Impress your holiday guests with crispy duck breast, porcini-rubbed pork tenderloin, lemon bars plus more
Credit: John Sherlock

Impress your holiday guests with crispy duck breast, porcini-rubbed pork tenderloin, lemon bars plus more

Moroccan Mimosas

Ingredients

  • 1 whole star anise
  • pinch of saffron
  • 4 to 6 dried figs
  • 1 bottle (750 mL) Cava (Spanish sparkling wine)
  • 1 tsp ground sumac
  • 2 cups orange juice

instructions

  1. Combine the orange juice, sumac, star anise, saffron and figs in a pitcher and refrigerate for 24 hours to allow the flavours to meld.
  2. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large clean pitcher and strain the orange juice. Discard the solids.
  3. Combine 1/3 of the mimosa mixture to 2/3 Cava and serve in individual champagne flutes. Enjoy!

Serves 4 to 6

Golden Beet Salad

Golden Beet Salad

Ingredients

  • 6 large golden beets
  • 3 oranges
  • 3 grapefruits
  • 1 head of radicchio, separated into leaves and gently torn
  • 2 bunches of watercress, leaves only
  • 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 chives, thinly sliced 

instructions

  1. Place the beets in a large pot, cover with water and boil until fork tender, 30 to 45 minutes.
  2. Drain the beets, then peel and quarter each one. Set aside.
  3. Peel the oranges and grapefruits.
  4. Working over a medium bowl and using a sharp knife, run the blade under the skins surrounding each segment to release the flesh, catching any escaping juice.
  5. Discard the peels and skins, reserving the orange and grapefruit segments and their juice in the bowl. Add the beets, radicchio, watercress, olives and maple syrup.
  6. Toss gently and arrange on a serving plate.
  7. Drizzle olive oil on top, garnish with the chives and enjoy this refreshing salad! 

Serves 6

Crispy Seared Duck Breast with Orange Gastrique and Apple and Green Bean Sauté
Credit: John Sherlock

Crispy Seared Duck Breast with Orange Gastrique and Apple and Green Bean Sauté

Ingredients

Crispy seared duck breast

  • 4 duck breasts, each 8 oz
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1⁄3 cup olive oil
  • Maldon salt
Orange gastrique

  • 1⁄2 cup honey
  • 1⁄2 cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp Grand Marnier
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1⁄3 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Apple & green bean sauté

  • 3 oz French green beans, stalk ends trimmed
  • 1⁄2 tbsp butter
  • 1⁄2 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced 

instructions

Crispy seared duck breast

  1. Using a sharp knife, trim the duck breast of excess fat and sinew. Discard.
  2. Score the remaining fat (not the meat) at 1⁄4-inch intervals, first in one direction, then at 90° to the original cuts to create a cross-hatch pattern.
  3. Place the orange zest, cinnamon, cardamom, maple syrup, pepper and olive oil in a bowl large enough to hold the duck and mix until well combined.
  4. Add the duck and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours.
  5. Remove the duck from the marinade, wipe off the spices with a paper towel and pat dry.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Discard the marinade.
  8. Heat a large pan over medium heat, add the duck, skin side down, and cook for 7 to 8 minutes. If the skin is browning too quickly, reduce the heat; if it is not browning, increase the heat. The skin should be brown and crisp.
  9. Turn the duck over and brown the flesh side for about 2 minutes.
  10. Remove from the heat and allow the duck to rest in the pan for 5 minutes.
Orange gastrique

  1. Place the honey and vinegar in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until reduced by half, 3 to 4 minutes.
  2. Pour in the Grand Marnier, orange juice and lemon juice and reduce by half again, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the butter, one cube at a time, until well emulsified. Set aside.
Apple & green bean sauté

  1. Fill a large bowl with ice and cold water.
  2. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat, add the beans and cook for 2 minutes or until just crisp tender.
  3. Plunge them into the ice bath to stop the cooking and keep them green.
  4. Melt the butter in a small sauté pan over low heat, add the apples and sauté for about 1 minute. Stir in the green beans, sauté for another minute and season with salt and pepper.

To Serve

  1. Set the duck breasts, skin side down, on a cutting board.
  2. Holding a sharp knife at an angle, slice the duck diagonally into 8 slices.
  3. Spoon some of the apple and green bean sauté onto individual plates.
  4. Fan a couple of slices of the duck, skin side up, over the sauté, drizzle with the orange gastrique and sprinkle with Maldon salt. 

