John Besh's New Orleans Christmas
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.
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.
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.
Horseradish-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.
Oyster Dressing "Grand-Mère"
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
Hot, Buttered Cauliflower Puree
John Besh’s decadent cauliflower puree 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.