At the same time sour and sticky-sweet, pomegranate molasses is a great secret ingredient to stash. It brightens many a rich dish, especially those made with fatty, gamy cuts like lamb blade chops. In Bruce Aidells' The Great Meat Cookbook, pomegranate molasses is used as a base for a braised-and-glazed lamb blade chop recipe. The dish as a whole is inspired by Turkish cuisine, with a spicy floral rub for the lamb, and a bright finishing sprinkle of fresh herbs (basil and mint), pomegranate seeds, and pine nuts. Aidells' lamb chops would be welcome on any winter time table, but would make an equally dashing holiday meal (as long as you're feeding open-minded diners).
'The Great Meat Cookbook' on Serious Eats
In The Great Meat Cookbook, Bruce Aidells presents a perfect solution to your porky holiday leftovers: Deviled Ham (in this case, courtesy of his wife's Gammy Brown). For the uninitiated, deviled ham is a chilled mayo-rich salad akin to its chicken and egg brethren. Sure it's a bit retro, but there's nothing to say that retro can't taste good.
Shanks are often overlooked when it comes to choosing a meat for braising, especially in the home kitchen. Sure, intrepid cooks may simmer osso bucco once in a lifetime, but it's rare to see a shank or two appear on the table. In The Great Meat Cookbook, Bruce Aidells presents a great case for bringing pork shanks to the holiday table with his recipe for Stinco. For this Italian-style pot roast, Aidells braises a couple of meaty shanks in a sumptuous sauce of white wine, porcinis, and prosciutto until quiveringly tender. The shanks then get a quick blast in a hot oven to brown and are then served on a soft bed of mashed potatoes, perfect for sopping up all of the potent sauce. The shanks make for an unconventional, yet dignified centerpiece for just about any holiday table.
Some may argue that pot roast is not refined enough for a holiday meal. To those folks, I say, "Bah humbug!" When properly prepared, like Bruce Aidells' Pot-Roasted Grass-Fed Beef Chuck with Winter Root Vegetables, the humble chuck roast can be just as enticing as a bone-in rib roast. This recipe, from The Great Meat Cookbook, produces a meal with multitudinous meaty layers--bacon starts the show, rendering its fat with which to sear the chuck, and a dense red wine reduction forms the backbone (along with beef stock) of the braising liquid. A flurry of root vegetables, shallots, slow cooked onions, garlic add deep vegetal flavor to complement the earthiness of the grass-fed beef. Best of all, the dish is almost entirely hands-off, sending its luscious aromas into the kitchen to entice even the most Scrooge-like of guests.
For a big, rollicking holiday meal, a large beef or pork roast serves as an excellent centerpiece. But for those with a smaller holiday table, a more diminutive entree is warranted. Bruce Aidell's Spinach and Gorgonzola-Stuffed Flank Steak from The Great Meat Cookbook is just the ticket. The stuffing is a snap to throw together but full of funky blue cheese and earthy spinach. Since the cheese makes the filling sticky, it stays put when rolled up into a pounded (or butterflied) flank steak. A quick sear and 25 minutes of roasting later, and the elegant, yet reasonably-sized holiday roast can be on the table.