I had so much fun with the virtual Thanksgiving that we decided to do it again on Christmas day. We specifically set it up to be during my Christmas dinner meal prep because I kind of enjoy talking to people while I cook, and I’ve been toying with doing actual videos, though I haven’t pulled the trigger and ordered a better video camera yet. We sent the invite out to family and friends. It’s a casual, come and go as you please, kind of affair.
I had started a pot of chili well before the show because we ran out of chili in our freezer this week, and it’s such a handy thing to have for nights when we don’t feel like cooking. Plus, I had bought the tomatoes for it on Monday, and they were starting to look like they were going to go bad. I used my basic chili recipe except that I reduced the chili powder to 2 tbsp and added a tbsp of Mexican Adobo pepper and jalapeños, and I left out the cayenne and siracha. I let that cook from about 12:30 pm-6 pm.
I also had some chicken thighs thawed in the refrigerator. I had planned to make them during the week, but on the designated night, they were not yet thawed. Now they had been thawed a couple of days, so they needed to be cooked. So I mixed up some harissa paste because I’ve been dying to try it and rubbed them with it. I then baked them at 450 degrees until nicely browned with an internal temp of 180 degrees. I snuck a taste when they were done and damn, it was good.
Now, it was time to get to work on our actual Christmas dinner. I seared the lamb shoulder roast on all sides on high heat in olive oil after rubbing it thoroughly with za’atar seasoning. I then sautéed some sliced shallots and deglazed the Dutch oven with red wine. I added more red wine to cover the lamb about halfway and popped it in the oven to braise. It only took about 2 hours to reach temp, and I left it sitting in the Dutch oven on the stove top while I roasted veggies.
I roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic, salt and bacon, and I roasted creamer potatoes tossed in olive oil, salt and thyme. I usually use rosemary, but since the za’atar had thyme, I figured this would tie things together better. For the final touch, I made a kale and pine nut gremolata to top the lamb.
Throughout all of this cooking, I got to see and talk to some of our lovely friends and family, which made cooking, which is already my happy thing, an even happier time this Christmas. We even continued the conversation while we ate our dinner with one of our good friends.