Holiday recipes with Alton Brown
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and with that, comes the most wonderful food. But cooking in the kitchen isn’t always as merry and bright as it seems. It can be stressful knowing what to cook, or even how to cook it. Lucky for us, we have the helping hand of well acclaimed and highly talented chef, Alton Brown!
Alton Brown has been on the Food Network for over 20 years and is best known as the creator, writer and host of Good Eats, Good Eats: Reloaded, and Good Eats: The Return. He also hosted Cutthroat Kitchen and served as the culinary commentator on Iron Chef America.
Here are some of our favorite Alton Brown holiday recipes:
Spatchcocked Roast Turkey
ACTIVE TIME: 45 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 4 days & 3 hours
YIELD: 12 TO 16 SERVINGS
- 5 grams whole black peppercorns (1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1-gram whole allspice berries (1/2 teaspoon)
- 30 grams kosher salt (3 1/2 tablespoons)
- 2 grams rubbed sage (1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1 (13- to 14-pound) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed and reserved for stock)
- Four days before cooking, make the rub mixture and season the turkey: Coarsely grind the peppercorns and allspice berries by pulsing 3 to 4 times in a blade-style coffee/spice grinder. Add the dried thyme and pulse 3 more times. Combine the salt, rubbed sage, and ground spices in a small bowl and set aside.
- Position the turkey, breast-side down with the tail facing you, on a silicone mat or other stable surface set inside a large sheet pan. Use heavy-duty kitchen shears to cut up one side of the backbone. Turn the bird and cut back down the other side of the spine. Reserve the backbone for stock or gravy. Discard any fat pockets or excess skin found inside the bird. Flip breast-side up and use the heel of your hands to press down on both breasts, until you hear a cracking sound, and the bird flattens.
- Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack (I use a standard cooling rack or cake rack), set inside a half sheet pan. Turn the wings backwards, tucking the tips under the forewings. Flip the turkey breast-side down and season with half of the rub mixture. Flip the bird back breast-side up and season with the remaining mixture.
- Store, uncovered, on the lowest level of your refrigerator for 4 days.
- When ready to cook, allow the turkey to sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Place one oven rack in the center of the oven and a second one just below it. Place an empty roasting pan or large rimmed sheet pan on the lower rack. Crank the oven to 425°F.
- Place the turkey, still on the cooling rack, directly on the center oven rack. Add a cup of water to the pan below to prevent any drippings from smoking. Roast for 30 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue to roast the bird until a probe thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155°F, an additional 40 to 50 minutes.
- Remove the turkey and its rack and rest for 15 minutes before carving. Carryover heat will take the final temperature close to 165 degrees.
ACTIVE TIME: 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour & 30 minutes
YIELD: 4 SERVINGS
- 1 pound kielbasa, sliced 1/4-inch thick, on the bias
- Vegetable oil, as much as needed
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound dried red kidney beans, soaked for at least 4 hours overnight
- 2 quarts unsalted chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 pound red potatoes, cut into ½ - inch cubes
- 6 ounces fresh kale, washed, rinsed, and torn into 1-inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, plus more to taste1.2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Brown the kielbasa in a 7-quart Dutch oven and set over medium-low heat until it has rendered most of its fat, about 15 minutes. Remove the kielbasa from the pot and set aside. If you do not have a least 2 teaspoons of fat, add enough vegetable oil to make 2 teaspoons.
- Cook the garlic in the fat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent the garlic from burning. Add the beans, chicken broth, and 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook, covered, for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, stir in the potatoes, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Toss the kale into the pot, cover, and cook for an additional 10 minutes, or just until it is tender, but not mushy.
- Sprinkle with the vinegar and pepper and stir to combine. Return the kielbasa to the pot and cook just until heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more vinegar and salt as desired. Serve hot.
Eggnog ice cream
ACTIVE TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 6 hours
YIELD: 1 QUART
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 fluid ounces bourbon
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until the yolks lighten in color and the sugar is completely dissolved. Set aside
- Combine the milk, cream, and nutmeg in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and gradually stir the hot mixture into the egg yolk and sugar mixture. Return everything to the pan and cook until the mixture reaches 160°F on a digital instant-read thermometer.
- Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, pour into a medium mixing bowl, and refrigerate. Chill the mixture until it reaches a temperature of 40°F, 4 to 6 hours.
- Once it's chilled, process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve as is for soft-serve or freeze in an airtight container for 2 to 4 hours for traditional ice cream.
- Once it's chilled, process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Serve as is for soft-serve or freeze in an airtight container for 2 to 4 hours for traditional ice cream
Gluten-free sugar cookies
ACTIVE TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 9 hours
YIELD: 4 DOZEN COOKIES
Ingredients for the Gluten-Free Flour Mix:
- 1 3/4 cups plus 1 1/2 teaspoons brown rice flour
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons white rice flour
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 teaspoons tapioca flour or starch
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon potato starch
- 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
Ingredients for the Cookies:
- 3 1/2 cups Gluten-Free Flour Mix (above)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to 67°F
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- Confectioners' sugar, for rolling
For Gluten – Free Flour Mix:
- Combine all of the ingredients in a large, airtight container, shake well, and use within 6 months.
- Whisk together the gluten-free flour mixture, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Cream the sugar and butter together in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-low speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs and extracts and continue mixing on medium-low until just combined, about 15 seconds more. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and continue mixing until it is completely incorporated, about 30 seconds
- Divide the dough in half, shape into 4-by-6-inch rectangles, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
- When you’re ready to bake, remove half of the dough from the fridge and let sit on the counter for 10 minutes to soften. (If refrigerated overnight, it may take longer than 10 minutes to soften enough to roll.) Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Lightly dust a third piece of parchment paper with powdered sugar, place the dough in the middle, then top with a fourth sheet of parchment. Roll the dough into a rough rectangle that’s 1/4-inch thick. Punch the dough into shapes using cookie cutters.
- One at a time, use a small offset spatula to transfer the cookies to the prepared sheet pans. (I use a small metal offset spatula for this). If the dough becomes too soft to handle during any point of the process, chill in the fridge for 10 minutes to firm. Repeat with the second rectangle of dough and second baking sheet. Re-roll the dough as needed to make as many cookies as you’d like. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to firm up.
- Meanwhile, place one oven rack in the top third of the oven and another in the bottom third and crank the oven to 325°F.
- Bake the cookies straight from the fridge for 8 minutes, then rotate the pans 180 degrees and swap the top with the bottom pan. Continue baking until the edges of the cookies just begin to brown, about 7 more minutes. Move the sheet pans to wire cooling racks and let cool 10 minutes. Slide the parchment off the pan onto the rack and let the cookies cool completely before icing. Repeat the rolling, cutting, chilling, and baking steps with the remaining dough.
With this recipe guide, we hope you have a tasty and joyful holiday season!
All recipes and information provided for this article can be found at altonbrown.com.