An Elegant Rocky Mountain Winter Feast
Classic winter images are what Colorado is made of, complete with towering mountaintops covered in snow, lofty evergreen trees and logs ablaze in an oversized fireplace. In recent years, Colorado’s reputation as a culinary hub has caught up with its scenery. Here, chefs from around the state have shared their recipes for a cozy menu you can enjoy with friends and family. Preparing their dishes is a celebratory way to bring the mountains a bit closer to home this season.
Courtesy Breckenridge Distillery, Breckenridge, CO
Welcome guests with the scent of Bourbon from the world’s highest-altitude distillery warmed with Port and baking spices. They’ll know that they’re in for something special.
- 1 bottle ruby Port
- 1½ cups Breckenridge Bourbon
- 8 ounces Breckenridge Bitter
- 2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
- 2 star anise
- 1 tablespoon cardamom pods
- 6 cloves
- Peel of 1 orange, plus more for garnish
- Dried orange slices, for garnish
Combine first 7 ingredients in heavy-bottomed saucepan. Warm over low heat for approximately 30 minutes. Add orange peel, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Strain into insulated pitcher. Garnish with orange slices and peel. Serves 8.
Courtesy Bon Vivant, Telluride Ski Resort, Telluride, CO
To enjoy the hearty French cuisine and all-French wine list at Bon Vivant, you usually have to arrive on skis. The Telluride Ski Resort slopeside bistro’s cheese-filled, pastry-topped mushroom soup is a comfort-food lover’s dream.
- 4 ounces salted butter
- 1 medium leek, diced
- 1 medium shallot, finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound mixed wild mushrooms,
- ½ cup dry Sherry
- 1 cup red wine
- ½ gallon whole milk
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 8 ounces Brie, diced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 eggs
- 1 sheet of puff pastry, cut into 8 squares
In heavy-bottomed pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add leek, shallot and garlic, and cook until caramelized. Add mushrooms, and cook until liquid is almost gone. Deglaze with Sherry and red wine. Add milk and cream, and bring to simmer. Slowly add Brie, and stir until incorporated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. This can be done 1 day in advance. Refrigerate in airtight container.
Heat oven to 400˚F. Divide soup equally among 8 oven-safe bowls. Cover each bowl with square of puff pastry dough, using your hands to ensure an airtight seal. Mix eggs in a separate bowl, and brush egg mixture onto tops and edges of each puff pastry. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Serves 8.
“This delicious soup will really work well with a village or premier cru red Burgundy,” says Andrew Shaffner, CS, CSW, wine director at Telluride Ski Resort. “Olivier Decelles’s Nuits-Saint-Georges 2014 is a perfect example. With a nose of red and black cherries, and a balanced, complex palate showing dark fruit, red flowers and subtle vanilla, this wine is a serious match. Alternatively, if you like to spice up your pairings a little, look to the Rhône valley, specifically Gigondas or Vacqueyras from producers like Domaine du Grapillon d’Or or Château de Saint Cosme. These Grenache-based wines will show gorgeous black and white pepper, combined with lovely dark fruit and a bit fuller body than the Burgundy, and at half the price.”
Courtesy Frasca Food & Wine, Boulder, CO
Frasca is the brainchild of Bobby Stuckey, MS, and Chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson. The eatery offers cuisine and wine from Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, and it’s one of the state’s most acclaimed restaurants. This rack of lamb served with Brussels sprouts and beets is a surprisingly easy main course to prepare, and its elegance makes for a holiday dinner to remember.
- 2 racks of lamb (8 bones each), Frenched
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Gremolata (recipe below)
Heat oven to 425˚F. Place oven-safe rack on baking sheet. Rub lamb with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Score “X”s into fatty side of lamb with a sharp knife. Truss lamb with kitchen twine, if desired.
Place lamb on rack, fat side up. Slide herb sprigs under racks.
Roast for 17–20 minutes, then drop temperature to 325˚F. For medium-rare lamb, cook 15–25 minutes more, or until internal temperature measured with meat thermometer reaches 115˚F. Let rest 10 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 125˚F. Slice racks into 2-bone chops. Serve drizzled with gremolata. Serves 8.
- 1 bunch parsley, chopped
- 6 sprigs mint, chopped
- ¼ bunch chive, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
- 1 medium shallot, chopped
- Zest of 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt, to taste
In medium glass bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Set aside until ready to serve. Can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
“The Livio Felluga Sossó is a wonderful blend of two indigenous grapes, Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso and Pignolo, with Merlot,” says Stuckey. “The wonderful tannins with the dry aromatics go well with the rich marble of the lamb. For those of you looking for a white wine pairing, the Livio Felluga Terre Alte is a white blend of Friulano, Pinot Bianco and Sauvignon from the great grand cru slopes on the hill of Rosazzo from the Colli Orientali del Friuli. This white wine has weight and is rich, but certainly not heavy due to the nice acidity.”
