Celebrate the holidays with any one of these 34 impressive, satisfying roasts. From traditional pineapple-topped ham to roast lamb with rosemary or prosciutto-wrapped pork loin, you’re sure to find the perfect centerpiece for your dinner table.
England – Christmas Goose with Stuffing
Puerto Rico – Coquito (Puerto Rican Eggnog)
Canada – Tourtière (Québécois Meat Pie)
The recipe for this French Canadian classic came from saveur kitchen assistant and resident Canadian Anne-Marie White.
“This is my favorite kind of rustic home cooking,” she says, “and the apple cider and warming spices make it a perfect holiday dish.”Click here for the recipe.
USA – Sara’s Roast Chicken with Sage and Garlic
This simple, elegant roast chicken is flavored with parsley, lemon, sage, and garlic. This simple but delicious roast chicken is based on a recipe in Olives and Oranges by Sara Jenkins and Mindy Fox. Click here for the recipe.
Germany – Sauerbraten (German Pot Roast)
It was in Cologne in 1963 that I finally solved the riddle of preparing sauerbraten. What I could not achieve until then was the golden glow that shimmers over the deep brown gravy; browning flour in the conventional einbrenne (roux) never yielded that result.
But a generous chef demonstrated the secret: the addition of sugar to the einbrenne. It gilds the gravy even as its sweetness balances the sour lemon note and the zing of pickling spices. —Mimi Sheraton, author of The German Cookbook (Random House, 1965). Click here for the recipe.
Germany – Lebkuchen (German Fruit and Spice Cookies)
This rendition of the deeply-spiced German Christmas cookie gets its soft, chewy texture from the addition of honey. Any leftover dough scraps can be re-rolled and cut into additional cookies; remaining candied citrus can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Germany – Bratäpfel mit Walnusseis (Baked Walnut-Stuffed Apples with White Wine)
USA – Pineapple-Chipotle Glazed Ham
Coca Cola is the secret behind perfect smoky-sweet glazed ham. The New York City–based cookbook author Zarela Martinez gave us the recipe for this smoky, Coca-Cola-glazed ham (see “The Wonders of Ham” in SAVEUR‘s December 2009 issue).
To cut slices of fresh pineapple into perfect circles, use a 3″ round cookie cutter to trim the outer edges of the slices and a 1″ round one to cut out the center. Click here for the recipe.
Sweden – Saffron Buns
The secret to making these mildly sweet pastries—based on a recipe given to us by Gunilla von Heland, a food editor in Stockholm—is to steep the saffron in hot milk before incorporating it. Click here for the recipe.
Sweden – Julskinka (Christmas Ham)
This recipe was developed by Marcus Jernmark, chef at Aquavit in New York City, as part of the restaurant’s traditional julbord spread for Christmas. The ham is cooks in an aromatic soup, then glazed and topped with breadcrumbs.
The crucial step is letting the ham come to room temperature while keeping it in its broth. Click here for the recipe.
England – Decadent Trifle
Drenched in sherry and kirsch, this holiday dessert features layer upon layer of ginger cake, custard, berries, chocolate, and cream. It’s a showstopper. Click here for the recipe.
Norway – Krumkakes (Norwegian Wafer Cookies)
These Norwegian wafer cookies, eaten across Scandinavia during the Christmas season, are light and crisp and perfumed with cardamom. They’re made like waffles on a special griddle that imprints an intricate design, and then they’re rolled and filled with whipped cream. Click here for the recipe.
Italy – Roast Leg of Lamb with Potatoes
USA – Apricot–Ginger Glazed Ham
A glaze made with apricot and ginger adds a sweet note to salty roasted ham.
This recipe comes from Chris Williams, the chef of Lone Star Barbecue & Mercantile in Santee, South Carolina, and is just one of the delicious ham preparations in Executive Editor Dana Bowen’s December 2009 feature, “The Wonders of Ham.” Click here for the recipe.
USA – Roast Turkey with Root Vegetables and Gravy
This recipe involves three steps. First, rub a flavored butter under the turkey’s skin. Then roast the turkey over root vegetables until each piece is done. Finally, make a gravy with the juices left in the roasting pan. Click here for the recipe.
Greece – Roasted Lamb with Rosemary (Arni me Dendrolivano)
This technique of roasting lamb over a bed of rosemary sprigs lends this Greek classic a smoky, herbal flavor. Click here for the recipe.
USA – Fresh Ham with Honey and Cloves
This feastworthy dish, based on a recipe in Pork & Sons by Stéphane Reynaud (Phaidon, 2007), calls for fresh ham, a succulent cut from the pig’s hind leg that yields crisp skin and juicy meat.
