Christmas dinner, out of the box

December 7, 2013

A box of country ham for Christmas.

A box of country ham for Christmas.

As much as Thanksgiving dinner is about tradition, for whatever reason, Christmas dinner doesn’t have to be. I have, by turns, done a Christmas brunch, Christmas hors d’ouevres, and even Christmas lasagna.

This year, since I’ll have the whole fam here (10 of us, 7 adults, three little people), I’m planning to mix something old and something new.

My Broadbent country ham came in t’other day. I became a Broadbent fan a year ago, when I bought a country ham at an auction. These hams consistently win the grand prize at the Kentucky state fair, and one was auctioned off one year for more than a million dollars for charity. That’s some high-priced ham, right there.

It’s also excellent ham. And while my knife skills are semi-decent, I decided I’d let the people with the professional meat-cutting saws cut my ham and ship me sliced portions, which arrived recently, and are presently nestling in my freezer. So we’ll have country ham, and that’s a nod to tradition.

We’re also going to have prime rib, I have decided, because, well, I’ve never cooked one, and I’m not gonna learn any younger.

So I’ve been contemplating sides. I need to think about meeting the needs of some moderately picky eaters, but I also want trimmings that reflect both the season and play to the two main courses.

A few standbys will make an appearance. I have to have cranberry salad, and sweet potato casserole. I’ll probably have mashed potatoes, because they go so well with the roast. I guess I’ll make mac and cheese, because some of them just purely love mac and cheese and beg me to make it on all occasions. Miss Mary Lloyd’s rolls, of course. But beyond that, I can play.

I’m thinking curried fruit. I’ve done that before, successfully, and enjoyed it. And it’ll go nicely with the ham. I think I’ll try my hand at Yorkshire puddings. Because…well, because. I’m thinking spicy carrots — Mark Bittman’s recipe, with harissa. Maybe asparagus with Hollandaise. Any other thoughts?

Dessert, I have decided, will be a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. Or maybe a white chocolate cherry cheesecake. Because that just sounds good.

You ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em know how to cook a prime rib? Because I’ve got to learn between now and Christmas.

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