Chefs’ Favorite Holiday Dishes
While there are innumerable reasons to think fondly of the holidays, it’s fair to say the edible side of the season plays a big part. Savory and scrumptious with an undeniable pull of the nostalgic, three area chefs share the special food items from home they look forward to during the holidays:
Chef Nick Morse, RYE Restaurant
“The soup is a traditional family recipe passed through our family from generation to generation, dating back to the 1980s. The aromas and flavors bring back lots of nostalgic and fond memories from Christmas days past! We love to include our children with cooking this recipe in particular and hope that one day they will enjoy making it with their kids.”
Holiday Turkey Soup
Leftover turkey and bones
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 onions finely chopped
4 carrots peeled and halved
1 bay leaf
8 cups water
2 leeks finely chopped
8 ounces parsnips finely chopped
2 sticks of celery finely chopped
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire
1 ounce long grain rice
Fresh ground black pepper
2 ounces plain flour
2 ounces butter
½ cup of cream
- Remove the meat from the turkey, save for later in the recipe. Place the turkey bones into a large pot. Add the onion quarters, carrots, bay leaf and water. Bring to a boil. Skim the Surface of the pot and discard. Cover and simmer for 1½ hours.
- Strain the stock, reserve 7-8 cups for the next step. Chop the turkey into small cubes and add to the pot. Remove and finely chop the cooked carrots.
- Place the carrots and turkey in a clean saucepan with the reserved stock, add the remaining vegetables, Worcestershire sauce and rice.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes
- Cream the flour and butter together and slowly mix into the soup. Return to a boil for 5 minutes. Stir in the cream.
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
- Serve and enjoy!
Chef Heather Karisny, the wandering table
“This recipe was given to my mom by my grandma, and when I think about Christmas growing up, this is one tradition I remember fondly. We would make them as a family on Christmas Eve, and then enjoy them Christmas morning. Now that I have two daughters, we have carried that tradition on with them! We go to their Nana’s house on Christmas Eve, we help make the cinnamon rolls, and then we enjoy them together Christmas morning. We lost my grandma this year, so this Christmas coming up will be even more special with them!”
Grandma’s Cinnamon Roll Monkey Bread
2 loaves Rhodes frozen bread
½ cup salted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 small package of vanilla pudding (do not use instant)
1 small package of butterscotch pudding (do not use instant)
6 tablespoons milk (might need more*)
3 teaspoons cinnamon
- In a well greased 9 x 13 pan, place 2 loaves of frozen rhodes bread dough to thaw; do not let it rise. Cover with plastic wrap.
- When thawed, break ONE loaf apart into small pieces in bottom of the pan.
- Mix together remaining ingredients (butter / brown sugar / pudding / milk / cinnamon) until smooth and thin enough to pour (add small amounts of milk at a time if needed); pour over bread pieces.
- Break apart the second loaf of bread into small pieces, and place on top.
- Cover with plastic, place in refrigerator to let rise – usually overnight.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 – 40 minutes.
- When done baking, invert onto a cookie sheet and enjoy!
Chef Michael England, TJ’s Highland Steakhouse
“(Holidays were) the time of year that my grandmother would really start showing me how to ‘cook.’”
For the Dough
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 and ½ cups semolina flour
1 cup warm water
1 cup full-cream milk
2 teaspoons salt
7 grams yeast (around 1 small pack)
3 and ¾ Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons white granulated sugar
For the Filling
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
15 ounces fresh mozzarella
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon minced basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 cups blended or sunflower oil (for deep frying)
- Mix the flour, semolina, yeast, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.
- Make a hole (well) in the middle and pour the oil and warm water. Stir until the dough comes together.
- Dust your working surface and knead the dough for at least 10 minutes until it’s tight and
smooth. If it’s too gooey, add more flour, if it’s too dry, add more milk. In the end, when you poke your finger into the dough, it should spring back up.
- Cover the dough with a kitchen towel and let it rest in a warm place for one hour.
- In the meantime, you can start making the tomato sauce. For starters, grab a skillet and heat the oil over medium temperature.
- Crush the garlic and cook it for 2 minutes in the skillet until golden brown.
- While the garlic is cooking, peel and chop the tomatoes and add them to the skillet.
- Cook the tomatoes for about 20 minutes. Don’t forget to season with salt, black pepper, and minced basil.
- Chop the mozzarella into tiny pieces.
- Divide the dough into 12 pieces (or more, depending on how many panzerotti you want to make) and place it on a tray.
- Pour a little bit of oil on your work surface and start rolling each dough ball into a 5-inch
- Add one tablespoon of tomato sauce on every disk, spread it well, and top it with 2 tablespoons of chopped mozzarella.
- Fold the dough into a crescent shape and use your thumb to press down and seal it.
- Pour enough oil to cover at least 2 inches up the side of your skillet and heat the oil to 350° F.
- If you’re doing this for the first time, work with one panzerotti at a time. If not, you can fry two at the same time.
- Turn the panzerotti as many times as necessary and fry until it gets golden-brown on both sides.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the panzerotti from the oil and put it on top of paper towels to drain out the oil.