WASHINGTON: Whether you are having a prime rib, pork roast or fowl, add these Christmas feast recipes: a modern uptake on Brussels sprouts and savory three-cheese risotto that will perfectly support your Christmas feast.
CDN’S FAVORITE CHRISTMAS FEAST RECIPES: ANCHO CHILI BRUSSELS SPROUTS
Brussels sprouts are a breed of wild cabbage grown for its small size. Brussel sprouts are
typically 1 to 1.5 inches in diameter and grow on a thick stalk with the buds in a spiral. Your local grocery store should carry them either in a bag, on the stem or loose.
The Brussels sprouts should be a green and white color. Their leaves should be intact, and each one should be a little heavy if they are fresh. The older they are, the lighter they are because they lose water as they get older.
Make sure you stay away from Brussels sprouts with black spots because they indicate that the sprouts could have a musty flavor.
How to cook them
Use a sharp knife to cut off the growing end, about a half-inch from the end.
Using your fingers, remove the dull outer leaves to reveal the fresh, vibrant leaves underneath.
Take your knife and cut the Brussels sprouts in halves or quarters. Halves: Cut the sprout into two pieces, making sure to cut through the growing end. Quarters: Cut each sprout into four pieces, again making sure to cut through the growing end.
After the sprouts are cut, toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss with a little ancho chili pepper and small pieces of dried apricot and cranberry for a special treat.
Place on a greased baking sheet and bake in a 350-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Use a spatula to flip the vegetables a few times during the cooking process. (Quartered brussels sprouts will cook more quickly than the halved ones.)
CDN’S FAVORITE CHRISTMAS FEAST RECIPES: THREE CHEESE RISOTTO
Risotto is Italian short grain rice that cooks best at a long slow temperature. It has a creamy and starchy consistency that pairs well with a variety of flavors. Most grocery stores carry risotto, usually on the rice aisle.
Buy risotto in a box where it’s kept in a cryovacked bag to keep it fresh. There are many quick-cooking risottos, but they’re not as good as the slow-cooked version done on the stovetop.
How to cook it
1 small yellow onion, diced
¼ cup white wine, and a glass for you while you cook!
4 cups chicken stock
½ stick (2 ounces, or 4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 cup each grated Parmesan and pecorino
Salt and pepper to taste
Add a little olive oil to a sauté pan and sauté the onions. Make sure that they are glossy, aromatic and soft.
Next heat the chicken stock in another pot. (This is really important because it cooks into the rice faster.)
Next, add the Arborio rice into the pot with the onions.
Use a few chef pinches of salt and toast slightly.
Take the pot off the fire and add the wine, and then put it back on the fire and reduce the wine until the rice has absorbed it completely.
Make sure the fire is on medium-low. After the wine cooks into the rice, slowly begin to add your heated chicken stock (not all at once!), stirring with a flat edged spoon. This will help to scrape the rice from the bottom of the pot. Continue to slowly add the chicken stock until the rice is soft but not mushy; you may not add all of the chicken stock.
Add the cheese and butter to the risotto. To add some color, toss with fresh peas or chopped asparagus.
Top with cracked fresh pepper and grated cheese. Serve.