Home Cooking: Put Christmas dinner on the sideboard and invite your friends and neighbors
I was snowshoeing on Monday with the Slo-Pokes, of which I am a proud member, at the Breckenridge Nordic Center. As our name suggests, we enjoy snowshoeing at a comfortable pace with frequent stops to admire the scenery and contribute to an ongoing conversation. “Slow and steady wins the race,” is our motto.
The topic of conversation on Monday was this column. I’ve never been a big advocate of Christmas Eve or Christmas day dinners. It seems that something always comes up at the final moment to scotch dinners on the Eve, last minute shopping and more importantly, heading to Christmas Eve church services. As for Christmas day, who wants to wade through a mountain of Christmas wrapping paper to make a formal dinner? Which is why last year I advocated for a big family-friendly Christmas brunch.
After speaking with Joyce and Amy, it seems that I might have been wrong! Amy told me of past Christmas Eve informal, after-church fare including jambalaya. Joyce, on the other hand, is still a proponent of great family feasts on Christmas day.
This menu is a compromise. I envision a dinner that can be put out on the sideboard, or kitchen island, a Christmas buffet that allows friends to stop by before or after church, or last-minute Christmas shopping, to put up their feet and enjoy a plate of Christmas cheer with you, to savor the real meaning of Christmas.
As you’ll see all of these recipes are ridiculously easy, and yet full of delicious Christmas cheer. Which is exactly what you want, delicious food that will allow you to enjoy your guests. Merry Christmas to you and your family and friends!
Braised Glazed Ham and Red Cabbage
This method results in the most moist, delicious ham you’ll ever enjoy.
1 pre-cooked spiral cut ham
½ cup of bitter orange marmalade
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 head red cabbage chopped into chunks
1 ½ cups water
2-3 swirls of apple cider or balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 350. In a large Dutch oven, place the ham flat side down, fill the edges of the pot with the chopped red cabbage. Pour over water and vinegar with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Mix the bitter orange marmalade, mustard and brown sugar, and spread over the ham. Place cover on the Dutch oven, put in the oven and allow to braise for 1 hour, or until the ham is warmed through and the cabbage is cooked. Pour off excess liquid and serve.
Ridiculously Easy Slow Cooker Curried Butternut Squash Soup
3 pounds of butternut squash cut into 1-inch cubes
1 quart of chicken or vegetable stock
1 14-ounce can of coconut milk
2-3 tablespoons curry powder (start with 2 and adjust seasoning as it cooks)
Pinch of salt, pepper, red pepper flakes
Add all the ingredients into a slow cooker, turn on high and cook for two to four hours or until butternut squash is knife-tender. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth.
Deconstructed Potato and Beet Salad
2-3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 pounds of beets, peeled and cut into chunks
2-3 tablespoons of fresh dill chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Sour cream for serving
Boil potatoes and beets separately until knife-tender, drain and toss together. Sprinkle with dill, season with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature with sour cream on the side, for guests to add as they wish.
Amy Evan’s Kentucky Derby Pie
1 uncooked pie shell
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter
1 cup sugar
½ cup flour
6 ounces chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans
Beat eggs, add sugar, flour and melted butter. Mix in the rest. Pour into pie shell. Cook at 350 for 45 minutes.
Suzanne Anderson lives in Breckenridge.
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