Three Cozy Dinners on Our Vacation Radar—Plus, Wines to Go With

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We have partnered with Imagery Wine Assortment—a portfolio of distinctive, artistically impressed wines—to share holiday-ready wine and meals pairings, plus plating ideas and methods for creating a shocking unfold.


There’s one thing in regards to the holidays that makes me wish to prepare dinner meals extra lavish than the typical dinner: glistening roasts, free-poured cream and cheese over grains, fish so tender it virtually falls aside.

Although this time of yr feels acquainted, the vacations might be totally different. The prospect of fewer—if any—cookie swaps or massive household dinners is disappointing, nevertheless it doesn’t imply I’ll accept boxed mac and cheese. I’ll roll up my pajama sleeves and head to the kitchen to organize the prettiest-possible feast, even when I’m solely feeding two individuals. (And roll your eyes in order for you, however I by no means mentioned I wasn’t going to Instagram this!)

Listed here are three holiday-worthy dishes I’ll be making this season—plus, the right wines to pair ’em with and serving concepts to make the entire thing really feel like an event.

Photograph by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Meals Stylist: Lauren LaPenna.

1. Roasted Cauliflower Brown Rice Risotto + Chardonnay

I don’t eat an excessive amount of meat, so for a festive vegetarian meal, I like a warming, stick-to-your ribs brown rice risotto.

Photograph by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Meals Stylist: Lauren LaPenna.

I wish to crank my favourite vacation songs whereas I prepare dinner (I nonetheless hearken to the home-burned CDs that my pals despatched yearly for a decade), and typically I’m too busy singing together with Mariah Carey that I don’t hear the timer. Belief me, nothing kills the celebratory vibe sooner than acrid burnt walnuts, so once you’re toasting, bake the nuts simply till you may scent them—belief your nostril, it is aware of. As a substitute of finely chopping them earlier than serving, I like to make use of the flat facet of a knife or the bottom of a small bowl to softly smash them, which leaves tough walnut items which you could really crunch on.

For the prettiest doable bowl, high the risotto with large, flat shards of Parmesan as an alternative of grated. Even when the rice is piping sizzling, cheese lower like this can solely midway soften, leaving you with two salty, funky Parm textures in these first bites (as an alternative of instantly turning to gloop). I’ll ladle servings of risotto into particular person flat bowls, bringing the pot to the desk for second helpings.

Risotto’s easier flavors name for drinks that gained’t overpower the meal—I go for wine that’s citrusy and never too acidic. Enter: Chardonnay. With a crunchy carrot and radicchio salad on the facet, this crisp white is dreamy. And whereas we’re on the topic, although I don’t assume white wine must be ice-cold, it must be well-chilled, which suggests a pair hours within the fridge; too chilly, and among the delicate flavors will get misplaced.

However later, whereas on the sofa watching The Vacation, it doesn’t matter the wine temperature. So long as I’m stuffed from an ideal meal, I’ll have one other glass—and possibly a pair rainbow cookies, too.

2. Sesame Encrusted Salmon + Pinot Noir

It’s not fairly Feast of the Seven Fishes-level improbable, however my household has a long-standing custom of fish on Christmas Eve. Biggest hit of years previous: lox-topped latkes (that was the yr Hanukkah fell on the identical night time—did I point out we’re Jewish too?). This yr, I’m feeling an enormous salmon fillet, made extra-special with a Pinot Noir pan sauce.

A giant handful of flat-leaf parsley (barely run by means of with a knife) is a perfect approach to brighten up this fish earlier than serving, offsetting the pink salmon flesh. To make sure these herbs keep perky, I soak them in ice water, then spin dry in a salad spinner. Earlier than consuming, as an alternative of slicing the salmon into neat servings, I plop the entire fillet on a platter and gently break it into a number of giant items with an enormous spoon, encouraging my household to additional break up and scoop their desired items.

Photograph by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Meals Stylist: Lauren LaPenna.

Naturally, we’ll drink wine too—beginning with no matter’s left within the bottle, post-sauce. Spoiler alert: Fish doesn’t have to be served with white wine! Fatty salmon pulls out Pinot Noir’s notes of jammy fruit, and I personally wish to serve it barely chilled. I believe one of many largest errors made with pink wine, particularly a lighter one like Pinot Noir, is serving it too heat. I pop the bottles within the fridge for an hour earlier than pouring a glass.

3. Pomegranate-Braised Lamb Shanks + Cabernet Sauvignon

Rising up, meat was a special-occasion dinner, and I’ve carried over that custom into maturity. Nothing feels fairly as luxe on a vacation as a pile of lamb shanks, braised for hours till fall-off-the-bone-tender. Although I don’t drink full-bodied wines day by day, this recipe begs to be served with one thing like Cabernet Sauvignon. I wish to serve heavier reds a tad cooler than room temperature (there’s a pattern taking place; pink wine shouldn’t be too heat!), so it goes within the fridge about half an hour earlier than dinnertime.

Photograph by Rocky Luten. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth. Meals Stylist: Lauren LaPenna.

However earlier than digging in, let’s speak in regards to the pomegranate braising liquid-turned-sauce: I like to cut back this one for some time (till thick and syrupy) earlier than pouring it over the meat, successfully glazing the shanks. And don’t skip the pomegranate arils on high—they add the brightest shade distinction, glowing like jewels on high of the meat.



What food-and-wine pairings will you be serving this vacation season? Inform us within the feedback!

We have partnered with Imagery Wine Assortment—makers of inventive, flavorful wines good for pairing—to share scrumptious wine and meals combos prepared for the vacation season. Assume: a creamy, nutty brown rice risotto with Imagery Wine Assortment’s citrusy-crisp Chardonnay; sesame encrusted salmon with Imagery Wine’s Assortment’s gentle and jammy Pinot Noir; and tender pomegranate-braised lamb shanks with with Imagery Wine Assortment’s full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon. Planning your personal vacation feast? Have all three wines delivered straight to your door.

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