Simple but glorious ways to take the stress out of holiday meal prep, plus a decadent pear and beet salad worthy of celebration
by Chef Peter Botros
SPREAD THE LOVE
If you’re cooking multiple dishes at once, there are several appliances that can pinch hit for the oven. Here are a few of my favorites:
Air fryer, perfect for baking or warming up rolls, roasting potatoes, frying cauliflower, or even making stuffing. Tip: look for an air fryer that has additional capabilities, such as a roaster, broiler, and rotisserie.
Instant pot, for warming gravy, making sauces or glazes, or cooking mashed potatoes and ham.
Pressure cooker for dips, tender meats, and rice.
Portable cooking burners can also double your cookspace!
For most of the year, a single oven is more than enough to whip up weekly dinners, but come holiday season, home chefs begin lamenting one-oven kitchens, especially when a 16-pound bird is on the menu. Luckily, there are several steps you can take in the days leading up to the big meal to eliminate the burden on the day of the feast, such as pre-chopping all vegetables for the stuffing, cooking and refrigerating the sides, making the cranberry sauce, and prepping the pie fillings. Jarred preserves, used in this issue’s featured salad, are also an incredible kitchen sidekick. They are packed with flavor and help take recipes to a higher level. Also: never feel guilty about catering parts of the meal that leaves more time for sipping eggnog by the fi re and enjoying your precious time with family and friends.
TURN THE BEET AROUND
Rich and luxurious, this celebration salad blends the decadent flavors of beets, blueberries, and hazelnuts along with the concentrated piquancy of ginger and pear preserves for a pre-turkey starter that sings. It pairs perfectly with riesling or pinot noir.
GINGERED BEET & PEAR SALAD
One pear, grilled and chilled
Roasted red and golden beets
Toasted hazelnuts (or whichever nut oil was used for the dressing)
Dried blueberries (for salad)
Ingredients: (for dressing)
¼ cup ginger preserves
¼ cup pear butter
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp whole grain mustard
2 shallots, peeled
1 ½ cups apple cider vinegar
¼ cup honey
2 tbsp coarse black pepper
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 cup nut oil (chef’s tip: hazelnut is great for this recipe)
In a blender, combine all ingredients except the nut oil. Once fully incorporated, slowly drizzle the oil into the blender on medium to high speed. Once fully emulsified, stop blender. Be careful not to over blend!
Chef Peter Botros
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