Courtesy Frasca Food & Wine, Boulder, Co
Radicchio adds a splash of color and a touch of contrasting bitterness to the Brussels sprouts. Glazed with butter and with the added zip of Sherry vinegar, it’s the perfect side dish to any roasted meat, poultry or richer seafood.
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
- 2 heads radicchio, sliced into ¼-inch
- 2 tablespoons Sherry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons salted butter
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat oil in large sauté pan over high heat. Add Brussels sprouts cut-side down, and sear. Lower heat, toss with radicchio, and cook until wilted. Add Sherry vinegar, butter, salt and pepper. Toss frequently so butter glazes vegetables. Cook until tender. Serves 8.
Courtesy Frasca Food & Wine, Boulder, CO
The earthy sweetness of beets is accentuated by roasting them in salt and spices like black pepper, coriander, and cardamom. Using both red and yellow beets adds and extra pop of color to this side dish.
- 6 medium red beets, washed
- 6 medium yellow beets, washed
- 6 cups Kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons whole black
- 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
- 1 tablespoon whole green cardamom pods
Heat oven to 350˚F. Place beets in large, deep baking dish, and cover completely with salt, peppercorns, coriander and cardamom. Cook for approximately 2 hours, or until beets are fork tender. Let cool for approximately 30 minutes. Remove beets from salt, and peel. Cut into ½-inch cubes, and serve in a large serving bowl. Serves 8.
Courtesy Josh Niernberg, chef, and Ryan Sylvester, culinary operations director, Bin 707 Foodbar, Grand Junction, CO
Bin 707 Foodbar’s industrial look belies its artisanal ethos. In its full-service restaurant and taproom, Josh Niernberg and Ryan Sylvester use local ingredients whenever possible, and thoughtfully sourced ingredients always. This recipe, for instance, would be made with spent grains from beer making. At the restaurant, it’s often served topped with Olathe’s Sweet Corn Ice Cream.
- 3 pounds cranberries, fresh or frozen
- 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1½ cups wine or beer
- ½ red grapefruit, zested and juiced
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 11/8 cups cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 11/8 cups milk
- ¼ cup butter, chilled and diced
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cooked barley or farro
- ¼ cup butter
In large pot over medium heat, combine cranberries, 11/3 cups sugar, ¾ cup wine or beer, zest and juice and vanilla until berries are tender, but not falling apart. Whisk cornstarch with 1 tablespoon wine or beer, and stir into berry mixture. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, or until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and strain, reserving juice in small saucepan. Set berries aside.
Add remaining wine or beer to reserved juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly to prevent scorching. Reduce to syrup consistency, and set aside.
Filling and syrup may be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated in airtight containers.
To make cobbler batter, combine cake flour, ¾ cup sugar, baking powder and salt. Add milk, and mix with wooden spoon until just combined. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
To make crumble, heat oven to 375˚F. Combine brown sugar, flour and barley or farro in stand mixer. With mixer running, add diced butter gradually until small, pea-sized clusters form. Spread mixture onto sheet pan and toast in oven 5 minutes. Stir and toast 3 more minutes. Let cool, then crumble into bowl. Set aside.
When ready to assemble, heat or reduce oven to 350˚F. Arrange 8 small ramekins on baking sheet. Place 1½ teaspoons butter in each ramekin. Place in oven to melt butter. Remove from oven, and add ¾ cup cranberry filling to each ramekin. Top each with ½ cup batter. Cook 20 minutes, or until tops are golden to dark amber and filling begins to bubble. Remove from oven, and let cool slightly. Drizzle with additional syrup. Top with crumble and serve immediately. Serves 8.
This is a classic example of the best pairing being the beer or wine you use. The chefs recommend a rosé like Colterris Coral White Cabernet Sauvignon, or a sour beer like Odell Brewing’s Freik Lambic or Casey Brewing’s Fruit Stand Balaton Sour Cherry Ale.
One Week Before
Purchase dry goods (baking supplies, spices, etc.), wine and liquor
Order lamb from butcher
Three Days Before
Wash serving platters, utensils and wine glasses
Shop for vegetables, fruit and dairy items
Press tablecloth and napkins, if necessary
The Day Before
Pick up lamb and any remaining ingredients
Make cranberry filling and syrup
Set the table
Three Hours Before
Assemble soup and top with puff pastry
Make Brussels sprouts
Make crumble and set up dessert
Trim lamb and return to refrigerator until ready to cook
Prepare welcome cocktail
- 1The Velvet Holiday Cocktail
- 2Wild Mushroom Soup en Croute
- 3Oven Roasted Rack of Lamb with Gremolata
- 4Brussels Sprouts with Radicchio
- 5Salt-Roasted Beets
- 6Cranberry Cobbler
- 7Entertaining Timeline