Aside from skiing on Thanksgiving, our favorite holiday tradition—like everyone else’s—is eating. That being said, we’d like to think that we’ve all evolved beyond fruitcakes and anything that resembles a Jell-O mold, but some of us might need some inspiration when it comes to reinvigorating our rolodex of go-to holiday recipes. Lucky for us (and all of you), some of Root & Flower chef Matt Limbaugh’s favorite holiday traditions are cooking, and he agreed to dish on a few of his favorite holiday recipes so you can create new culinary traditions with your friends and family this holiday season.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Sweet Potatoes
“There’s soy sauce in the mix, but you can sub tamari to make it gluten free,” says Limbaugh. “It’s a different twist on your mom’s frozen Brussel sprouts.”
Roasted Brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes Preheat oven to 450 degrees 8 cups Brussels sprouts 6 cups sweet potatoes 1½ Sambal chili garlic sauce 2 tablespoons soy sauce 2 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon sesame oil 1½ tablespoons white miso paste 2 tablespoons melted butter
After you rinse your sprouts and sweet potatoes under cold water, slice the Brussels in half length-wise and cut off the stem at the end. Cut your sweet potatoes into pieces about the size of your pinky finger (You can peel the potatoes if you like, but Chef prefers to leave it on for extra nutrients). Combine the Sambal, soy, honey, sesame oil, miso and melted butter in a large bowl and and whisk together, then add in the sliced Brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes and mix with spatula to fully coat the veggies in the sauce. Lay everything out on a sheet pan in one layer to cook evenly, and roast in the preheated oven uncovered for around 15-20 until sprouts and potatoes are tender and have nice color.
Pan Roasted Colorado Elk Loin “Elk is great for Christmas—it’s a good change from your standard ham or turkey, and if I have family visiting Colorado, I definitely go for lamb or elk since you can get a turkey or a ham anywhere,” says Limbaugh. Colorado elk with a Cabernet and blackberry reduction Preheat oven to 400 degrees 1 pound elk loin 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil Rub 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed 2 tablespoons corriander seed 2 tablespoons fennel seed 2 tablespoons black pepper corns 2 tablespoons kosher salt Cabernet and Blackberry Reduction ½ bottle Cabernet (something on the cheaper side is fine for cooking) 1 pint blackberries 1 tablespoon sugar 1 pinch salt
Once you’ve created your spice and salt mixture, rub it all over the outside of the elk loin and knock off any extra that doesn’t stick to meat. Heat the grapeseed oil in the pan on medium high heat and carefully sear the elk loin on all sides until it’s brown in color and your start to see a nice crust on the meat. If you have an oven safe pan, you can put it right into your preheated oven and continue cooking until the elk loin’s internal temperature reaches 135 degrees. Once you pull out your roast, let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing. As for the reduction; combine all ingredients in a small sauce pot and reduce on medium heat until the Cab has reduced by three-quarters and has become syrupy. Leave this out at room temperature until you’re ready to drizzle it on your elk roast.
Nana Rasnick’s Buttermilk Biscuits “The biscuits are one of my grandma’s holiday recipes from eastern North Carolina,” says Limbaugh. “They’re my go-to because you can really taste a difference when you buy biscuits frozen and when you make them from scratch.” Preheat oven to 475 degrees Chef’s buttermilk biscuits from his grandma’s recipe 4¼ cups all purpose flour (Gold Medal brand) 3 tablespoons baking powder 1½ teaspoon baking soda 4 ounces cold butter 1½ tablespoons kosher salt 2 cups (+/-) buttermilk
Combine all the dry ingredients in large bowl and whisk together. Cut the cold butter with a knife into very small cubes and add it to the dry ingredients, then mix it all together together to break up the butter cubes a little bit more (but not totally!) to fully incorporate with flour. Take a wooden spoon, and slowly mix in the cold buttermilk and stir just enough to form a dough ball. Time is of the essence here: Roll the dough ball out (quickly!) onto a clean countertop and until it’s about 1 inch thick, then cut out the biscuits with a round cutter and place each on a sheet pan (slightly touching each other). Brush them with buttermilk before you stick them in your preheated oven, and bake for 10-12 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
One last thing; Limbaugh doesn’t mess around when it comes to cooking Thanksgiving turkey, and he doesn’t thing you should either. His pro tip to add to your book of holiday recipes? Brine the bird before you cook it for the most tender meat and flavor that emanates from the inside out.
¼ gallons of water 4 cups apple cider 1 cup kosher salt ½ cup sugar 1 tablespoon black pepper 1 teaspoon cayenne 2 teaspoon paprika 10 garlic cloves (smashed) 10 thyme sprigs 5 rosemary sprigs Mix the liquids together in large bowl and stir in the sugar and salt until they fully dissolve. Once everything is mixed, add in all other ingredients and store your solution in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. Place the turkey in a bowl with the brine mix, and let it sit for 8 to 12 hours depending on the size of your bird.