BERGEN assembled a culinary dream team to create a meal fit for every kind of celebration.
Preparing any holiday meal might seem daunting, but it won’t be this year! Five Bergen chefs share their easy-to-follow recipes so you can impress your guests (and yourself) with food that looks as good as it tastes.
ROASTED PEAR TART
CHEF SEADON SHOUSE, HALIFAX, HOBOKEN
- 1 pack puff pastry dough
- 6 large Asian pears
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cups fresh goat cheese
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup sugar, plus additional for dusting pears n 2 lemons n 3 Tbs. butter n 1 qt. arugula n aged balsamicnsalt and pepper to taste
Peel four of the Asian pears, remove core and dice them into large chunks. Place in a stainless-steel pot, add . cup sugar, zest of one lemon and white wine. Cook on low heat until pears are fully cooked, and all liquid has evaporated. Be careful not to burn. Place in a high-speed blender and blend on high until pears become a smooth puree. Set aside to cool.
Lay puff pastry on a clean work surface and measure 6 equal rectangles. Cut and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Place a wire rack a half inch away from the top of the pastry so that when it cooks it does not puff too high. Place in a 375°F oven for 10-15 minutes until pastry is an even golden brown color. Remove and let cool.
Place the goat cheese, heavy cream, zest of one lemon, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Mix on high until well combined. Place mixture in a piping bag without a tip. Let sit until room temperature.
Cut the remaining pears into quarters and remove the core. Cut each quarter into three wedge pieces. Lightly sprinkle the remaining sugar on the pears and sear them until golden brown in the butter. Once browned on both sides, set aside.
Carefully pipe the whipped goat cheese on top of the rectangle pastries, about . inch thick. Arrange 5-6 slices of the roasted pear pieces on top of the goat cheese. Place tarts on a sheet pan and place in a 375°F oven for 7-10 minutes until warmed through. Remove and place on center of plate. Add dots of the pear puree on the tart and on the plate in desired pattern. Top with a few pieces of scattered arugula and finish with a drizzle of aged balsamic.
PUMPKIN SOUP (SOUPA KOLOKITHI)
CHEF TASOS NTOUMAS, LEFKES, ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS
- 1 whole orange pumpkin, about 4 lbs.
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 2 sticks butter
- ½ cup almonds without skin
- ½ cup hazelnuts
- ½ Tbs. truffle oil
- pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 175°F. Skin pumpkin, cut in half, take out seeds and set seeds aside. Cut pumpkin into chunks.
Add butter to the pumpkin chunks and place on a non-stick baking pan. Cook for 20-25 minutes on low heat. Mix in chicken stock and cook in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.
In a separate pan on the stovetop, roast hazelnuts and almonds with butter and a pinch of coarse sea salt. Take the pumpkin out of the oven and mix with a mixer or Immersion blender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Strain the puree and remove any skin.
To serve, put roasted nut mix in the middle of the bowl. Pour 1 cup of pumpkin soup around the nuts, and garnish with truffle oil.
ROASTED BUTTERNUT & DELICATA SQUASH SALAD
CHEF BEN POLLINGER, THE HILL, CLOSTER
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 delicata squash
- 6 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. dark maple syrup
- ¼ cup toasted hazelnuts, cracked coarsely
- 2 oz. Manchego cheese
- ¼ lb. Tuscan kale or any other kale, stems and ribs removed from leaves
- juice of ½ lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice the stem and blossom ends off both squashes, discard. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Peel one half with a vegetable peeler, reserve other half for another use.
Lay the half butternut squash on a cutting board flat side down. Cut the half squash in half again lengthwise. Cut the lengths of squash widthwise into slices half an inch thick. Do not peel the delicata squash; the skin is tender and tasty when cooked.
Slice the delicata squash into rings half an inch thick, remove seeds and discard. Toss the squashes in a large mixing bowl with 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, 1 tsp. salt and pepper to taste. Arrange on a foil-lined cookie tray and roast in oven until lightly browned and tender, about 15-20 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking.
Mix Greek yogurt with 2 Tbs. maple syrup and salt to taste, reserve. Toss kale leaves in a mixing bowl with 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste. Arrange on another foil-lined cookie tray and bake in oven until crispy and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Reserve at room temperature. As kale cools it will crisp up. Wait until squash comes out of oven to cook kale so there is less moisture in the oven.
Let squash cool to room temperature. Toss with remaining 1 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, juice of half lemon and salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Spoon yogurt evenly among bottom of four salad bowls. Divide squash mixture on top of yogurt in a mound evenly among the four bowls. Top squash with cracked hazelnuts. Shave Manchego cheese into strips with vegetable peeler and arrange over squash. Drizzle remaining 2 tsp. maple syrup evenly over salads. Top each salad with the crispy kale.
CHATEAUBRIAND WITH MASHED SWEET POTATOES AND CRISPY SHALLOTS
CHEF KEVIN PORTSCHER, VILLAGE GREEN, RIDGEWOOD
4 servings of meat,
8 servings of sweet potatoes
- 1 lb. center cut beef tenderloin
- 6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 Tbs. butter (for meat)
- 1 Tbs. butter (for potatoes)
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- ½ cup red wine
- ½ cup demi-glace
- 3 Tbs. orange juice
- 2 Tbs. brown sugar
- ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 2 Tbs. heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 asparagus spears, to garnish
Preheat oven to 375°F. Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy-bottom frying pan.
Season beef with salt and pepper and sear heavily on all sides, usually about 2 minutes per side. Try to leave the beef without moving it until it is seared nicely to avoid cooling the pan. Place meat on a roasting rack and cook in oven about 15 to 20 minutes for medium rare to medium. Allow to rest 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make a gravy by adding shallots to the searing pan with the beef drippings. Pour in the red wine, the demi-glace and butter. Reduce heat and simmer lightly until thick. Slice meat and ladle on the sauce. Garnish with asparagus. Serve immediately.
Put potatoes in a stockpot and cover with water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and cook until tender. Drain out the water and return it to the stockpot. Add orange juice, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, butter and heavy cream and mix. For a smoother consistency,mix everything in a mixer on medium speed until smooth.
RICE PUDDING WITH CHAMOMILE
CHEF ALEX GORANT, AXIA TAVERNA, TENAFLY
- 1 cup medium grain rice
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 cups water
- 4 cups milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 Tbs. butter
- ½ vanilla bean
- 3 bags chamomile tea
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
Simmer salted water and rice for 10 minutes. Add four cups of milk and simmer for 10 minutes more. Add vanilla, butter and cook until tender, adding more milk if necessary.
In a separate pot, heat the remaining milk and steep the tea bags. Whisk the egg yolk in a bowl and slowly whisk in the hot milk. Return egg mixture to the same pot and cook over low heat while stirring until it naps the back of a wooden spoon.
Add the egg mixture to the rice and cool in cups. Sprinkle the top with ground chamomile and black pepper.