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Chef John Besh's Big Easy Christmas



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My New Orleans:
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200 of My Favorite
Recipes and Stories
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My Family Table:
A Passionate Plea
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The Big, Easy Christmas
Chef John Besh

Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2008

Food & Wine Books, Editor Kate Heddings
©2008, American Express Publishing Corporation


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Champagne Mojitos (recipe follows)
Hot Spiced Wine
Oyster Tartlets
Chilled Shrimp with Rémoulade (recipe follows)
Chicory Salad with Quince and Pecans (recipe follows)
Horseradish- and Herb-Crusted Beef Rib Roast
Root Vegetable, Pear & Chestnut Ragout
Creamy Potatoes with Bacon
Oyster Dressing "Grandmère"
Hot, Buttered Cauliflower Purée
Pat's Popovers
Braised Kale
Père Roux's Cake
Poached Pear and Brown Butter Tart


Champagne Mojitos

"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."

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups packed mint leaves,
plus 12 mint sprigs, for garnish
6 limes, cut into wedges
2 cups light rum
Cracked ice
3 cups Champagne or sparkling wine

1. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water and cook over high
heat just until the sugar has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature.
2. In a large pitcher, combine the sugar syrup with the mint leaves and
lime wedges and muddle well with a wooden spoon. Add the rum
and stir well. Strain the drink into another pitcher.
3. Fill tall glasses with cracked ice and pour in the drink, filling them
about two-thirds full. Top with Champagne, garnish with the mint
sprigs and serve.

Make Ahead: The mojitos can be prepared through Step 2.
Refrigerate the mojitos in the pitcher overnight.


Chilled Shrimp with Rémoulade

"Shrimp rémoulade is a classic part of a Réveillon menu (the traditional
holiday meal in New Orleans), and chef John Besh makes it every year."

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 small shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 gallon water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
4 bay leaves
1 small onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 head of garlic, halved crosswise
1 large thyme sprig
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon ground coriander
24 jumbo shrimp, shells cut down the back
and veins removed
6 cups baby arugula leaves or mâche

1. Make the rémoulade: Combine all of the rémoulade ingredients in a medium bowl and stir well.
2. Prepare the shrimp: In a large pot, combine all of the ingredients ex-
cept the shrimp and arugula and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer
the shrimp over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, add the
shrimp and bring back to a simmer. Cover, remove the pot from
the heat and let stand until the shrimp are just cooked through,
about 10 minutes.
3. With a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked shrimp to a large rimmed
baking sheet and let cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic
wrap and refrigerate the shrimp until chilled.
4. Peel the shrimp. Line a platter with the arugula and top with the
shrimp. Serve with the rémoulade sauce.

Make Ahead: The rémoulade sauce can be refrigerated for up to 3
days. The cooked shrimp can be refrigerated overnight. Peel shortly
before serving.


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."

2 cups water
1/4 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 jalapeño, seeded and very finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 quinces—peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups pecan halves (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup walnut oil
1 teaspoon sugar
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 pounds chicory, stems discarded and
leaves torn into bite-size pieces (16 cups)
1 cup crumbled blue cheese (4 ounces)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a large saucepan, combine the
water with the cider vinegar, brown sugar, jalapeño, ginger, coriander,
cinnamon stick and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Add the sliced
quince, cover and simmer over low heat until they are tender, about
15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the poached quince to a
small bowl. Discard the quince poaching liquid.
2. Meanwhile, spread the pecan halves on a rimmed baking sheet and
sprinkle with salt. Bake for about 7 minutes, until the pecans
are toasted.
3. In a small bowl, stir the sherry and red wine vinegar with the vegetable
oil, walnut oil and sugar. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
4. In a large salad bowl, toss the chicory with the quince, pecans and blue cheese. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well. Serve right away.

Make Ahead: The recipe can be prepared through Step 3 up to 1 day
ahead. Refrigerate the poached quince and vinaigrette separately. Bring
the poached quince and vinaigrette to room temperature before tossing
the salad. The toasted pecan halves can be stored in an airtight container
at room temperature.

Big Easy Christmas, page 2
Big Easy Christmas, page 3

My New Orleans: The Cookbook
Chef John Besh

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