If cooking for a larger crowd, roast a whole fresh ham instead of just the shank end, and double the ingredient quantities for the glaze. Click here for the recipe.
Puerto Rico – Pernil Asado (Roast Pork Shoulder)
Puerto Rico – Pasteles (Green Banana and Pork Tamales)
USA – Herb-Roasted Turkey with Hominy, Oyster, and Sausage Dressing
Rubbing the turkey with olive oil and fresh herbs yields a moist, flavorful bird with crisp skin. An apple cider gravy and a dressing of hominy, sausage, and oysters add richness to the festive Thanksgiving centerpiece.
France – Rosemary-Rubbed Beef Tenderloin
Seasoned with fresh rosemary and garlic, this juicy beef tenderloin is the perfect main dish to serve to big groups; any leftovers can be used in sandwiches the day after. For step-by-step instructions on tying a whole beef tenderloin to ensure even cooking, see All Tied Up.
Caribbean – Crisp Roast Pork
This luscious, Caribbean-inspired preparation for garlicky roast pork works especially well with the cut known as picnic shoulder, which gives you crisper skin than the more popular boston butt.
Some cooks like to remove the skin and cook it separately, but we like the mix of textures that you get when you roast the pork with the skin on. (Besides, the fat layer under the skin continually bastes the meat as it roasts.) Click here for the recipe.
USA – Rack of Lamb with Rosemary and Thyme
England – Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding
USA – Roasted Veal Breast with Shallot-Caper Stuffing
Veal breast is akin to beef brisket, but while a brisket must be braised to become tender, roasting a veal breast (which comes from a younger animal) renders it juicy and flavorful.
A boneless veal breast is a long and floppy cut, so it’s best to order it “rolled and tied”—this way all you have to do is unroll it to stuff it, and roll it back up the way the butcher did it. Click here for the recipe.
USA – Roasted Herbed Chicken and Vegetables
This one-dish meal of chicken and vegetables is flavored with lemon peel, garlic, fresh thyme, and butter that has been infused with herbes de provence, a mix of lavender, rosemary, fennel seed, and savory. Click here for the recipe.
USA – Crown Roast of Pork with Corn and Apple Stuffing
A crown roast of pork with stuffing mounded in the middle is a dramatic presentation piece—and very easy to carve: Just slice between the ribs and serve one or two chops per person. Click here for the recipe.
France – Duck à l’orange (Duck with orange sauce)
Duck à l’orange is only as French as Catherine de’ Medici, who popularized what was originally a Florentine dish in France. It was first made with bitter oranges, to offset the richness of the duck. This is our take on the classic. Click here for the recipe.
USA – Squab and Braised Peas
In this dish, the recipe for which is based on one in Game: A Cookbook by Trish Hilferty and Tom Norrington-Davies (Absolute Press, 2009), smoky braised peas pair perfectly with pan-roasted squab. Click here for the recipe.
USA – Prime Rib
Nowadays, most meat markets sell standing beef rib roasts whose smaller connective bones—called the chine bone and the feather bones—have already been removed (the chine is often tied back on to protect the meat from the oven’s intense heat), which makes the meat easier to carve and produces a more handsome roast.
Armenia – Onion- and Saffron-Roasted Lamb
We were introduced to this flavorful lamb dish by Middle Eastern food expert Charles Perry. The sumac that gives the lamb its tang comes from a nontoxic tree fruit—not at all related to poison sumac. Click here for the recipe.
USA – Roast Tenderloin of Beef with Jack Daniel’s Peppercorn Sauce
Veal stock, whiskey, and peppercorns make the perfect sauce for roast beef tenderloin. Click here for the recipe.
Russia – Roast Veal with Sour Cherries
This recipe is an adaptation of one in Please to the Table: The Russian Cookbook (Workman Publishing, 1990) by Anya von Bremzen and John Welchman. Don’t use sweet cherries; they’ll make the dish cloying. Click here for the recipe.
Italy – Prosciutto-Wrapped Roast Pork Loin
Stuffing a butterflied pork loin with herbs and wrapping it with prosciutto keeps the meat juicy and flavorful. Click here for the recipe.
USA – Steam-Roasted Goose
This unusual recipe, from Julia Child’s The Way to Cook (Random House, 1989), produces a moist goose with crisp skin. Click here for the recipe.
USA – Roasted Leg of Lamb with Potato-Fennel Gratin
Like many large roasts, the lamb in this dish is cooked in two stages. The first delivers a blast of intense heat to sear the meat; the second slowly roasts it on a bed of potatoes, fennel, and onions. You can save time by making the gratin while searing the lamb. Click here for the recipe.
France – Bûche de Noël (Yule Log Cake with Coffee Buttercream and Ganache)
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