We can’t all be great cooks, and most of us will never graduate from the Culinary Institute of Brussels. Nor will we open restaurants or cook for celebrities. But, according to Daniel Joly, master chef and owner of venerable Beaver Creek eatery Mirabelle, we don’t have to spend years behind saucepans to make holiday dishes that will impress our guests and wow our family this Christmas season.
“I want to encourage people to try new things in the kitchen by sharing the dishes that I think people will find accessible,” says Joly. “I don't want to recommend ingredients so complicated that nobody can find them.”
For Joly, the joy in cooking is using simple, seasonal ingredients, focusing on the quality of what you put into a meal so the flavor takes center stage and the dish provides the background for bonding over a meal with friends and family. It's a guiding philosophy that not only lays the foundation for what he does at Mirabelle, but also is at the heart of his collection of recipes, Not Just Another Cookbook.
With the holidays here, it’s time to entertain. Regardless of if you’re hosting friends, cooking for family or want to bring something a bit more inspired to a pot luck dinner, here are three dishes that Chef Joly says you should make this season:
Colorado Warm Goat Cheese Salad
1 red beet
1 golden beet
Sea salt, as needed
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
1 4-ounce log goat cheese
1 shallot, diced
1 ¾ teaspoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Sprinkle the beets with sea salt, wrap them in aluminum foil (like a baked potato), then bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
- When beets are tender enough to be easily punctured by the tip of a knife, cool, peel and cut into a ¼-inch dice. Mix both beets together in a bowl and reserve.
- In a medium saucepan bring the sugar and the water to a boil, creating a syrup.
- Peel and core the apple. Make ½-inch thick wheels, cutting across the apple. Add these slices to the syrup and simmer for five minutes. Remove apples and reserve them on a cooking tray.
- Slice the goat cheese into 4 one-ounce circular portions (roughly the size of the apple slices). Sprinkle some sugar over the goat cheese circles, lightly brulee with a cooking torch and then allow to cool (the brulee step is optional). Place each portion on an apple slice and set aside.
- Carefully fold the shallot, vinegar and grapeseed oil in with the reserved beets. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
- Make dried lemon zest by grating the rind of two lemons onto a cooking sheet, then baking the zest at 300 degrees until dry. Portion the beet salad among four plates, then add the apple slices with goat cheese on top of each portion. Garnish with dried lemon zest.
Chanterelle Ragout with Acorn Squash Ravioli
1 lb. all-purpose flour
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ cup water, or as needed
2 egg yolks
2 lbs. acorn squash
1 cup orange juice
Honey, to taste
Star anise, ground to taste
¼ cup browned butter (browned butter intensifies the taste; heat butter in pan until it starts to brown, but be careful not to burn)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 pinch ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter
¾ lb. chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned (can substitute other in-season mushrooms)
¼ cup shallots, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup vegetable stock
3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped, plus more sprigs to garnish
1 small bunch chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
- In the bowl of a mixer, combine the four, egg yolks and olive oil and then season to taste with salt and pepper. Using the dough hook attachment at low speed, mix the ingredients.
- Slowly add water until the dough starts to come together (only add as much water as needed). Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to rest for one-to-two hours.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- To make the ravioli filling, cut the squash into quarters, remove the seeds and then place in a baking dish, cut side up. Pour the orange juice over the squash, then drizzle with honey to taste. Season to taste with the ground star anise. Roast the squash in the oven until tender (approximately 45 minutes)
- Using a spoon, scoop the meat of the cooked squash into a blender or food processor. Add brown butter and nutmeg, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Blend, then set aside.
- Remove the ravioli dough from the refrigerator and use a pasta machine or rolling pin to make a sheet ¼-inch thick.
- Place the dough on a work surface and cut it into rectangles two inches wide by five inches long. Each ravioli will require two, two-inch by five-inch pieces of dough (one for the top and one for the bottom of the ravioli).
- Place two-to-four tablespoons of the ravioli filling on what will be the bottom piece of the ravioli, keeping the filling away from the perimeter of the dough.
- Brush some egg yolk along the edges of the dough around the filling, then cover with the second (top) piece of the dough. Press along the perimeter with a fork or fingers to seal.
- Cook the ravioli in boiling, salted water just until they rise to the top of the water (approximately two minutes), cooking in small batches to prevent crowding. Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the boiling water and transfer to platter, reserve.
- To make the ragout, heat a sauté pan over high heat, then add the butter and mushrooms. Briefly sauté, then add the minced shallots and garlic, cooking until tender (be careful not to burn the garlic!). Add vegetable stock, chopped thyme and chives, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- To assemble the dish, serve the ravioli with the ragout in a large bowl or on a plate with broth on the bottom and top of the ravioli. Top with fresh thyme sprigs.
Belgian Sugar Tart
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
10 tablespoons granulated sugar
9 tablespoons butter
1 egg yolk
¼ cup water
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
2 ½ tablespoons almond powder
½ cup heavy cream
- In a mixing bowl combine the flour and sugar, stirring together. Cut in the butter and mix by hand.
- Add the egg yolk and water and knead the mixture with your hands until the dough reaches a soft-yet-firm consistency.
- Chill dough in the refrigerator for one hour.
- To make the sugar cream filling, combine the eggs, sugar, brown sugar, almond powder and cream in a mixing bowl, then set aside.
- Pre-heat oven to 390 degrees.
- Roll the sugar dough out to 1/8-inch thickness. Place the dough across a 10-inch tart pan. Press the dough down into the pan, then bake at 390 degrees for five minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.
- Pour the sugar cream mixture into the crust and bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes
- Remove the tart from the and allow to slightly cool. Serve warm.