The Christmas holiday is right around the corner in the US! Kendall College School of Culinary Arts Vice President Chef Christopher Koetke shares some globally-inspired, unique and dazzling recipes for an appetizer, main course, side dish and dessert that would be perfect at your holiday table next week. Or, any time this winter.
As vice president of both the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts and Laureate International Universities Center of Excellence in Culinary Arts, Christopher Koetke is responsible for strategic leadership of culinary arts programs at Kendall and throughout the Laureate network.
APPETIZER: Indian Meatballs
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serves: 30 meatballs
1 pound ground beef
¼ cup breadcrumbs
1 ½ teaspoons minced ginger
½ cup small diced onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon whole fennel seed
1 teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon Garam Masala or curry powder
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 20 oz can diced pineapple in juice, drained or fresh pieces of pineapple or mango
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl combine all ingredients and mix well.
3. Form small meatballs.
4. Place meatballs on a baking sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until cooked through.
6. Place each meatball on a toothpick with a piece of pineapple.
7. Serve with raita.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Serves: 1 ½ cups
1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup finely diced cucumber
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1. Combine ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
2. Serve with meatball skewers.
MAIN COURSE: Mexican-Influenced Roast Leg of Lamb
“In my travels throughout Mexico, I do not ever think that I have had a roast leg of lamb like the one here. Nonetheless, the flavors in the lamb compliment the lamb’s inherent flavor and add a subtle kick. Serve it with the pipián rojo (recipe below).” – Chef Koetke
Prep time: 20 minutes (plus 12-24 hours marinating time)
Cook time: 45-60 minutes
1 boneless leg of lamb (about 7 ½ lbs)*
6 minced garlic cloves
2 teaspoons chile ancho powder
¾ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 ½ teaspoons salt
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
*Boneless lamb legs are generally wrapped in an elastic net. If the lamb leg is not boneless, ask your butcher to remove the bone by butterflying the leg open.
1. Open the leg so that it lies flat on the cutting board with the exterior of the leg touching the cutting board. Remove any excess pockets of fat. Make some small, ½-inch slits in the meat.
2. Meanwhile, mix together the ancho powder, cumin, oregano, and salt.
3. Rub the garlic into the lamb, being sure to push it into the slits. Sprinkle 2/3 of the spice rub inside of the leg. Drizzle the oil over the leg. Massage the spices and olive oil into the meat.
4. Roll up the leg so that it resembles the shape of the initial leg of lamb. Tie the leg tightly with butcher twine. Season the exterior of the roast with the remaining spice rub. It is best at this point to wrap the leg in plastic wrap and marinate it for 12-24 hours in the refrigerator.
5. Place the lamb on a rack in a roasting pan. Place the pan in a 400° F oven. Baste it periodically with the pan drippings. Cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of 130° (using an instant read thermometer) for a nice medium rare-medium roast. This should take between 45-60 minutes.
6. Remove the lamb from the oven and the roasting pan, and let rest 10-15 minutes in a warm place. This resting period is crucial to a perfectly cooked roast as this allows the juices to spread evenly throughout the roast.
7. Slicing a leg of lamb requires a very sharp slicer. Remove the string and slice very thin slices. The thinner the slices, the more tender the meat will be. Serve with pipián rojo.
“In Mexico, most people consider mole to be their most interesting and advanced sauce. While mole is indeed delicious, pipián is the sauce that existed prior to mole. It is a sauce based on chilies and thickened with various seeds and nuts. The flavor is exquisite and delicious with different meats, like lamb.” – Chef Koetke
Prep time: 15 minutes (plus 2-24 hours marinating time)
Cook time: 4-5 hours
Serves: 3 cups (enough to serve with the one roasted leg of lamb)
3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
¼ cup sliced almonds ½ cup green pumpkin seeds
6 guajillo chilies
2 Tablespoons lard or vegetable oil (lard will make it more flavorful)
2/3 cup finely diced white onion
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon ground paprika
½ teaspoon salt
2 pinches ground cinnamon
5 cups chicken broth
1. Roast sesame seeds in a large sauté pan over moderate heat. Be sure to keep them moving often to keep them from burning. Once they are browned, remove from pan and let cool. Repeat the same process for the almonds and pumpkin seeds. Reserve.
2. In a coffee/spice grinder, grind all the cooled sesame seeds, almonds, and pumpkin seeds until powdered.
3. Remove the stem from the chilies and open them up using scissors. Remove and discard all the seeds and as many veins as possible. (Be sure to wash hands well after doing this!)
4. In a medium sauce pan, sauté onion and garlic in lard or vegetable oil until they are lightly browned and soft. Add chilies and sauté for another minute.
5. Add cumin, paprika, salt, cinnamon and 3 cups chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for about 15 minutes, or until the chilies are very soft.
6. In a blender, purée the chilies and the broth until smooth. Return the mixture to the pot and add ground seed/nut powders, and remaining 2 cups of chicken broth.
7. Bring back to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook slowly until lightly thickened (about 10 minutes). Serve, or chill and reheat later.
“SUPER DELICIOUS” SIDE DISH: Maple Caramelized Brussels Sprouts with Whole Grain Mustard
“Brussels sprouts are not only my favorite vegetable, they are relatively inexpensive, especially late in the fall when they are the sweetest. This recipe combines a number of different flavors for a surprisingly delicious outcome.”
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
1 lb. Brussels Sprouts, boiled until tender, shocked, and halved
5 strips bacon, diced
4 oz. finely diced onion
2 Tablespoons real maple syrup
1 Tablespoon whole grain mustard
Black pepper and salt to taste
1. Cut the ends off of the Brussels sprouts and remove any damaged leaves. Cut a small “x” into the bottom core of each sprout.
2. Boil the Brussels sprouts in salted boiling water just until tender. When they are done, remove them from the water and place in a bowl of ice water to chill them. When they are cold, remove from the water and cut each one in half through the core. Reserve.
3. Render bacon in a sauté pan until the bacon is well browned. Remove bacon.
4. Add onions to the sauté pan and cook until browned and tender.
5. Add Brussels sprouts and cook until they are hot.
6. Add cooked bacon, mustard, and maple. Cook until the maple reduces slightly and coats the Brussels sprouts.
7. Taste for seasoning and serve.
UNUSUAL DESSERT: Prunes Stuffed with Cognac Ganache
“This sweet ideas is perfect for colder weather. Prunes (actually dried plums) are greatly undervalued and misunderstood in America, which is too bad because they are so delicious! Try these and it will forever change your opinion of the humble prune. They make a great addition to a holiday cookie and candy tray.” – Chef Koetke
Prep time: 20 minutes plus several hours for cooling and marinating
Cook time: 0
8 oz. chocolate, semisweet (best quality available)
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 Tablespoons cognac
40 pitted prunes
1. Cut chocolate into small pieces, or grate. Place in a bowl.
2. Bring cream to a boil. Pour over chocolate. Stir gently until the chocolate is well melted and the mixture is homogeneous. Add 2 Tablespoons cognac and stir briefly.
3. Place ganache (chocolate mixture) in refrigerator until cold and noticeably more solid.
4. Mix with 3 Tablespoons Cognac and let sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours to let the prunes absorb the Cognac. Stir from time to time while the prunes are marinating.
5. Make a small dimple in each prune and fill the dimple with a spoonful of ganache.
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