On the Side


Holiday dishes to feed a crowd

’Tis the season for entertaining, and while we sometimes love to see retro-classic trimmings alongside the holiday bird (who doesn’t secretly love that crunchy-onion topping on broccoli casserole?), we consulted with some of our favorite Central-Florida hotel chefs for their fresh takes on holiday side dishes. All of them serve at least 10, so you can make just one batch and feed a crowd. (Save those crunchy onions for a cocktail-hour snack.)


Two Potato Gratin with Bleu Cheese and Thyme

Chef Jason Klingensmith, Hamilton’s Kitchen, Alfond Inn

Serves 12

4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick

4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick

2½ cups heavy cream

1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

Fresh thyme, to taste

Kosher salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste

1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

1   Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 2-quart casserole dish with butter.

2  Mix together potatoes, heavy cream and blue cheese in a large bowl, making sure potatoes are evenly coated. Add thyme, salt and white pepper.

3   Pick up a handful of potatoes, stack, then lay them in casserole with edges aligned. Continue stacking and placing until all potatoes are added. They should be very tightly packed. Pour excess cream mixture over the potatoes, but no more than halfway up the sides.

4  Cover tightly with foil and bake for 70 minutes. Remove from oven and top with panko bread crumbs. Return to oven and bake until panko is golden, about 20-25 minutes.

5  Remove from oven, let rest a few minutes and serve.

Roasted Winter Vegetables with Ginger-Maple Glaze

Chef Laurent Hollaender, The Boheme at Grande Bohemian Hotel Orlando

Serves 12-14

1 pound red beets, scrubbed and trimmed

1 pound Brussels sprouts

1 pound rainbow carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pound grape tomatoes, cut in half

1 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut in half lengthwise

Olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

½ cup honey

½ cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon minced pickled ginger

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Prep and roast vegetables:

1 Preheat oven to 450°F. Line sheet pans with parchment paper; set aside.

2   Wrap beets individually in foil, and bake at until just tender, then peel and cut into 1-inch pieces.

3   Cook Brussels sprouts in boiling, salted water 2 minutes. Cut in half.

4   Using separate bowls for each vegetable, coat vegetables in olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place each vegetable separately on prepared baking sheet and roast until tender, 10 to 35 minutes, depending on the vegetable.

Make glaze:

1   Combine honey, maple syrup, pickled ginger and ground ginger in a mixing bowl large enough to hold all the vegetables.

2  Add roasted vegetables and toss to thoroughly coat with glaze. Return mixture to a lined sheet pan and roast for an additional five minutes or until vegetables are caramelized.

istock_60329148_xlargeMushroom Panzanella

Chef Will Walters, Fiorenza Italian Steakhouse, Hyatt Regency Orlando

Serves 10

This earthy version of the traditional Tuscan bread salad is a colorful complement to the holiday table, and has a toothier texture than traditional stuffing.

5 pounds white mushrooms, trimmed and halved or quartered into equal-size pieces

¼ cup olive oil

2 cups Marsala wine

1 pound arugula, washed and spun dry

1 pound baby spinach, washed and spun dry

4 ounces day-old focaccia, ciabatta or other rustic bread cut into cubes (about 3 cups)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black  pepper, to taste

Roast the mushrooms:

1   Preheat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, toss mushrooms with olive oil to coat evenly. Line a sheet pan large enough to hold mushrooms in single layer (or work in batches) and
sprinkle with salt.

2   Roast for 20 minutes, stirring on occasion, until mushrooms are browned.

Make the Marsala glaze:

While the mushrooms are roasting, bring Marsala wine to a boil in a small heavy saucepan; reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened and syrupy, about 15 minutes.

Assemble the panzanella:

1   Preheat a large skillet to medium high and add the mushrooms and their juices, adding more olive oil if pan is too dry.

2   Add arugula, spinach and cubed bread and season with salt and pepper, and cook until greens are slightly wilted. Place on a platter and drizzle with Marsala glaze.


Pimiento Mac-and-Cheese

Chef Jeremy Soares, Highball & Harvest at Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes

Serves 12–14

2 pounds macaroni or other short pasta

1 quart heavy cream

4 ounces pepper jack cheese, grated

2 ounces American cheese, grated

2 ounces cheddar cheese, grated

16-ounce can pimientos, drained

1 tablespoon paprika

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons dry ground mustard

3 dashes Tabasco sauce

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1  Prepare pasta according to package
directions and drain.

2  Meanwhile, bring heavy cream to a boil and take off heat. Slowly whisk in cheeses until completely incorporated. Add remaining ingredients to hot cheese sauce and puree with an immersion blender or in a traditional blender.

3  Return sauce to low heat and mix with cooked pasta until thickened and coated completely. Serve immediately.