Shrimp Bisque with Crab and Tapioca
At his restaurant, John Besh simmers the broth for his bisque with the crushed shells of whole blue crabs. Chopped shrimp boiled in their shells flavor the broth for a home version of Besh's tapioca-studded bisque.
Natchitoches-Style Meat Pies
At Besh Steak, John Besh prepares mini meat pies with house-made dough and a rich, spiced filling of beef, pork and chicken liver sautéed in duck fat. A meat-pie shortcut for the home cook: Use store-bought empanada dough instead of making your own. The cooks at Besh Steak use duck fat to sauté the meat filling. At home, butter is a perfectly fine substitute and much easier to find.
August Chopped Salad
At his flagship New Orleans restaurant, August, John Besh makes his chopped salad with 21 different kinds of vegetables and herbs.
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.
Hot, Buttered Cauliflower Puree
Three-year-old Drew Besh loves his father chef John Besh's decadent cauliflower puree, which is silky and luscious because it's made with both cream and butter. Adjust the level of cayenne pepper to make the cauliflower puree more or less spicy.
Horse Radish and Herb-Crusted Beef Rib Roast
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.
This puckery drink is prepared with rum and fresh mint like a classic mojito, but New Orleans chef John Besh makes it holiday-worthy by topping it with a splash of Champagne.
Chicory Salad with Quince and Pecans
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.
This easy kale recipe—a simple braise of olive oil, garlic and chicken stock—is a terrific counterpoint to all of the rich Southern-style dishes at chef John Besh's table.
Sugar and Spice Skillet-Roasted Duck Breasts
Inspired by Behroush Sharifi's spices and by tagine blends from Morocco, New Orleans chef John Besh of Restaurant August created a flavoring mix of cinnamon, star anise, black pepper and sugar to sprinkle on the duck breasts. The spices provide terrific aromas, while the sugar gives the meat a burnished crust in under 10 minutes of cooking.
Père Roux's Cake
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.
Oyster Dressing "GrandMère"
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.
Root Vegetable, Pear and Chestnut Ragout
This ragout—slightly sweet and not too rich—is a wonderful mix of winter vegetables and fruit.
Hot Spiced Wine
Red wine and kirsch (a brandy made from cherries) are the base for this delicious seasonal drink, which is laced with citrus and warming spices like cinnamon, cardamom and black pepper.
Poached Pear and Brown Butter Tart
Chef John Besh says he is crazy about winter fruit and loves using it in this brown butter-custard tart. He sometimes swaps the pears for apples or even quince.