Serves 4

Porcini-rubbed Pork Tenderloin
Credit: John Sherlock

Porcini-rubbed Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients

Porcini-rubbed pork Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms, ground to a fine powder
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 4 pieces of pork tenderloin, each 6 oz
Sautéed fingerling potatoes & cipollini onions Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb fingerling potatoes
  • 3 oz green beans, stalk ends trimmed
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 12 cipollini onions
  • 4 oz double-smoked bacon, in 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/4 c Cinzano (sweet red vermouth) 
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 sprigs of Italian parsley, chopped
Salsa verde Ingredients

  • 1 small garlic clove, peeled
  • 1 tbsp baby capers, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 2 anchovy fillets, very finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup Italian parsley leaves, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves, washed and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
  • red wine vinegar, to taste

instructions

Porcini-rubbed pork 

  1. In a small bowl, stir together the porcini powder, brown sugar, olive oil and red pepper flakes until well combined.
  2. Rub the mixture over the pork tenderloins, using as much as possible to coat the meat evenly. Place the pork in a large bowl and refrigerate, covered, for 12 to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat a grill to high heat.
  4. Remove the pork from the bowl, brushing off the excess marinade, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Place the pork on the grill and cook, turning every few minutes, for 8 to 10 minutes for medium-rare, or longer if you prefer your meat medium or well done.
  6. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Fingerling potatoes & cipollini onions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add the potatoes and cook for 3 minutes, or until a small knife goes through to the centre.
  3. Drain the potatoes and cut into thick round slices. Set aside.
  4. Fill a bowl with ice and cold water.
  5. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat, add the green beans and cook for about 2 minutes, until tender but not cooked through.
  6.  Transfer the beans to the ice bath to stop the cooking, then drain and set aside.
  7. Heat the vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.
  8. Add the onions and bacon and cook slowly until both are golden, 4 to 5 minutes.
  9. Stir in the potatoes, green beans, Cinzano and vinegar and cook until the liquid coats the vegetables, about 1 minute.
  10.  Finish with extra-virgin olive oil.
  11. Season with salt and pepper.
Salsa verde

  1. Chop the garlic with a little pinch of salt until you reach a paste-like consistency.
  2. Place the garlic, capers and anchovies in a small bowl.
  3. Add the parsley, mint and Dijon mustard and stir well to combine. Slowly add the olive oil in a contin- uous stream, using a whisk to combine the salsa.
  4. Season with the vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

To Serve 

  1. Divide the potatoes and green beans among individual plates.
  2. Place slices of pork on top and finish with the salsa verde.
  3. Garnish with a sprig of parsley.
Roasted Turkey and Boneless Roasted Stuffed Turkey Leg with Cranberry Compote
Credit: John Sherlock

Roasted Turkey and Boneless Roasted Stuffed Turkey Leg with Cranberry Compote

Ingredients

Cranberry compote

  • 1/2 lb cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Juice and zest of 1 orange
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 4 tbsp cold water
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
Roasted & stuffed turkey

  • 1 turkey, 12 to 15 lbs
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
Gravy

  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 cup chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs of Italian parsley, leaves only
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves only
Chestnut & apple stuffing

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, in 1/4-inch dice
  • 3 cups chestnuts (about 1 lb), peeled, roasted and cut in half
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch dice
  • 6 cups day-old brioche bread or Pullman loaf, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, chopped
  • 4 sprigs of sage, chopped
  • 4 sprigs of Italian parsley, chopped

instructions

Cranberry compote

  1. Place the cranberries, orange juice and zest, lemon juice and zest, sugar, red wine and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in the cornstarch mixture, reduce the heat to low and stir constantly until the mixture thickens.
  3. Add the thyme and set aside.
Roasted & stuffed turkey

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Begin by removing the turkey legs. To do this, hold the thigh and slide a boning knife along the inside of the thigh against the breast.
  3. Continue to slide the knife down all the way to the joint, then pull the thigh away from the breast with your hands.
  4. When the round end of the thighbone is visible, cut through the joint to detach the thigh. Repeat on the other side.
  5. Wrap the legs tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
  6. Remove and set aside the giblets, then rinse the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels.
  7. Season the turkey inside and out with 1 tbsp of the smoked paprika and some salt and pepper. Rub 2 tbsp of the butter, lemon juice and vegetable oil over the turkey breast.
  8. Place the turkey breast and giblets in a roasting pan and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the turkey is golden and the juices run clear. (To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the meat; it should read 165 F.)
  9. Remove from the oven, transfer the turkey to a plate and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  10. Reserve the giblets and the pan juices for gravy.
Gravy

