20 Tantalizing Holiday Main Dishes
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Cornish Game Hens with Root Vegetable Hash
A marinade made of rosemary, orange juice and sorghum (a syrup that is stronger tasting than honey but less bitter than molasses) infuses the dish with sweetness and color. Chef Edward Lee swears by sorghum's flavor, but if you can't find it, molasses works.
Stuffed Beef Tenderloin Filet
At the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, cheddar and mushrooms flavor indulgent steaks.
Herb-Crusted Rack of Lamb
With its short cook time, this Mediterranean-inspired roast leaves plenty of time (and space in the oven) for preparing side dishes. The recipe comes from chef Anne Kearney.
You can halve this recipe, but chef Gerard Craft says he likes to make a lot so he has leftovers for sandwiches. We recommend ordering pork belly through an independent butcher, not a supermarket. The staff will be more accustomed to unexpected orders, and you're less likely to receive a rock-solid frozen belly. They may even remove the skin and trim the meat for you. Fennel seeds work, but look for fennel pollen, which has a sweeter and more intense flavor, at specialty stores or online.
Chef Gerard Craft likes to serve Salsa Verde over potatoes or with porchetta.
If you're thinking about holding a holiday wine-tasting party, the flavors of the red meat sauce and cheese-spinach layers in this colorful lasagna will complement the wines.
Cider-Brined Turkey with Roasted Apples
Even better than the pretty glazed fruit and crazy-juicy bird? The appley gravy made from the drippings.
Rolled Spinach Pork Loin
Roll a filling of bacon, chopped spinach and Parmesan cheese in pork loin roast to create this appealing holiday main dish, from Turkey Run Inn in Terre Haute, Indiana. When checking the temp of this roast, move the thermometer around so it's resting in meat, not filling.
Herbed Chicken With Wild Rice
For the holidays, guests savor this herbed chicken and vegetable main dish at Spa Shiki at the Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, Missouri. Chefs cook and stir their own Alfredo sauce, but we skipped that step and used purchased sauce as the base.
Tomato Pesto Turkey and sides
Our main dish turkey gets an extra sparkle of flavor from tomato pesto with herbs, salt and pepper slipped between the skin and meat of a turkey breast. The mashed potatoes mix yellow and sweet potatoes with cream cheese, butter, sour cream, bacon and canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. The Brussels sprouts are skillet-roasted and tossed with seasoned mushrooms.
Baked Holiday Spiral Ham with Raisin Sauce
Raisins dot the sauce and plump up as they're heated in this easy topper for traditional spiral-sliced holiday ham. Plan on leftovers for sandwiches and soups.
Saute thin-sliced pork tenderloin, then serve it with tomato-rich Marsala sauce, generously flecked with garlic. The recipe comes from Ohio's Shawnee State Park Resort near the town of Friendship.
Mediterranean Stuffed Breast of Chicken
Stuff chicken with a colorful mix of tomatoes, mushrooms, pine nuts and goat cheese or feta cheese in this recipe from the DeSoto House Hotel in Galena, Illinois. A rich cream sauce tops the chicken.
Pheasant Breast Supreme
Serve this rich sherried mushroom sauce over either pheasant or chicken breasts. The recipe comes from a restaurant in South Dakota, where several areas claim to be the "Pheasant Capital of the World."
Grand View Lodge Spinach-Stuffed Chicken
You have to try this spiral of chicken stuffed with oozing cheese, courtesy of Grand View Lodge in Nisswa, Minnesota. For another Minnesota chicken dish, try Roast Breast of Chicken with Mushroom and Wild Rice Stuffing, a favorite at the Gunflint Lodge near Grand Marais, Minnesota.
Unbelievable Les Bourgeois Beef
Guests can almost forget their knives when eating this tender beef draped with rich cream-and-wine sauce. The recipe comes from Les Bourgeois Vineyards in Rocheport, Missouri.
Cherry-Marinated Beef with Roquefort Polenta and Corn Salsa
Cherry juice concentrate gives the beef a nice "char" when grilled. This recipe comes from the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa near Traverse City, Michigan.
Roasted Pork with Jamaican Snapdragons
No flowers appear in this Caribbean-inspired dish from the Deadwood Social Club in Deadwood, South Dakota. The name simply sounded fun. Rum, raisins and sweet pork tenderloin provide the centerpiece of a delicious holiday meal.
If your holiday diners are in the mood for something other than turkey -- or you're serving a choice of entrees -- try this marinated beef flank steak with rich mushroom sauce. The recipe comes from Camp Ticonderoga in Troy, Michigan, where the cathedral ceiling, cobblestone fireplaces and wood floors remind visitors of an early 1900s Adirondack lodge.
Pork with Cherry and Wild Rice Stuffing
This stuffing, which includes sausage, dried Michigan fruit and wild rice, forms a spiral when rolled up into a top loin roast. The recipe comes from New York Restaurant in Harbor Springs, Michigan.
Season's Best Shrimp Parmesan
Spoon this creamy, rich shrimp sauce over rice or pasta. It's a specialty from Cafe Beignet in St. Charles, Missouri.