Holiday Recipes From Cleveland Chefs

December 12, 2012 6:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

An elegant yet simple table setting lets the food be the star of the show.

An elegant yet simple table setting lets the food be the star of the show. (Photo By Mark Horning)

When the holidays strike, it’s only natural families break out time-honored recipes. Though grandma wasn’t a chef, her stuffing can’t be beat. Sometimes, however, that holiday meal needs a little extra something to spice it up. This year, two of Cleveland’s professional chefs offered up their take on holiday fare. Here is what they have planned for the dinner table this winter: myriad recipes perfect for any table this holiday season.

Jeff Jarrett
Amp 150 Restaurant

4277 W. 150th St.
Cleveland, OH 44135
(216) 252-5333 ext. 1626

Jeff Jarrett is executive chef at AMP 150, an acclaimed restaurant in the Cleveland Airport Marriott. Jarrett’s farm-to-table style and progressive culinary approach combine fresh, in-season produce and locally produced ingredients in frequently unexpected and delightful ways. For family holiday meals, he said he likes to keep it simple by using purees, chutneys and gastriques that he has prepared prior to the cooking day.

Blue Cheese and Red Potato Tart
1 nine-inch store bought tart shell
1 pound small red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 cup heavy cream
1 large egg yolk
1/4 pound blue cheese, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoons finely chopped herb such as a mixture of thyme and rosemary
Fine sea salt for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium saucepan, cover the potato slices with water by two inches. Simmer, uncovered, until they’re tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Pat the potatoes dry with towels. Arrange the potato slices, overlapping slightly, in concentric circles around the tart shell. Sprinkle blue cheese over the potatoes. Whisk cream and egg yolk together and pour over the potatoes, then sprinkle the tart with the herbs of your choice and salt. Bake the tart on a baking sheet until it’s bubbling and golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes. Cool in a pan on a rack, and serve warm or cold.

Pancetta-Wrapped Pheasant
with butternut squash puree, cranberry apple chutney, maple syrup gastrique

Pancetta-Wrapped Pheasant
4 -8oz. pheasant breasts
16 slices pancetta, or bacon

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay four slices of pancetta or bacon next to each other on a clean working surface, overlapping slightly. Lay one of the pheasant breasts skin side down on the pancetta closest to you. Fold the pancetta over the pheasant, and then roll the pheasant away from you, pulling the opposite end of the pancetta tight. The pheasant should roll itself into a cylindrical shape. Repeat for the remaining pheasant. In a cast-iron pan over medium-low heat, oil the pan and then place the wrapped pheasant breasts inside, seam side down. Brown the pheasant on all sides, and then place it in the oven and cook until the thermometer reaches 155 degrees. Remove and allow to rest. Serve whole or slice.

Chef Jeff Jerrett of AMP 150 uses fresh local ingredients to whip up a customized holiday meal for friends and family. (Photo By Mark Horning)

Chef Jeff Jerrett of AMP 150 uses fresh local ingredients to whip up a customized holiday meal for friends and family.

Cranberry Apple Chutney
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into a medium dice
16 oz. bag fresh or frozen cranberries
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sugar
1 red bell pepper, small dice
Juice of two lemons
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
1 small knob of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
Pinch of salt

Place all of the ingredients in a non-reactive medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 35-40 minutes, until reduced and slightly sticky.

Butternut Squash Puree
1 medium butternut squash
1 quart heavy cream

Peel and remove the seeds from the butternut squash. Cut the squash into large pieces and place them in a non-reactive sauce pan. Cover with the heavy cream, and season with salt and pepper. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the squash are very tender. Strain the squash from the cream. Do not discard the cream. Place the squash in a blender, and pour some of the reserved cream over the squash. Puree until very smooth, adding cream as needed if it’s too thick.

Maple Syrup Gastrique
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 star anise
4 black peppercorns
1 dried bay leaf

Place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook it until the mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve, discarding any solids, and keep it warm until it’s ready to use.

On a plate, place a nice pool of the butternut squash puree. Top the puree with roasted redskin or fingerling potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Place the sliced pheasant on the potatoes. Top the pheasant with some of the cranberry apple chutney, and drizzle the maple syrup gastrique over the whole dish.

