To Anne Burrell, winter comfort food is pasta Bolognese. For customers, she would make it with wild boar—hardly a staple in most homes. Loaded with truffles and foie gras, the stuffing Eric Ripert cooks for family and friends is, he admits, “too expensive to serve in the restaurant.” But along with Marcus Samuelsson and Alexandra Guarnaschelli, they’ve reimagined fancy dishes for the rest of us. “December is the month you work the hardest,” says Samuelsson, for whom—as for the others—a holiday isn’t a day off from cooking, even if the restaurant is closed. “If you’re a chef, you give with food.”
ERIC RIPERT’S ROASTED CHICKEN & MUSHROOM STUFFING
(CHEF VERSION: ROASTED CAPON WITH BLACK TRUFFLE AND WILD MUSHROOM STUFFING)
1 (4-lb.) chicken
1 cup bread, cut into ½-inch cubes
1/3 cup milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 oz. chopped chicken liver (optional)
1 small fresh pork sausage link (about 2 oz.), casing removed
½ lb. mixed mushrooms, diced
1½ tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons diced shallots
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
2 cups chicken stock
1. Preheat oven to 400°.
2. Rinse the chicken and pat dry. Remove wings and reserve.
3. Soak the bread in the milk. Squeeze out the excess milk and place bread in a large bowl. Add egg, liver, sausage, mushrooms, garlic, shallot, parsley, salt and pepper.
4. Season chicken inside and out with salt and pepper and fill with the stuffing. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. (Bake extra stuffing in a covered dish.)
5. Place the wings in a roasting pan and put the chicken on top of the wings. Roast for 45 to 75 minutes—until the juices run clear when the leg is pierced and the stuffing inside the bird reaches 165°. Remove the chicken to a platter and let it rest at least 10 minutes.
6. Place the roasting pan over high heat on the stove and add the stock to deglaze, stirring up the browned bits. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat and strain to a small pot. Season with salt and pepper.
7. Carve the chicken, slice the breast meat and leg meat.
8. Serve immediately with stuffing, and sauce spooned over the plate. Pass extra sauce at the table.
ALEXANDRA GUARNASCHELLI’S SEARED SHRIMP SALAD & PICKLE VINAIGRETTE
(CHEF VERSION: MAINE CRAB SALAD WITH MIZUNA AND CORNICHON VINAIGRETTE)
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
Juice from 2 lemons
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup vegetable oil
2 medium-size dill pickles, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
12 pieces shrimp (about 1¼ lbs.), shelled and deveined
Freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 heads romaine lettuce, split
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
1. Make the dressing: In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, half the lemon juice, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil and vegetable oil. Stir in the pickle slices. (Note: tastes even better made a few days in advance.)
2. Make the Shrimp Salad: Heat a large skillet and add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Season the shrimp on both sides with salt and pepper. When the oil begins to smoke lightly, add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, flip and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the shrimp to a bowl. Drizzle with some dressing and set aside.
3. Cook the romaine: In a large skillet, add the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add red pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add the romaine and season again. Cook briefly to wilt the leaves, then quickly remove from heat.
4. To serve: Drizzle the remaining dressing on the romaine leaves and arrange on four plates. Top with the shrimp and orange sections and serve immediately.
For Guarnaschelli’s Chicken Liver Crostini with Fresh Grape Salsa recipe (adapted from her Foie Gras with Homemade Grape Jam and Sugar-Salt Tuile) go to people.com/holiday
ANNE BURRELL’S PASTA WITH BEEF BOLOGNESE
(CHEF VERSION: HOMEMADE PAPARDELLE WITH WILD BOAR RAGU)
1 large onion (or 2 small), diced
1 large carrot, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
4 cloves garlic
Extra virgin olive oil, for the pan
3 lbs. ground chuck, brisket or round or a combination
2 cups tomato paste
3 cups hearty red wine (like a cabernet or Chianti)
3 bay leaves
1 bunch thyme, tied in a bundle
1 pound spaghetti
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano)
High quality extra virgin olive oil, for finishing
1. In a food processor, puree onion, carrot, celery and garlic into a coarse paste.
2. Place a large pan over medium heat; coat with 1 tablespoon oil. Add the pureed veggies and season generously with salt. Bring the heat to medium-high and cook until all the water has evaporated and vegetables are nice and brown, stirring frequently, about 15 to 20 minutes. Be patient: This is where the big flavors develop.
3. Add the beef, season again with salt and cook until brown (15 to 20 minutes).
4. Add tomato paste and cook 4 to 5 minutes. Add the red wine. Cook until the wine is reduced by half, another 4 to 5 minutes.
5. Add water to the pan until the water is about 1 inch above the meat (about 4 cups water). Toss in the bay leaves and the thyme and stir to combine everything. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. As the water evaporates, add more, 2 to 3 cups at a time. (If you try to add all the water in the beginning, you will have boiled meat rather than a rich, thick sauce.) Stir and taste frequently. Season with salt if needed. Simmer for 3½ to 4 hours.
6. During the last 30 minutes, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. Cook for 1 minute less than it calls for on the package. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water. While the pasta is cooking, remove ½ of the ragu from the pot and reserve for later use.
7. Drain the pasta and add to the pot with the remaining ragu. Stir to coat with sauce—you should have an equal ratio of pasta to sauce. Add the reserved pasta water and cook over a medium heat until the water has reduced. Turn off the heat and give a big sprinkle of Parmesan and a generous drizzle of the high-quality olive oil. Toss. Serve immediately with the remaining Parmesan.
MARCUS SAMUELSSON’S GINGER-POACHED PEARS IN CRANBERRY BROTH
(CHEF VERSION: GINGER AND CHAMPAGNE-POACHED PEARS IN LINGONBERRY BROTH)
(can be made a day ahead)
2 cups cranberries
1 cinnamon stick
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ to ¾ cup brown sugar
Zest from 1 orange
2 cups water
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan over low heat. Heat without bringing to a boil until some berries pop. Cool in the refrigerator.
4 tablespoons sugar
Juice from 1 lemon
2 quarts cold water
1 cinnamon stick
1½ tablespoons fresh grated ginger
½ cup white wine
4 small pears, peeled (Bosc work well)
6 sheets phyllo pastry
2 tablespoons melted butter
4 vanilla beans (soaked in cold water to soften)
1. Combine first six ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add pears and reduce heat to a simmer until pears are soft (about 10 to 15 minutes). Remove from heat, reserve pears and discard poaching liquid. Pat pears dry with a clean kitchen towel. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400º.
2. Spread out the 6 phyllo sheets in two stacks of 3 on a cutting board and cut each stack in half to make 4 squares. Dab sheets with melted butter and place a pear on each section. Draw phyllo up around fruit and tie 1 inch from top with a softened vanilla bean. (Split the bean lengthwise if too thick to tie.)
3. Place pears on a baking dish and tent loosely under foil. Bake until golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
4. Arrange pears in a large bowl and pour cranberry broth over the pears. If desired, serve with vanilla ice cream.
Recipe created with Aquavit executive chef Johan Svensson
“Write down your menu and make sure half your dishes can be done in advance.”