and
transfer to a large plate. Let cool slightly, then peel and quarter the beets.
Return the pot to the stove. Add the olive oil, and when it’s hot, add the
garlic, shallot and thyme and cook over moderate heat until softened,
about 5 minutes. Add the stock and boil over high heat until reduced to
1 cup, about 5 minutes. Add the celery root, turnips and pears, cover
and cook over moderately high heat, folding gently a few times with a
heatproof rubber spatula, until heated through. Add the beets and chest-
nuts and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until heated
through, about 3 minutes. Gently stir in the butter, transfer the ragout
to a bowl and serve.

Make Ahead: The ragout (without the butter) can be refrigerated
overnight. Reheat gently, then stir in the butter.


Oyster Dressing "Grand-Mère"

"Chef John Besh says, "This is the only dish worthy of both Thanksgiving
and Christmas dinner at our house." Why? Because it’s unbelievably
delicious - a bready dressing that’s spicy, crispy and nicely briny."

2 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 stick unsalted butter
1 celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 small onion, finely diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 large baguettes (about 1 pound),
cut into 1/2-inch dice (12 cups)
4 dozen shucked oysters plus 1 cup oyster
liquor, oysters halved (2 cups)
2 scallions, minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 10-by-14-inch shallow baking dish. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderate heat until crisp, about
5 minutes. Add the butter and let melt, then add the celery, green pepper,
onion and minced garlic and cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the
paprika, garlic powder and cayenne and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Put the diced baguettes in a large bowl. Spoon the bacon mixture on top.
Add the oysters and their liquor along with the scallions and parsley.
In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the hot sauce and salt. Pour the eggs
into the bowl and mix everything together. Scrape the dressing into the
prepared baking dish and bake in the upper third of the oven for about
45 minutes, until heated through and crisp on top. Serve hot.

Big Easy Christmas, page 1
Big Easy Christmas, page 3

My New Orleans: The Cookbook
Chef John Besh

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