Latino-inspired holiday recipes are a hit with Hispanic families! Growing up, our holiday table would look just like a Roman bacchanal; a large display of cold cuts and salads, hot meats and entrees, garnishes to satisfy everyone, plenty to drink (with and without alcohol), a plethora of desserts, fresh and dried fruits, a variety of cheeses and of course, Italian panettone. Among some of the many meats, my parents would serve turkey, roasted pig, baked ham, grilled red meat and chicken!
Yes, baking your own ham takes time but it doesn’t require much of your attention and makes your house smell delicious. It is also great for bringing to someone else’s dinner party, can be cooked ahead of time and it is very easy to carry and serve. So here’s how to make the perfect ham dinner, along with some great ideas for potluck meals—whether you’re the hostess or invitee—and some delicious hor d’oeuvres you’ll want to make and share!
1 (12 pound) bone-in ham, rump portion
1/2 cup whole cloves
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 cups water, or as needed
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Place ham in a roasting pan, and press whole cloves into the top at 1 to 2 inch intervals.
3. Pack the top with a layer of brown sugar.
4. Pour enough water into the bottom of the roasting pan to come to 1-inch depth.
5. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil or a lid.
6. Bake for 4 1/2 to 5 hours in the preheated oven (approx. 22 minutes per pound), or until the internal temperature of the ham has reached 160 degrees F. (Make sure the meat thermometer is not touching the bone.)
7. Let stand for about 20 minutes before carving
Note: serve with Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir.
Chestnuts mark the beginning of winter. Chestnuts roasting on an open flame always conjured up images of cozy living rooms on snowy December days. In Italy, as soon as there is a snap in the air, chestnuts vendors fill the piazzas with their roasting trays full of these dark-brown nuts, to be peeled and eaten while strolling.You can serve this creamy side dish alongside meats such as roasted turkey, pig, game or pork. To speed up the cooking time you can use canned chestnuts packed in water.
1 pound whole chestnuts
1/3 cup heavy cream, plus extra for later
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus extra
Sea salt or Kosher and fresh ground pepper, to taste
1. Cut an “X” on the flat side of the chestnut shells, and place them in a pot. Add enough cold water to cover them and bring it to a boil.
2. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until tender.
3. Drain, peel off the shell and inner skin while they are still warm as it gets easier to peel them.
4. Place them in a food processor or blender. Purée until smooth.
5. Transfer the purée to a heavy-bottomed pot over low heat. Stir well. Add cream and butter. Stir to incorporate.
6. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add more cream (or milk) and butter if desired and serve immediately.
EASY MEXICAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH RUM
This Mexican Chocolate Mousse adds up to your average chocolate mousse.
1 18.6-ounce box Mexican chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup whole-organic milk
3/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup white rum
Pinch of cayenne, optional
Pinch of cinnamon, optional
4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
1. In a heavy medium saucepan, over medium heat, stir in milk, chocolate and salt until chocolate melts, about 10-15 minutes.
2. Add the rum carefully
3. Using a long match or lighter, ignite the rum to burn it.
4. Stir the chocolate until the flames subside. (If using, add cayenne and cinnamon now.)
5. Transfer chocolate to a large bowl and let it cool at room temperature.
6. Using a hand electric mixer, beat 3 cups cream in large, clean, bowl until peaks form.
7. Working in batches, fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture.
8. Divide the chocolate mixture into 12 glasses and chill until set. (Can be made a day ahead)
9. Beat the remaining cream until peaks form (you can add some powdered sugar for sweetness).
10. Right before serving, place dollop of cream in each glass.
CHAMPAGNE WITH LEMON SORBET
Great for toasting and super refreshing!
1 bottle of your favorite champagne
1 pint lemon sorbet
Serve in tall champagne glasses and add a scoop of lemon sorbet. Cheers!