This year Matt and I hosted a Hanukkah dinner with friends. It was a blast! We had a few buddies over from work and learned about Hanukkah and enjoyed a fun dinner. I think the recipes below are good solid Holiday recipes that could also be great for Christmas and are somewhat make-ahead which cuts down on stress the day of your meal.
I made a brisket and kugel for Christmas last year and it was my first try making brisket. It was ok – not my favorite roast though. Then when Matt and I were in Boston I tried his Auntie's brisket and realized why it is so popular during holidays. It was super tender and flavorful – and the secret? It was sliced super thin! So I tried a new recipe and sliced it as thin as I could, sliced it against the grain, and braised the brisket in my dutch oven – which Matt and I thought kept the moisture in the beef better than covering the roasting pan with tinfoil. This one’s a keeper!
Below are a couple of the recipes I made. I made several dishes and found it was easier to start prepping a few days in advance and did most of my cooking the day prior. I also found some recipes which are typically fried and baked them instead (coming soon). This helped with the mess, needing to monitor them, and allowed me to make enough for a party all at once.
Brisket Recipe (Diane Cohen’s Brisket from The Christmas Table)
- 4-5 lbs brisket
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 onions halved and thinly sliced
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup red wine
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp minced parsley
- 1 Tbsp minced basil
Preheat the oven to 450F. Mix the paprika, salt, and pepper together then rub onto the brisket. Layer the onions on the bottom of the dutch oven and brown the meat uncovered for 20 minutes in the oven. Then flip the brisket and brown uncovered for another 20 minutes.
When the brisket is done browning, lower the oven temperature to 350F.
While the brisket is browning, prepare the braising liquid. Mix the water, wine, garlic, parsley, and basil together. When the brisket is done browning, pour the liquid over the brisket, cover, and braise for 2 hours or until fork tender.
Remove the brisket from the oven. At this point I placed it in the refrigerator and sliced it the next day. I sliced it very thin and against the grain. I then reheated the brisket in the slow cooker allowing at least 2 hours to reheat. If you are planning on serving right away, allow the brisket to rest for 15 minutes before carving to allow the juices to redistribute.
Ginger and Apple Hot Toddy (Also adapted from The Christmas Table)
This made enough for 10 beverages
- ½ gallon apple cider
- 1 inch peeled ginger sliced
- 3 cinnamon sticks
In a saucepan combine the apple cider, ginger, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes. Remove the ginger and cinnamon (they’ve done their job). When ready to serve heat up the spiced apple cider and I served about ¾ cup with 1 oz bourbon.
They were a bit on the strong side but super tasty! Adjust bourbon to your preference.
I also made these boozy carrots from the Pioneer Woman. They were slightly sweet and will be making a re-appearance at Christmas this year!