Lawrence chefs share best holiday recipes

Ken Baker's Five-Spice Orange and Apple Roast Duck with Madeira-Grainy Mustard Sauce. The recipe works for a Christmas goose, too.

Ken Baker's Five-Spice Orange and Apple Roast Duck with Madeira-Grainy Mustard Sauce. The recipe works for a Christmas goose, too.

When it comes to food and drink, if there's ever a time to whip up something special, it's Christmastime.

Whether you make a little extra effort, boost the decadence level or capitalize on bright colors and seasonal ingredients for a festive look, holiday dishes are part of what makes celebrations with family and friends special.

Need some fresh ideas for your recipe file? The Journal-World asked a few of Lawrence's food and beverage professionals to share their favorite holiday recipes. They came through with special — yet do-able — dishes from main course to after-dinner drinks.

A Christmas duck with layers of flavors

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Pachamamas chef and owner Ken Baker created a recipe for Five-Spice Orange and Apple Roast Duck with Madeira-Grainy Mustard Sauce. The same recipe and method works for a Christmas goose, too.

The warm, wintery flavors of this recipe are tried and true for a goose or duck, said Ken Baker, chef and owner at Pachamamas, 800 New Hampshire St.

“This is the perfect traditional roast to cap off a day in fine fashion, even if you are feeling like Scrooge,” Baker said.

The brine, which you can tweak to your liking, ensures the bird will be moist and flavorful. Baker said filling the cavity with fruit not only gives the roasting meat a wonderful flavor, it adds an intoxicating holiday aroma to your home as well.

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Ken Baker's Five-Spice Orange and Apple Roast Duck with Madeira-Grainy Mustard Sauce. The recipe works for a Christmas goose, too.

Five-Spice Orange and Apple Roast Goose/Duck with Madeira-Grainy Mustard Sauce

Start to finish: 3 hours 20 minutes (20 minutes active), plus 12 to 24 hours for brining

Servings: 8 for goose or 4 for duck

For the goose or duck:

1 1/2 gallons cold water

1 cup kosher or sea salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

2 bay leaves

1 tsp black peppercorns, toasted

1 young goose (10-12 pounds) or duck (3-4 pounds), fully thawed

Salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder

1 apple, peeled and quartered

1 onion, peeled and quartered

1 orange, quartered

1 lemon, quartered

For the sauce:

1 carrot, peeled and diced

1 rib celery, diced

2 shallots, minced

2 cups rich chicken stock or broth

2 cups Malmsey or Bual Madeira

2 sprigs fresh thyme

Roasted neck, heart and gizzards (optional)

2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

2 tablespoons orange marmalade (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Add the 1 1/2 gallons of cold water to a stockpot large enough to fit the goose or duck and brine mixture. Add the salt, sugar, bay leaves and peppercorns, and bring to a boil, until salt and sugar are dissolved. Cool thoroughly.

Unwrap the goose/duck and remove anything in the cavity. (Feel free to roast the neck, heart and gizzards separately. You can place them in the sauce while it reduces.) Rinse and trim any excess fat from the neck and tail end of the bird and place it in the brine so it is completely submerged. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours.

Remove the bird from the brine and pat dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Carefully prick the skin with a paring knife, making sure not to cut all the way through to the meat. This will allow the fat to drain and baste the bird. It will also ensure a crispier skin.

Sprinkle the bird cavity generously with salt, five-spice powder and pepper. Cut the onion, apple, orange and lemon, and place into the cavity. Place the bird, breast-side up, in a large roasting pan with rack, to keep the bird at least 1 inch off the bottom. Add up to 2 cups of warm water to the bottom of the pan.

Roast at 350 F for 2 1/4 to 3 hours, until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 170 F. Remove bird from oven, cover loosely with foil and let rest at least 25 minutes before carving.

