Everyone has a favorite holiday recipe, a special dish that has been a part of their celebrations for years, or even generations. Here is a selection shared by some accomplished Colorado cooks and entertainers. Enjoy!
At Christmas I always serve this potato dish with Swedish meatballs and ham.
(In Swedish: Jansson’s frestelse)
2 medium onions
2 tbs butter
6 potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch strips
1 2-oz can anchovy fillets
1 cup heavy cream
Chop and saute onions in butter (or margarine) until golden brown. In a buttered 2-quart casserole dish, place alternate layers of potatoes, onion and pieces of anchovies, ending with a layer of potatoes. Pour cream on top of potatoes, dot with butter. Bake at 350F for 1 hour or until potatoes are tender.
Note: I prefer Abba’s Grebbestads Original anchovies, which can be ordered online. With this Swedish product I mix the liquid in the can with the cream before I pour it over the potatoes.
While this cake started as The Fort’s house cake for birthday and anniversary celebrations, customer demand convinced us to put it on the menu as an everyday offering. We still serve a complimentary slice to anyone marking a special occasion at The Fort—and set a ceremonial headdress on their heads, too, as the staff shouts, “Hip, hip, huzzah!” We don’t do anything halfway at our restaurant!
Holly Arnold Kinney
We make the cake with some red chile to honor the ancient Aztec tradition of spiking their drinking chocolate with a little heat. This makes sense when you remember that it wasn’t until the Europeans took chocolate back to the Old World that anyone thought to sweeten it. Before then, it was made into a bitter but much-appreciated ceremonial brew. You’ll feel a slight burn at the back of the throat when you eat this, but that will quickly turn into a warm glow. The bourbon-flavored frosting adds its own kick.
Chile-Chocolate Bourbon Cake
For the cake
1 to 2 tbs New Mexico medium ground red chile powder (Dixon is the best), to taste
2 cups water
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
1 cup and 2 tbs all-purpose flour
1 cup and 2 tbs cake flour (not self-rising)
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup unsweetened, non-alkalized cocoa powder
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
½ cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, room temperature
For the frosting
¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup unsweetened, non-alkalized cocoa powder
¼ cup and 2 tbs buttermilk
4 to 5 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 to 3 tbs bourbon
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups chopped walnuts, lightly toasted (optional)
For the cake, preheat the oven to 350 F and place rack in the center of the oven.
Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Lightly dust the sides of the pans with flour, tapping out the excess and line the bottom of the circles with parchment or waxed paper.
In a medium saucepan, cook the chile powder in 1 cup of the water over medium heat until simmering. Remove the pan from heat, stir in the vanilla, and set aside.
Using a mixer with a wire whip attachment, combine the flours, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa and beat on low speed until well mixed. Add the softened butter to the dry mixture and beat thoroughly on medium-low speed. The mixture should be a uniform, grainy texture. Raise the speed to medium and gradually add the remaining 1 cup of water and the buttermilk. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Slowly add the hot water/chile mixture and continue to beat just until well combined; be sure not to overbeat.
Pour the mixture equally into the pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each layer comes out clean.
To cool, set the pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Then turn the cakes out onto the rack, remove the paper from the bottom, and immediately invert so that the risen tops don’t flatten. Let the layers cool completely before frosting.
For the frosting, combine the butter and cocoa in a large saucepan and melt over medium heat. Stir in the buttermilk. Add the confectioners’ sugar, a little at a time, stirring with a wire whisk between additions. Stir in the bourbon and vanilla and continue to whisk until the frosting is smooth and glossy. The frosting should stiffen as it cools. When it is still warm, but has reached a spreadable consistency, you can assemble the cake.
If necessary, trim the tops of the cakes so that they are level. Place one of the cake layers on a 9-inch round cardboard cake circle. Spread 1 cup of the frosting over the layer. Sprinkle 1 cup of the chopped walnuts, if using, evenly over the frosting. Place the second layer of cake on the frosted base. Use the remaining frosting to cover the top and sides of the cake. Finish the top of the cake by holding the spatula at a slight angle and making several strokes to smooth the top. To decorate the cake, press the remaining walnuts onto the lower half of the sides and on top of the cake. This cake is best when made one to two days before serving, as it gives the flavors time to blend.
We celebrate the holidays with a blend of our families. Chris hails from the California coastal city of Carmel and John is a native of Danville, Kentucky. For this entree, Chris borrowed a recipe from John’s very southern mother for Christmas Eve dinner in 2009, added his own West Coast flair and a Colorado holiday tradition was born. (And yes, we grill in winter, too!)
Chris Comer and John Bourne
Grilled Bourbon Beef Tenderloin
1 cup quality bourbon (We use Maker’s Mark)
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup soy sauce
1 bunch cilantro, leaves chopped
½ cup lemon juice
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
2 cups water
3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves chopped
5- 6 pound beef tenderloin
Prepare marinade by combining the bourbon, brown sugar, soy sauce, cilantro, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, water and thyme in a bowl. Add salt and pepper.
After cleaning the tenderloin and removing any excess tissue, fold the tail end of the beef back underneath itself so that it is of uniform thickness, and secure with butcher’s string. Place meat in a dish or large sealable plastic bag. Pour marinade over meat, cover or seal, and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours, or up to overnight, turning meat over several times.
Preheat grill or oven to 350 F.
When grill or oven is ready, place meat on oiled surface and reserve the liquid from the marinade. Cook over high heat with lid closed, turning meat often and occasionally basting with the marinade. Cook for approximately 40-45 minutes for medium rare.
Use a meat thermometer to check temperature of beef to make sure it is cooked. 135-145 degrees for medium rare to medium.
Remove from grill and let meat rest before slicing. Serve with creamy horseradish sauce on the side.
My parents use to have Chasen’s cater their Christmas party. After Chasen’s closed, my parents hired the chef and that became our holiday tradition.
1 pound carrots, peeled and sliced
3 tbs granulated sugar
3 tbs flour
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
3 tbs butter, melted
½ cup walnuts, chopped fine
¼ cup crushed cornflakes
1 tbs brown sugar
Cook carrots in boiling salted water until very tender. Puree carrots in food processor or blender with eggs, granulated sugar, flour, vanilla and nutmeg.
Add 2 tablespoons melted butter and process again.
Turn mixture into buttered 1½ quart soufflé dish or straight-sided casserole and bake at 350F until soufflé is slightly puffed and golden, 35 to 40 minutes.
Sprinkle chopped walnuts (or cornflakes) and brown sugar over top of soufflé. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter and return to oven 10 to 15 minutes longer or until top is crisp and golden.
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