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A Cowboy Approved Holiday Spread

A crowd-pleasing, three-course holiday spread you could serve for any family dinner. 

Welcome back to another edition of Krysta’s Kitchen! I hope you all know by now that whatever comes out of my kitchen are meals that anyone can cook as well. With that being said, this edition is no different but instead of one recipe, I am sharing four! These recipes were carefully curated to create a stunning holiday dinner spread that could even impress the toughest cowboys. 

Set Yourself Up for Success

Before we dive in head first, you know the drill. Grab yourself a cold Coors Light and pull up a chair because there are some tips that I want you to know about before we get cooking. 

  1. If you are planning on cooking all of these recipes together, then I highly recommend getting everything prepped the day before you plan to cook everything. I will let you know in the recipes what you can do the day before and what you can do the day of. 
  2. Have all of the recipes in front of you. Thankfully, if you’re reading this magazine, then I made it pretty easy for you! 
  3. Use what you have on hand. There are some key ingredients in these recipes that are hard to swap out, but I encourage you to get creative and make these recipes your own by adding your own twist where you can. 

Appetizer: Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Pinwheels

This appetizer was a huge hit with my party guests (even those who weren’t huge fans of goat cheese). The great thing about this recipe is you can add or switch out any of the ingredients you want. You can also pre-mix the filling the day before so all you have to do is put it together and then bake it. Let’s get into it! 

  • Makes About 20 Pinwheels
  • Time: 1 Hour (Prep + Cook)

Ingredients

  • 1 block of cream cheese (8 oz)
  • 1 package of 4 oz goat cheese
  • ½ cup cooked pancetta or bacon
  • ½ – ¾ cup of roasted red pepper 
  • 1 box of thawed puff pastry (2 sheets)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Mix your cream cheese, goat cheese, bacon/pancetta, and red pepper together in a bowl. You might need to warm up your cream cheese to make sure it’s easily spreadable. This can be done the day before and refrigerated until you’re ready to bake. 
  3. Make sure your puff pasty is completely thawed out. Unfold one sheet and gently spread half of your filling on the dough in an even layer. 
  4. Starting with the end closest to you, roll the dough into a log and gently cut the log into 10 slices, about ½ inch thick each. It’s okay if they smoosh a little, just reshape them before laying them flat on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet. 
  5. Repeat with the second puff pastry sheet
  6. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown.

Main Course: Beef Wellington with Dauphinoise Potatoes

Before you write this recipe off completely, I want you to know I pulled this recipe off the first time I cooked it. If I can do it, you can do it too! Before we get started though, we need to talk beef. The beef is a crucial part of this recipe so don’t take any shortcuts. In case you’re new to Beef Wellingtons, they are made with the center-cut beef tenderloin, which is essentially the cut of meat that a Filet Mignon is sliced off of. So yes, you are cooking one very large filet mignon, no pressure! You also won’t be able to find a full beef tenderloin at the local supermarket, I recommend heading to your local butcher. When you get there, let them know you need the center cut portion, because there are three different cuts off of tenderloin and only the center cut will work for this recipe. 

Serving Size Pro Tip: Plan on about 8 ounces of meat per person. For five people, I got a 2 lb tenderloin and it was perfect. I paid about $36 per pound, but I will tell you that it was worth every penny! 

If you are new to Beef Wellingtons, then here is a crash course. There are four main layers to a Beef Wellington, the beef tenderloin, the mushroom Pâté, prosciutto, and puff pastry, in that order. While I skipped this in the recipe today, I do recommend pairing this Wellington with a sauce of some kind, a red wine reduction would be delicious. Additionally, this recipe’s cook time is for those that enjoy a medium – medium rare steak. I encourage you to do your research on steak temps to get the cook your family likes best. 

Time: 2 hours (Prep + Cook)

  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Total Cook Time: 1 hr 10 mins
  • Chilling Time: 30 mins

Ingredients 

For the Beef:

  • Center Cut Beef Tenderloin (see serving tip above for weight) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Brown mustard 
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • A digital meat thermometer

For the Mushroom Pâté:

  • 1 ½ pounds of mushrooms (any kind will do, I used a combination of white, cremini, shiitake, and baby bellas)
  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots roughly chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves about 6 sprigs
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Wellington Assembly:

  • 12 thin slices prosciutto 
  • 1 box puff pastry thawed (2 sheets)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • ½ teaspoon flaky or coarse sea salt 
  • 1 bunch finely minced chives (for finishing)

Directions

Tenderloin Prep

  1. If the butcher prepared the beef for you, it shouldn’t have any silver skin or a lot of fat on it. If it still has some, make sure to trim that away before searing. Additionally, have the butcher tie it with butcher’s twine at 1-inch intervals. Season generously all over with salt and pepper. 
  2. Heat a large skillet over high heat until smoking hot, then add the olive oil. Once hot, sear the tenderloin on all sides for about 2 minutes per side. Resist the urge to move the meat around, you want to get a really good crust on it so it will seal in all the juices.
  3. Remove the seared tenderloin from the pan and cut off the twine. Brush it on all sides with the mustard while the meat is still warm. Set aside.