To make the sauce:

In a sauce pan, sweat the aromatics (carrot, celery and shallots) over medium heat until softened. Add remaining ingredients except the marmalade, mustard and seasoning. Bring to a simmer, and cook until sauce is reduced by 1/2 to 2/3. Strain the reduction and whisk in marmalade, mustard and seasoning. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve on the side of carved bird with your favorite accompaniments.

(Recipe from Ken Baker, Pachamamas)

Braised lamb shanks, a one-pot ‘wow’

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Chris Rieke, executive chef at Teller's, suggests Beer Braised Lamb Shanks for a holiday meal. The one-pot recipe is hearty and simple, but the not-so-everyday cut of meat and its bone-in presentation make it special occasion worthy.

In Chris Rieke’s family, pot roast is usually the main course at Christmas dinner.

This one-pot recipe for braised lamb shanks is the same idea and just as easy, but the dish’s not-so-everyday cut of meat and bone-in presentation are even more special-occasion worthy.

“This is kind of a nicer thing that can wow people,” said Rieke, who is executive chef at Teller’s, 746 Massachusetts St.

Rieke suggests serving a fresh salad and green vegetable such as sauteed fresh green beans alongside this main dish.

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Chris Rieke's one-pot recipe for Beer Braised Lamb Shanks makes a simple, yet special occasion-worthy main dish for a holiday meal.

Beer Braised Lamb Shanks

Servings: 2

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Salt and pepper

2 lamb shanks

1 can beer (pilsner)

32 ounces chicken stock or broth, or enough to cover all but 1 inch of shanks

3 cloves garlic

1/2 large white onion, chopped in to large pieces

3 celery stalks, chopped into large pieces

1 large potato, peeled and chopped chopped into large pieces

1 large carrot, chopped into large pieces

2 tablespoons fresh herbs, such as rosemary or mint

Heat the oven to 350 F.

In a large, oven-safe pot or Dutch oven, heat oil to almost smoking. Sprinkle lamb shanks with salt and pepper. Sear shanks on all sides, just long enough to create a crisp brown coating. Remove shanks from pot and set aside.

Add vegetables to pot and sautée about a minute. Place shanks back in pot, add beer and chicken stock, bring to a boil.

Remove pot from stove and place in oven, leaving uncovered. Simmer 2 1/2 hours.

Serve vegetables alongside lamb shanks and sprinkle with fresh herbs.

(Recipe from Chris Rieke, Teller’s)

Clementine and pomegranate salad, festive yet fresh

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Paige Vandegrift

Not all foods have to be overly difficult, decadent or sweet to be “of the season.”

Paige Vandegrift, who teaches cooking classes at the Merc and blogs at www.forloveofthetable.com, said this festive, refreshing and beautifully colored salad — highlighted with clementines and pomegranates, both in season in December — would make a perfect first course for a dinner party.

Except for the avocado, all the pieces of the salad can be prepared ahead so you can focus on your guests and other elements of the meal.

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Contributed photo

Clementine and Pomegranate Salad with Avocado, by chef Paige Vandegrift, is a festive yet fresh approach to a holiday salad.

Clementine and Pomegranate Salad with Avocado

Servings: 6 to 8

For the dressing:

1 1/2 tablespoons white (or golden) Balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon clementine zest

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the salad:

1 to 1 1/4 pounds clementines (or another seedless variety of Mandarin oranges or tangerines)

2 large ripe, but not too soft, avocados (preferably Haas)

8 small handfuls of mixed baby lettuces (about 5 to 6 ounces)

3/4 to 1 cup pomegranate seeds, from one medium pomegranate

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, zest and 1/4 teaspoon salt until smooth. While whisking, add the olive oil in a thin stream. You should obtain a lightly thickened emulsified vinaigrette. Taste and correct the balance and seasoning. The vinaigrette should be sharp (to balance the sweetness of the fruits).

To prepare the clementines, cut the stem and blossom ends from the fruit. Place each fruit cut side down on the cutting board and, following the contour of the fruit with your knife, remove the peel and cottony pith — working from top to bottom and rotating the fruit as you go. When the clementines are all peeled, slice them cross-wise into 1/4-inch pinwheels. Set aside.