  1. Remove the giblets from the pan and set aside.
  2. Pour the pan juices into a medium saucepan, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until they have caramelized, 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Pour off all but 4 tablespoons of the fat.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  5. Sprinkle the flour into the pan and stir for 1 minute.
  6. Using a whisk, add the chicken stock a little at a time until the gravy thickens and becomes smooth. Season with salt and pepper, then strain into a clean saucepan.
  7. Reserve the giblets to make soup.
Chestnut & apple stuffing

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the onions, garlic, celery and chestnuts and sauté for about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the apples and bread, cook for another 2 minutes, then add the chicken stock, cream and all the herbs.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Spread the stuffing into a shallow baking dish and bake, uncovered, until the top is golden, about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before stuffing the turkey legs.
Finish turkey

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. Cut two squares of aluminum foil large enough to hold the turkey legs. Unwrap the turkey legs. Using a boning knife, hold a turkey leg and run the knife along the side of the bone to separate the meat from the bone.
  3. Try to keep the meat in one long piece.
  4. Repeat with the second turkey leg. (Reserve the bones to make stock.)
  5. Place the meat on a clean work surface and season with 1 tbsp of smoked paprika and salt and pepper.
  6. Arrange 1/4 of the stuffing down the centre of each piece of leg meat. (Spoon the leftover stuffing into a small casserole dish.)
  7. Tightly roll the leg meat over the stuffing.
  8. Rub 1/2 of the remaining butter on each piece of foil, then rub the foil over the turkey rolls.
  9. Place a rolled turkey leg onto each piece of foil.
  10. Fold the bottom half of the foil over the turkey leg, then the top half and fold in the ends as if you were wrapping a parcel, ensuring the turkey legs are tightly wrapped.
  11. Set the foil-wrapped legs in a roasting pan and cook for 25 minutes. (Cook the stuffing in the casserole dish at the same time.)
  12. Remove the turkey from the oven, unwrap and discard the foil and cook the meat unwrapped until the legs are fully cooked. (To test for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part of the meat; it should read 165 F.)
  13. Reserve any pan juices to add to the gravy.

To serve 

  1. Arrange the turkey on a large platter.
  2. Reheat the gravy, stirring in the parsley and thyme just before serving, then pour into a gravy boat.
  3. Spoon the compote into a serving bowl.
  4. Serve the gravy, compote and stuffing alongside the turkey.

Serves 12

Notes: Prepare the compote a day ahead to allow the cranberries to soak up all the flavour of the added ingredients. It will also go very well with your next cheese platter or dessert. For added flavour and a juicier turkey, you can brine it for 24 hours in classic brine before starting this recipe. Allowing the turkey to rest for a solid 30 minutes before even thinking about carving it results in a much juicier turkey. There are other stuffing options: add bacon or try other herbs such as oregano, marjoram or rosemary. Have fun with this recipe! If you are not confident deboning the turkey leg yourself, ask your butcher to do it for you.

Lemon Bars
Credit: John Sherlock

Lemon Bars

Ingredients

Shortbread base

  • 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla paste or 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
Lemon filling

  • 14 eggs
  • 5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup lemon zest
  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

instructions

Shortbread base

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Line a baking sheet that has a 1-inch rim with aluminum foil.
  3. Spray the baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and line it with parchment paper.
  4. Spray it with another layer of cooking spray. Set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until well combined.
  6. Add the vanilla and beat until well mixed.
  7. Add the flour and salt and mix just until combined.
  8. Press the shortbread dough evenly into the prepared baking sheet, then prick it all over with a fork.
  9. Bake until set and lightly golden, about 20 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and set aside. Leave the oven on.
Lemon filling

  1. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk steadily until the mixture forms a smooth batter.
  2. Pour the filling over the hot shortbread base and bake until set, about 30 minutes. (The filling is set when it jiggles like Jell-O.)
  3. Allow to cool before cutting into individual bars.

Makes 36 pieces

Notes: Finish these bars off with a light dusting of icing sugar, or pair them with glazed candied whole cranberries in the winter. This recipe makes a whole lot, so feel free to halve the recipe and cook it in a 9- X 13-inch pan (adjust the cooking times accordingly). Or cut into bars, pack into an airtight container or resealable plastic bags and freeze for up to three months.