Four top toques (and one ace bartender) from across the U.S. update some holiday classics: turkey and stuffing, oysters, a roast, pie and cider
¾ lb. peeled fresh chestnuts
Break each chestnut into a few pieces and spread them out on a baking sheet. Allow the pieces to dry overnight in a warm place.
The next day, place the chestnuts in a food processor and pulse until they break into ¼-inch chunks. Use a sieve to reserve these pieces, discarding the powder. Transfer to a plate.
1 tsp. grated orange zest
½ c. freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground star anise
¼ tsp. black peppercorns
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 sprig thyme
Two 1½-lb. venison loins, trimmed
Mix all ingredients in a shallow pan, then roll the venison in the marinade to coat. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least four hours (preferably overnight), turning the meat a few times.
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
¼ c. extra-virgin olive oil
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
Remove the venison from the marinade, pat dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a long pan or dish, beat together the eggs and yolk. Dust one side of each loin with flour, shake off the excess and dip that side into the egg mixture and then into the chestnuts.
Heat the olive oil in a roasting pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the venison, chestnut-side down, and cook for about two minutes. Flip the loin and place the roasting pan in the oven. Roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until medium-rare.
1 small shallot, peeled, trimmed, finely chopped, rinsed and dried
2 tsp. coarsely crushed black pepper
1 tsp. grated orange zest
4 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 c. dry red wine
1 tsp. sugar
1½ c. homemade unsalted beef stock or store-bought low-sodium beef broth
2 tsp. unsalted butter
After roasting the venison, remove as much grease from the liquid in the pan as possible and place the pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring, just until translucent. Add the pepper and orange zest, sauté for a minute more, and then deglaze the pan with the balsamic vinegar, cooking and stirring until the vinegar just about evaporates. Add the red wine and cook down again until the pan is almost dry. Add the sugar and beef stock and cook at a boil until the liquid is reduced by half. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Remove the pan from the heat and swirl the butter into the sauce.
To serve: Slice the venison loins into 12 to 16 slices and arrange them attractively on a platter, then moisten with the sauce. If you like, serve with spice rutabaga (recipe below).
Zest from ½ orange (pith removed), cut into very thin strands
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large rutabaga, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
Large pinch of ground cinnamon
Small pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Small pinch of ground star anise
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 sprig thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 c. homemade unsalted chicken stock or store-bought low-sodium chicken broth
Put the orange zest in a small pot of water and bring to the boil. Boil two minutes; drain and set aside.
Warm the olive oil in a large sauté pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the rutabaga, spices, garlic, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring, for five minutes, without letting the rutabaga color. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil, cover the pan and lower the heat to keep the liquid at a simmer. Braise the rutabaga for 15 minutes, or until it can be pierced easily with the tip of a knife.
Remove the cover and cook the rutabaga, stirring and turning it gently, until it is glazed and the liquid in the pan has evaporated; discard the garlic and thyme. Just before serving, stir in the orange zest. (The rutabaga can be made several hours ahead, kept covered in the refrigerator, then warmed over gentle heat before serving; stir in the zest at serving time.)