Christmas Dinner with the World's Best Chefs

We mined our database for recipes from top chefs, then put them together in a Christmas menu of restaurant-quality dishes you can make at home

Ever wished you could have Joël Robuchon, Thomas Keller, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten giving you pointers over your shoulder as you cooked? Well, maybe not literally-these notoriously exacting personalities might be a handful in person. But on Epicurious, we have a virtual collection of chefs that includes these award-winners and countless others. They've all contributed their recipes to our database.

So this Christmas, we decided to make the most of this goldmine by creating a memorable Christmas dinner menu with recipes from 11 culinary all-stars. Some of the recipes are classic, like Robuchon's impeccably French steak au poivre, and some are innovative, like Ming Tsai's East/West cranberry-crab dumplings. But they all exemplify the peerless techniques on which these chefs have built their reputations, techniques that can lift your Christmas dinner above the ordinary.

This 12-recipe menu is not for the time-constrained. But if you're ready to welcome some of the world's best cooks into your kitchen, click on the links at right for a pull-out-all-the-stops meal that's worth the effort. Or choose just a few recipes to incorporate into your holiday meal.

Wine Suggestions

If you want to serve wine with your hors d'oeuvres, look for something with enough body to stand up to the rich crab Rangoon dumplings and pâté. We'd recommend a dry Riesling, which would also pair well with the strong flavors of the first-course scallops.

For the main course, a full-bodied Cabernet or Bordeaux would be a classic choice with the steak and potatoes, and could continue through the cheese and dessert courses. If you prefer to change things up, a Muscat or tawny Port would also pair well with the cheese, flan, and mousse.

Make-Ahead Tips

Many elements of this meal can be prepared in advance. Here are specific suggestions:

Martinis: Infuse the vodka up to one week ahead. One day ahead, toast the pumpkin seeds and mix up a big batch of the Amaretto and vodka. When ready to serve, chill individual portions over ice and strain them into chilled glasses.

Rangoon: Make the dipping sauce, glaze, and cranberry mixture up to two weeks in advance. A few hours ahead, mix up the filling and fill the dumplings. Fry them just before serving.

Pâté: This can be made several days ahead. Toast the baguette slices earlier in the day, and then set them out on a platter with the pâté so guests can help themselves while you're preparing the scallops.

Scallops: The cauliflower and scallops must be sautéed at the last minute, but you can make the sauce in advance and reheat it before serving.

Steak and Broccoli: These both must be cooked at the last minute, but neither is time-consuming. (Be sure to make your veal stock in advance if you're not using a bouillon cube.)

Potatoes: This dish can be baked a day ahead. Reheat it in a 350°F oven while you're making the steak and broccoli.

Salad: Make the balsamic reduction up to a week ahead. Bake the squash and almonds a day ahead. Assemble the salad at the last minute.

Rolls: These can be made up to a month ahead and frozen. Take them out of the freezer in the morning and leave them on the counter to defrost. Reheat them for a few minutes just before serving.

Cheese: You can serve this as a cheese course after the entrées, or as an hors d'oeuvre before the meal. The onions can be cooked several days in advance.

Chocolate Mousse: This can be made a day ahead. (Note that it has to chill at least eight hours.)

Flan: Bake the flan a day ahead so it can chill overnight. Bake the crust the night before. Just before serving, unmold the flan into the crust.

"Cook Like a Chef at Home" Christmas Dinner for Eight

FEATHERLIGHT YEAST ROLLS

Gourmet | January 2008

Edna Lewis

Yield: Makes 2 dozen

Active time: 35 min

Total time: 1 day (includes rising)

Like many an accomplished hostess in the South, Miss Lewis was a dab hand at making yeast rolls and always generously anointed them with butter before putting them in the oven. Dinner rolls should be brought to the table hot, so if you make them early in the day, you will want to reheat them gently. (Leftovers are great for breakfast the next morning, split, buttered, and served with homemade strawberry or fig preserves.) Mashed potato is a traditional addition to a yeast dough like this one; it helps the rising and also contributes to its tenderness. These rolls have outstanding flavor and are so light and fluffy they almost levitate.

Ingredients

  • 1 russet (baking) potato (1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package Active dry yeast
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour

Preparation

Generously cover potato with cold water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until very tender, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid, then drain potato well.

Meanwhile, melt 2 1/2 tablespoons butter.

Mash hot potato in a large bowl with a fork. Stir in milk, salt, 2 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons melted butter (mixture will be lumpy).

Cool 1/2 cup cooking liquid to warm (105 to 115°F). Stir in yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, Start over with new yeast and remaining cooking liquid.)

Stir yeast mixture into potato mixture, then stir in flour with a wooden spoon until a soft dough forms.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and knead, dusting surface and hands with just enough flour to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes (dough will be slightly sticky).

Brush a large bowl with some of remaining melted butter, then turn dough in bowl to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise, chilled, 8 to 12 hours.

Punch down dough (do not knead), then halve. Roll each half into a 12-inch-long log on a very lightly floured surface with lightly floured hands. Cut each log into 12 equal pieces and roll each into a ball. Arrange evenly spaced in 6 rows of 4 (less than 1/2 inch apart) in a buttered 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking pan. Cover pan with a kitchen towel (not terry cloth).

Let rolls rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled (they will fill pan), 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle.

Melt remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter.

Brush top of rolls with melted butter and bake until golden-brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Loosen edges with a sharp knife, then transfer rolls to a rack and cool slightly.

Cooks' note: Rolls are best the day they're baked but can be frozen, wrapped well, up to 1 month. Thaw, then reheat, uncovered, on a baking sheet in a 350°F oven, 5 to 10 minutes.

See More Christmas Menus:

By Sarah Kagan