Apple Bread Pudding
1 pound bakery white or challah bread, crusts removed, cut into one-inch cubes
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and cut into half-inch pieces
1 cup (6 ounces) golden raisins, plumped in hot water for 15 minutes
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons unsulfured molasses
1/4 cup sliced almonds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for six minutes, until crisp. Transfer to a bowl and add the apple and raisins. Generously butter either a 9 by 13-inch deep baking dish or six eight-ounce ramekins. If you’re using ramekins, set them on the baking sheet. In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer or whisk, beat the eggs with the sugar. Beat in the ground spices, vanilla and salt. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk with the molasses until it’s just warm to the touch. Gradually beat the warm milk into the egg mixture, scraping the bottom and side of the bowl. Spread bread mixture out in your large baking dish or among the ramekins. Pour the custard over the bread mixture, nudging the bread around a bit to make sure it soaks all of the pieces. Let it stand for five minutes. Sprinkle almonds on top. Bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes, until puffed and set, with tops lightly browned. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Related: Best Gourmet Food Stores In Cleveland

Chef Izzy Schachner serves up some gourmet chile from his Streat Mobile Bistro truck.

Chef Izzy Schachner serves up some gourmet chile from his Streat Mobile Bistro truck. (Photo By Mark Horning)

Izzy Schachner
StrEat Mobile Bistro

(216) 570-8776

StrEat Mobile Bistro was started when Izzy Schachner got a call to cater a movie production in Cleveland. Three years later, he is the go-to production caterer as well as owner of several downtown cafés that feature recipes made from fresh, seasonal locally obtained foods. Their most popular menu items are truck-made potato chips, slow-roasted, pulled pork and four cheese mac and cheese.

Nate White serves as executive chef for StrEat Mobile Bistro and Café 56. One advantage he has over other chefs in cooking a holiday family dinner is he can take his kitchen home in a truck. He said he enjoys combining simple ingredients in unique ways as is seen in his set of recipes.

Nate White’s Artichoke Alouette Boursin Cheese Filling
2 garlic cloves
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (the real stuff, and freshly grated)
1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon chives
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

Crush the garlic and add it to the cream cheese, and then add all of the herbs and cheese. Mix thoroughly. Take two cans of artichoke hearts whole and drain well. With a teaspoon, stuff the filling into the artichokes and chill. Set up a breading station using flour, egg and panko breadcrumbs, and bread the artichokes. Chill for an hour, and then fry it in a 350-degree fryer for two to 2.5 minutes or until it’s golden brown. If you fry too long, your cheese will leak out.

Pork Roulade Spiedini Recipe
4 (6-ounce) pork loins
4 large pieces of plastic wrap
1 cup chopped walnuts, sautéed in 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter (duxelle)
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and cut into 16 slices
Salt and pepper
8 ounces bacon, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped shallots
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
2 tablespoons cognac
2 cups beef or veal demi-glace
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon butter, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place each pork loin between two pieces of plastic wrap. With a beef mallet, lightly pound out the pork loin, very thin 1/6 to 1/8-inch thick. Unwrap the pork loin and season both sides with salt and pepper. Lay three slices of the bacon on a flat surface. Place the pork on top of the bacon along one end. Spread 1/4 cup of the duxelle over the top of each pork loin. Divide the avocado slices into fourths and lay the slices on top of the duxelle.

Gently roll up each pork with the bacon. Place the roulades on a baking sheet, seam side down, lined with parchment paper, and roast them until the bacon is brown and crisp, and the pork meat is tender, for about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the roulades to rest for five minutes before slicing. Using a very sharp knife, trim off the ends of each roulade and cut each across into 4 slices.

In a sauce pan, render the chopped bacon until crispy for about eight minutes. Add the shallots, garlic and cognac, and cook for one minute. Stir in the demi-glace, sugar, salt and pepper. Bring the liquid to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Whisk in the butter and remove from the heat. Serve with the roulades. To assemble, spoon a quarter cup of the sauce on each of four plates and arrange four roulade slices on top.

A Gourmet Feast on Wheels. Izzy and his crew comes to you with great open air gourmet dining.

Izzy and his crew comes to you with great open air gourmet dining. (Photo By Mark Horning)

Nates Pumpkin Praline Cheesecake
1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup melted butter

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons water

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 can (30 oz.) pumpkin pie mix

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. For the crust, combine graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar in large bowl. Stir in the butter. Press onto the bottom and one inch up side of a nine-inch springform pan. For the pralines, combine nuts, brown sugar and water in same bowl. Reserve a 3/4 cup praline mixture for the topping. Sprinkle the remaining praline mixture over the crumbs in the pan. Bake for eight minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. For the cheesecake, beat cream cheese, brown sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon in the same bowl. Beat in eggs. Beat in the pumpkin pie mix. Spoon over the nuts and crust. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the edge is set but the center still moves slightly. Sprinkle with the reserved praline mixture. Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until the center is set. Run a knife around edge of cheesecake. Cool in a pan on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove side of springform pan.

Related: Best Pumpkin Dishes In Cleveland

Mark Horning is a freelance writer covering all things Cleveland. His work can be found on

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