Christmas for foodies

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Santa is bringing something gourmet on his sleigh this year.

Christmas for foodies

For foodies, the holidays can seem kind of flat. Even though families from all over come together to eat, there’s not always a lot of variety in what gets served. At Christmas time, ham is traditional, and while ham is good, many a foodie hopes that this year they get to unwrap their gift at dinnertime: something new and exciting to try.

If you have a foodie in your family, here are three presents you can put on top of their plate. 

Red wine caramelized onion roast

This dish works well because it layers flavor, but still has traditional roots that work well with many traditional Christmas sides.

Ingredients:

  • 1 4-5 pound chuck roast
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 onions
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 4 sage leaves
  • Cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Place the chuck in a slow cooker and cover both sides liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Add enough broth so that the liquid comes half way up the meat. Cover the slow cooker and cook the chuck for four hours.
  2. With sixty minutes left, set a skillet over high heat and let it get very hot. Pour in the red wine and bring it to a boil (which should happen very quickly if you let the skillet get hot enough).
  3. Let the wine boil for 30 seconds, then add the butter. Once it melts, turn the heat down to medium-high and add the onions, black pepper, and sage. Let them cook for eight to ten minutes, then turn the heat to low. Cover the skillet and let the onions cook for an hour during which time they will turn sweet, dark, and delicious.
  4. When the onions are ready, take the chuck out of the slowe cooker and place it on a baking sheet that has been greased with cooking spray. Cover the beef with the onions and bake at 350 degrees F for ten minutes just to form a crust.
  5. Let the beef rest and serve.

Easy cassoulet

Classic cassoulet is a bean and meat dish that takes days to prepare. This is an easier version that again has a traditional Christmas feel to it, but has a refined gourmet air.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 sausages, sliced into one-half inch pieces
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cans Navy beans
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • 1 pound of ham, sliced

Directions:

  1. In a pot, melt the butter over medium heat and then add the sausages. Let them cook for ten minutes to slowly draw out some of their fat, then remove them and add the onion. 
  2. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook the onion for ten minutes or until it starts to turn brown, then add the Navy beans, broth, thyme, rosemary and ham. Cover the pot and let the beans cook for thirty minutes.
  3. Next, remove the lid, add the sausages back and continue cooking for ten minutes or until the beans have gotten thick.

Duck with cranberry sauce

A third dish that feels classic, but it will make a foodie melt because of the rarity of the ingredients and the complexity of the flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 duck breasts
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Put the cranberries, orange juice, and sugar into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Eventually the berries will start to pop, continue stirring until you have a thick sauce. Pour about one-half cup into a bowl and set the rest aside.
  2. When you are ready to make the duck, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  3. In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and let it get hot. While the oil is heating, make shallow incisions in a crosshatch pattern into the fatty side of the duck breasts and coat them with salt and pepper. Try to rub some of the salt and pepper into the scores so that it can flavor the meat.
  4. Once the oil is hot, add the duck breasts into the skillet fat side down. Cook them four to six minutes to render out the fat, then flip them and cook them another minute.
  5. Flip the breasts back over so that the fat side is down and cover them with the cranberry sauce from the bowl. Bake the duck breasts for seven to nine minutes and let them rest.
  6. Serve with the rest of the cranberry sauce.