When you are ready to make the salad, halve the avocados and remove the pit and peel. Cut each half in half lengthwise (to obtain a quarter) and slice the avocado cross-wise into 1/4-inch slices. Drizzle with a bit of the vinaigrette and season with salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, place the greens and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a small amount of vinaigrette. Toss the greens with the vinaigrette, adding more vinaigrette if necessary, until all of the leaves are coated with a light film of dressing.

Place half of the greens on a large platter. Nestle half of the avocado slices and clementine pinwheels into the greens, being careful not to flatten the greens. Scatter half of the pomegranate seeds over all. Arrange the rest of the greens on top, and tuck the remaining avocado slices and Clementine pinwheels into the salad, again scattering the pomegranate seeds over all. Drizzle with some of the remaining vinaigrette, if you like. (Alternatively, build the salad on individual salad plates.)

Note: The amounts of clementine, avocado, salad greens and pomegranate seeds are only a guideline. The idea is to make a salad that is abundant with fruit. Also, if your pomegranate and clementine are on the acidic side, consider softening vinaigrette’s sharpness with a little extra oil or a teaspoon or so of honey.

(Recipe from Paige Vandegrift, www.forloveofthetable.com)

Cocktails to get cozy with

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Lawrence Journal-World

Justin Lee, general manager at Paisano's Ristorante, shared recipes for the restaurant's holiday cocktails, which he creates.

Once the main meal is over and the dishes are done, it’s time for a cocktail at Justin Lee’s large family Christmas get-togethers.

Lee, general manager at Paisano’s Ristorante, 2112 W. 25th St., started creating holiday cocktails for the restaurant a couple years ago.

Drinks that are served hot or hinge on rich flavors like hazelnut, nutmeg and vanilla are perfect this time of year, Lee said. While a restaurant like Paisano’s keeps specialty liquors in stock, a better — and less expensive — approach for at-home mixing is choosing one recipe to serve as a signature drink at a party or family gathering.

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Lawrence Journal-World

Justin Lee, general manager at Paisano's Ristorante, creates the restaurant's holiday cocktails, all of which are easy enough to make and serve at home. Pictured, from left, are the Holiday White Russian, Godiva S'mores Martini, Workshop Cider, Santa's Little Helper Martini and Something Sinful.

Santa’s Little Helper

2 ounces Godiva White Chocolate liqueur

1 ounce Godiva Chocolate Raspberry vodka

2 ounces Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur)

Shake with ice, strain into a martini glass rimmed with raspberry puree.

(Recipe from Justin Lee, Paisano’s Ristorante)

Workshop Cider

1 ounce Bushmills Irish Honey whiskey

1 ounce Tuaca Cinnaster (cinnamon and vanilla flavored Tuaca)

Hot apple cider to fill

Serve in a mug, garnish with a cinnamon stick.

(Recipe from Justin Lee, Paisano’s Ristorante)

Godiva S’mores

1 ounce Three Olives S’mores vodka

2 ounces Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur

2 ounces Smirnoff Fluffed Marshmallow vodka

Shake with ice, strain into a martini glass rimmed with chocolate syrup and graham cracker crumbs.

(Recipe from Justin Lee, Paisano’s Ristorante)

Something Sinful

1.5 ounces Grey Goose Cherry Noir vodka

1.5 ounces Bailey’s Hazelnut Flavor liqueur

1 ounce cream

Serve over ice in rocks glass. Garnish with a chocolate-covered cherry.

(Recipe from Justin Lee, Paisano’s Ristorante)

Holiday White Russian

1.5 ounces Stoli Karamel vodka

1.5 ounces Kahlua Gingerbread liqueur

Cream

Serve over ice in highball glass.

(Recipe from Justin Lee, Paisano’s Ristorante)

Holiday cookies

Need holiday cookie recipes, too? We've got lots.

Take a look at this year's Journal-World holiday cookie contest winners, or the 12 days of cookie recipes — all made with a different pantry spice — from the Associated Press.

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