Entertaining, Martha Stewart – the words have been synonymous for years. The lifestyle expert’s perfectly executed dishes are the inspiration of budding chefs across the world, her holiday decorating ideas have launched a thousand DIY attempts and her artistry for decorating and gardening has assured and calmed the anxious minds of new homeowners and home restorers over the years. So, who better to turn to for Christmas recipe ideas than the grand master herself? Here Martha shares her favourite Martha Stewart Living items for creating the perfect festive feast.
“The stakes and pressure can feel high when hosting a Christmas dinner, but it doesn’t need to be this way,” Martha explains,” With thoughtful planning, and a few of the crowd-pleasing recipes shared below, you can pull off an impressive feast without getting stuck in the kitchen during all the fun.”
“It’s also important to remember that holiday entertaining has just as much to do with being in good company as it does making sure the cloth napkins are folded to precision. It’s all about that extra touch, that extra effort put forth to dazzle guests. That’s why you are hosting, to do a little bit extra for your friends, family, and colleagues.”
Roast Beef with Shallots
Image Credit: Martha Stewart/Photography © Aya Brackett
If you want a bold centrepiece that’s wallet-friendly, I recommend a beef bottom round. It’s flavourful and, with careful preparation, very tender.
I suggest ordering the roast one week before the party. This cut is usually readily available, but you don’t want to be driving around town in a panic if your local store runs out.
It’s delicious cold, warm, or anywhere in between, so you can make It early in the day and serve it at room temperature. To ensure tenderness, I recommend cooking it rare, then slicing it thinly across the grain.
Roasts are great for big gatherings, and for more than one meal; buy a piece that’s larger than you need and you’ll have enough for a breakfast hash or sandwiches the next day.
5 3/4 pounds (2.6kg) boneless rib-eye roast (with fat), tied, if desired
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 pounds (900g) shallots, peeled and halved, if large
2 teaspoons light-brown sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 cup (240ml) dry red wine
Preheat oven to 500 degrees [260 °C]. Season beef with salt and pepper. Place in a large roasting pan; roast until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees [160 °C]. Place shallots around beef; roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of beef registers 130 degrees [55 °C]. For medium-rare, 1 to 1 1/4 hours more, turning shallots with tongs after about 30 minutes.
Transfer beef to a platter; tent loosely with foil. Transfer shallots to a shallow bowl (continue cooking if not golden brown). Toss with sugar and vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil to keep warm.
Pour off fat from pan. Add wine; cook over medium heat until syrupy, scraping bottom of pan, 2 to 4 minutes. Add 2 cups water; cook until reduced by half, 4 to 8 minutes. Strain into a small bowl; whisk in mustard and any accumulated juices from beef. Season with salt and pepper; serve with beef and shallots.
Braised Green Beans with Tomatoes
I highly recommend using one-skillet recipes when cooking for a dinner party; they’re able to cook on the stove while the main dish is roasting, which means you won’t have to navigate for space in the oven.
One of my favourite single pan recipes this holiday season is the braised green beans with tomatoes. This dish spotlights a single ingredient, the green beans, dressed up in flavours that will complement your roast beef.
Slicing the green beans in half on the bias allows them to drink up the tomato-infused liquid as they simmer – it’s delicious!
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 can (400g) whole peeled tomatoes in puree
1 pound (450g) green beans, trimmed
Coarse salt and ground pepper
In a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and oregano, and cook, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
To skillet, add tomatoes and their puree, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon or your fingers; stir to combine. Add green beans, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until green beans are soft, about 30 minutes.
Rainbow Carrots and Chard
Image Credit: Martha Stewart's Vegetables
I like to recommend the Rainbow Carrots and Chard from my newest book Vegetables as a go-to for holiday event planning as well.
Carrots come in an array of beautiful shades, and can add a fresh pop of colour to your holiday table scape. For this striking side dish, we blanched a variety of colours just until tender and bright, then tossed them with a lemon vinaigrette and the colour-coordinated stems of rainbow chard.
The simple side is very easy to prepare when you’re in a rush, and complements whatever main dish you may be serving for the Christmas dinner—grilled pork chops, chicken, steak, or roast beef!
1 pound (450g) small carrots, trimmed and scrubbed
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 bunch rainbow Swiss chard, stems trimmed (leaves reserved for another use)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, and ½ lemon, thinly sliced into rounds
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh mint leaves, for serving
Prepare a large ice-water bath. Cook carrots in a pot of generously salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer to ice bath until cool, then remove with a spider and pat dry.
Cook chard stems in boiling water until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to ice bath, drain, and pat dry.
Whisk together lemon juice, vinegar, and sugar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until combined.
Combine carrots, chard, and lemon rounds in a large bowl. Toss with some dressing, then transfer to a platter. Top with mint and serve.