Oysters are a prominent part of many Gulf Coast holiday meals, and they play a big role in New Orleans chef John Besh’s dinner. As a child, he loved when family friend Mrs. Slaughter made little puff pastry cups and filled them with oysters in cream sauce. In this version, he places the oysters in mini tartlet shells, then tops them with a creamy horseradish sauce and crispy bread crumbs.
New Orleans chef John Besh says the combination of a bitter green with a sweet fruit and a strong cheese is a personal favorite of his. The version here features fresh quince, a winter fruit that’s like a cross between an apple and a pear. If fresh quince is unavailable in the produce section, Besh suggests trying preserved quince from a jar.
The inspiration for this delicious roast comes from chef John Besh’s father-in-law, Pat Berrigan, who serves it every Christmas with horseradish sauce on the side. Besh opts to smear the roast with a horseradish, garlic and herb butter, which bakes to form an irresistible crust.
Chef John Besh says, “This is the only dish worthy of both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner at our house.” Why? Because it’s unbelievably delicious—a bready dressing that’s spicy, crispy and nicely briny.
Pat Berrigan, chef John Besh’s father-in-law, spent years perfecting this popover recipe. The secret is the beef fat (left over from the roast), which gets mixed into the batter and is also used to grease the muffin tin; vegetable oil works well too. Be sure to cook the popovers until they’re well-browned and crusty, or else they may collapse.
Père Roux refers to Father Roux, a New Orleans priest and cook who is one of chef John Besh’s friends. Besh fashioned this recipe after one that Père Roux bakes for himself every year on his birthday, with layers of white cake and a buttery banana filling with plenty of rum, all topped with a cream cheese frosting.