The Perfect Christmas Dinner

Because you just can't fail with these recipes
There's nothing wrong with having turkey again after Thanksgiving, but a Christmas goose, ham, or roast beef are also great alternatives.

The relatives will be descending on the house any day now, and there's still last-minute Christmas shopping to be done. The lights still need to go up, there's no tree, the house is still a mess, and it's a pretty desperate situation. And then there are the presents to wrap and the cards to write. The pressure is mounting, and there's clearly little to no time left to plan out an elaborate Christmas dinner. So we've put together a complete Christmas dinner from start to finish that will hopefully take some of the guesswork out of planning one of the most important get-togethers of the year.

Obviously, we're not expecting that you'll cook all of these (roast turkey, chicken, beef, and pork all on one table would probably lead your loved ones to believe you really have gone off the deep end), but rather, pick one or two recipes from each category which appeal to you. Also, while the title of the story imparts certain expectations (namely, that of perfection), we all know that it's impossible to be perfect — but we did try to find all the "perfect" recipes we could.

And, if everything that can possibly go wrong does go wrong — the roast burns, the tree catches on fire, and someone in their infinite wisdom tells the kids about Santa — then there's always plan B: Do as Ralphie's family did in A Christmas Story, admit defeat, and go to a Chinese restaurant to order roast duck.

Merry Christmas!

 

The Centerpiece

Jonathan Waxman's Perfect Turkey

How does that saying go? "Winner, winner, chicken dinner"? That's because they've never had this turkey before...

Click here to see How to Make the Perfect Roast Turkey.

 

 

Perfect Brisket

One brisket should be all you need to get the job done. Just pay attention to these steps and you’ll have the one the way you want it, too...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Ruhlman's Perfect Roasted Chicken

There are three finesse points to a perfect roasted chicken. They concern seasoning, oven temperature, and the maintenance of a juicy breast and fully cooked thighs...

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The Best" Pork Roast

There are few things which please dinner guests more than seeing a beautifully cooked roast emerge from the kitchen, and Mario Batali’s Tuscan-style pork roast will not disappoint...

 

 

 

 

 

The Prelude

Winter Solstice

Shake off the winter blues with this bright, tangy cocktail from H. Joseph Ehrmann of Elixir in San Francisco...

 

 

  

 

 

 

The Perfect Green Salad with French Dressing  

The clean flavors of a green salad work perfectly alongside heavier dishes, or it can be served as a separate course...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin and Prosciutto Crostini 

The sweetness of the spiced pumpkin purée-ricotta mixture is well-matched with the saltiness of the prosciutto...

 

 

 

Winter Squash Soup with Citrus-Mint Pesto

Topped with a swirl of the citrus-mint pesto, this soup has bright flavors and a silky-smooth texture, and is also gorgeous to look at...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spectacular Sides

"All Day" Green Beans with Kentucky Ham and Salsify  

Country ham and salsify combine to add depth of flavor to these green beans...

 

 

 

Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic  

Sometimes, you just need a straight-up, no-frills mashed potato recipe...

 

 

 

Farmhouse Carrots From the Sprouted Kitchen  

A flavorful and healthy dish that tastes excellent and looks beautiful, too...

 

 

 

Creamed Spinach with Nutmeg

The great thing about this recipe is that it acts as both a sauce and a vegetable...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Josiah Citrin's Pecan Praline-Crusted Yams

This is based on a family recipe from my mother...

 

 

 

 

Maple-Glazed Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Chestnuts  

Roasted with whole chestnuts, the Brussels sprouts acquire an earthy flavor that adds another dimension to the dish...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Desserts to Die For

Chocolate Cake with a Hint of Piment d'Espelette

Vanilla ice cream is a delicious accompaniment to the cake and helps offset its spiciness...

 

 

 

Bobby Flay's Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Crunch and Bourbon-Maple Whipped Cream  

Bobby Flay won the pumpkin pie Throwdown with this crunchy, sweet and creamy dessert...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinnamon-Raisin Biscuit Bread Pudding

This bread pudding is the comfort food of childhood...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hot Piece of Apple Cocktail

This comforting winter weather cocktail tastes like a warm slice of apple pie — that is, if you like your apple pie spiked with mulled wine, dark rum, and Grand Marnier...

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