Make Your Mushroom Pâté

  1. You can use a food processor for this, but a good ole fashioned knife does the trick as well. I chopped all of the mushrooms into pretty small pieces. The goal shouldn’t be to taste the mushrooms themselves, they really just give the meat a great umami flavor to the beef. I had several anti-mushrooms eaters at my table and none of them complained! 
  2. Finely chop your shallots, thyme leaves, and garlic and combine them with your mushrooms.
  3. In the same pan used to sear the tenderloin, heat the butter and olive oil until melted.
  4. Add your mushroom mixture and season with salt and pepper. Cook them on medium heat for 8-10 minutes until the mushrooms have released their liquid then continue to cook the mushroom mixture for an additional 4-5 minutes to brown the mushrooms.
  5. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Wellington Assembly

  1. Lay out two large pieces of plastic wrap, slightly overlapping each other. You want them long enough to have 1-2 inches on each side of your tenderloins and enough to wrap all the way around it at least once. 
  2. Lay out your prosciutto in slightly overlapping rows to form a square that will be large enough to wrap the tenderloin in. 
  3. Spread the mushroom mixture evenly over the prosciutto, then place the tenderloin on one end.
  4. Use the plastic wrap to help you roll the tenderloin in the prosciutto and mushrooms, wrapping it tightly to form a log. Tuck in the ends of the prosciutto as you roll it up. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap closed, then place the tenderloin in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to help make sure it will all hold together.

Pro Tip: Up until this point, you can do everything above the day before if you don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen cooking. 

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. 
  2. Make sure your puff pastry is completely thawed, you will need both sheets to make one large sheet. Roll out the thawed puff pastry with a rolling pin to give yourself an extra inch or so on each side. 
  3. Press the edges of the two sheets together with a little egg wash or water to seal. It should create a rectangle large enough to wrap the prosciutto-wrapped tenderloin.
  4. Remove the tenderloin from the plastic wrap, then place it on the puff pastry. 
  5. Roll it up first, then make sure you have enough on the ends to cover your roast entirely. I had extra pastry on the end, so I cut off the excess, and wrapped the ends like a Christmas present, tucking the ends under and brushing the beaten egg over the long edge to seal it all up. You don’t want a ton of overlapping pastry as you will end up with partially uncooked dough. 
  6. IMPORTANT: Cut diagonal slashes every inch or so down the length of the pastry to allow steam to vent while the wellington is baking. 
  7. Transfer the wrapped beef wellington to a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the top with the remaining egg wash. 
  8. Sprinkle the top with flaky salt or coarse sea salt.
  9. Bake until golden brown on the outside and the tenderloin reaches 130-135°F on a digital meat thermometer for medium-rare doneness. This is typically around 40 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of your tenderloin. Remove from the oven and rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing. 

Dauphinoise Potatoes for your holiday spread

You can’t have beef without potatoes! Of course you can sub out your own favorite potato recipe here but in case you want to mix it up from your standard mashed or baked potatoes, then this recipe is for you. Not only is this a beautiful presentation of potatoes, it’s also super tasty! 

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup half and half
  • 2 tsp roasted garlic
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp fresh chives
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 T dijon mustard
  • 6 medium potatoes peeled
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese about 2 cups (measure with your heart)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Place cream, half and half, roasted garlic, nutmeg, onion powder in a sauce pot. Bring up to about a simmer, then remove from heat and cool.
  3. Add chives, thyme, mustard and eggs to cooled cream mixture.
  4. Very thinly slice the potatoes on a mandolin.
  5. Put the first layer of potatoes in a 13 x 9 baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.
  6. Then ladle egg mixture over the top, season with salt and pepper, and top with a handful of parmesan cheese. 
  7. Continue layering in this fashion (until you run out of either custard or potatoes).
  8. Sprinkle one last layer of parmesan cheese on the top and cover with foil. Bake for an hour and a half, then uncover and cook until top is browned and the dish has set, about another 20 minutes.

Pro Tip: I baked these potatoes most of the way the day before, then finished them in the oven the day of. If you want to split your time in the kitchen, this is the way to go!

Holiday Spread Dessert: Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Whiskey Vanilla Creme

At this point, you should know that I had to include whiskey somewhere in these recipes. For this recipe, there is a lot of ways you can get creative. You can add nuts to the bread pudding, or even switch out rum for the whiskey or omit it altogether. The beauty of these recipes is that they are flexible for any kind of taste buds!

For the Bread Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 16 oz loaf of Challah Bread (or any eggy, brioche style bread will work)
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 15 oz can pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Spray a 9″x13″ baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Cut bread into 1″-2″ squares and add to large bowl.
  4. In another bowl whisk together your milk, cream, pumpkin, eggs, sugar, brown sugar vanilla, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and nutmeg until combined.
  5. Pour over bread and stir gently to coat, let soak for about 20 minutes.
  6. Spread into baking dish and bake in oven for about 50-60 minutes until center is set.

For the Whiskey Vanilla Creme

Ingredients

  • 3 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • A splash of your favorite whiskey

Directions

  1. Combine the cornstarch and sugar, then set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add your heavy cream, and the cornstarch mixture. Stir or low heat until it begins to thicken. 
  3. You will want to stir this longer than you think you need to. I recommend at least 5-10 minutes or until you have the desired consistency.
  4. Remove from heat and add the 1 tsp vanilla and splash of whiskey.

Happy Holidays everyone! Tag me on Instagram if you make any of these recipes for your holiday spread! @KrystaPaffrath

Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine

This article was created for the NFR Issue of the Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine which was released in early July. You can catch this article and many more by checking out the full issue. For more information on Cowboy Lifestyle Magazine, visit the website here.

CLN Community & Event Sponsor

Hi everyone! I'm Krysta Paffrath, I am a proud Arizona native who has a passion for everything business and rodeo. I am beyond thrilled to be the Editor in Chief for Cowboy Lifestyle Network. With my background in digital marketing and rodeo, this was a natural fit for me to join the team. My adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit has guided me to work in many places like the WYO Quarter Horse Ranch in Thermopolis, Wyoming, a working cattle ranch in Seligman, Arizona, and many places in between. I am passionate about preserving the western way of life and working with different brands and rodeos to make that happen. If you're looking for a write-up, please shoot me an email at krysta@clngo.com. Learn more about me at krystapaffrath.com. Looking forward to hearing from you!

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