8 Christmas Recipes for a Festive Holiday Feast

Photography by Michael Caronchi
From a crown roast of lamb to a decadent Panettone bread pudding, four Naples chefs share their favorite dishes for a delectable Christmas dinner. Get ready to serve up these innovative creations that are sure to satisfy even the most discernible palate in your family.
Acorn & Butternut Soup with Basil
‘Tis the season for hearty winter vegetables, and the many varieties of squash are often the most popular and colorful. Executive Chef Abel Gonzalez of Bayside Seafood Grill & Bar, Naples, creates a rich acorn and butternut squash soup with fresh sprigs of basil, and served with a swirl of creme fraiche.


  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 butternut squash
  • ½ red pepper
  • ½ yellow pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
  • ½ tbsp. of nutmeg
  • 1 cup of maple syrup
  • 1 qt. of heavy cream
  • ¼ cup of fresh chopped basil for garnish


  • 4 tbsp. of canola oil
  • 4 tbsp. of flour



Preheat over to 350°. Oil a baking sheet well and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Cut both squashes in half and remove seeds. Place cut sides down on the baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Add the halves of red and yellow pepper and place in oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove peppers after 25 minutes. In a deep pot, sauté onion and garlic until transparent. Remove skin from squashes and add to pot. Add stock. Bring to a boil. Add nutmeg and maple syrup. Whisk and mash the squash. Add heavy cream. Reduce to a simmer. Add the roux to desired thickness. Remove from heat. Garnish with chopped basil. Serve soup with a crusty bread.


Baked Brie Purse with Fresh Berries

Delight dinner guests with a simple and delicious classic appetizer. Executive Chef Abel Gonzalez of Bayside Seafood Grill & Bar serves up his version of a baked brie purse with an assortment of fresh berries and spiced rum sauce with fresh vanilla bean.



  • 1 3 oz. Brie wheel, squared
  • 3 thin slices of green apple
  • 1 strawberry, slice thin
  • 3 blueberries, whole
  • 2 raspberries, cut in half
  • 2 blackberries, cut in half
  • 1 6” x 6” pastry dough, rolled to 1/8” thickness (finished size 8” x 8”)
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 generous pinch of sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 1 whole green apple, sliced thin

Spiced Rum Sauce:

  • 2 oz. heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 1/8 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ oz. Captain Morgan Spiced Rum



Preheat oven to 350°. Place 6” x 6” pie pastry on a floured board. Roll out to 1/8” thickness (final size of 8” x 8”). Place a 3 oz. (2”x2”x1”) quartered Brie wheel in the center of the pastry. Top the Brie with the 3 thin slices of apple, the sliced strawberry, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Sprinkle it with the cinnamon and sugar. Brush the outer edges with the egg and water mixture. Lift and pinch the sides up together at the center to form a purse. Brush with more of the egg and water mixture. Sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Garnish with additional berries.


Spiced Rum Sauce:

Place heavy cream in a shallow pan. Add all ingredients except rum. Bring to a simmer. Thicken with the corn starch mixture. Add Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and let simmer for 10 minutes. Pour sauce over purse and serve.


Continue to page 2 for a main dish of lamb crown roast.


Lamb Crown Roast

There are few dishes that can match the wow factor on the dinner table like a majestic crown roast of lamb. Chef Justin Hornyak of HB’s on the Gulf, Naples, offers his delicious spin on the holiday favorite with a thyme-and-dijon-crusted version, served with sweet shallot jam and roasted fennel jus lié.


  • ¼ cup of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp. garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp. ground juniper
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh thyme sprigs as needed
  • 2 lamb rack crown roast (Frenched and trussed into the crown roast)


Combine the Dijon mustard, garlic, thyme leaves, olive oil, vinegar, juniper and coriander in a mixing bowl. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Add the mixture of seasonings to the lamb and refrigerate two hours. Preheat an oven to 450°. Roast the lamb till it reaches an internal temperature of 130° or more or less to your liking. Pull the lamb out of the oven and let rest on a rack for 10 minutes. Reserve the pan for the fennel Jus Lie. Stuff the cavity in the lamb with desired side dish (potatoes, rice, dressing, vegetables). Garnish the lamb with the shallot jam and thyme sprigs. Sauce with roasted fennel Jus Lie.


Fennel Jus Lie:

  • 1 small fennel bulb, roasted and diced
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • 4 cups of lamb or veal stock
  • 2 tbsp. corn starch dissolved in 2 tbsp. of water

In the roasting pan that was placed aside after the lamb roast, sauté the shallots. Add the red wine to deglaze the pan and reduce the liquid to half. Add the fennel, peppercorns, bay leaf and stock. Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes. Thicken the sauce with the corn starch and water slurry by slowly adding the slurry and whisking constantly till incorporated. Strain the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste.


Shallot Jam:

  • 6 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. of honey
  • 2 tbsp. of sherry vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. of Madeira wine
  • ½ tsp. juniper ground
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar

Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the shallots on low heat. When the shallots are sautéed add the juniper and cook for 1 minute. Add all other ingredients and simmer until a jam like consistency.


Continue to page 3 for three scrumptious side dishes.


A stunning side dish can become a star attraction. The Local’s owner-chef Jeff Mitchell tosses a harvest salad, one of his favorites that can be served hot or cold. It features Swiss chard, wild rice, roasted oyster mushrooms, pomegranate seeds, toasted pecans, and Madeira. Putting a twist on classics, he also serves blackened green beans and goat cheese mashed potatoes, the ultimate comfort food.


Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes


  • 8 large peeled organic Russet potatoes
  • 1 qt. heavy cream
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter
  • 2 cups goat cheese


Peel and cut the potatoes and place them in the pot filled with cold water and salt. Boil them until they fall apart. Then strain the water off and return them to the same pot. Begin mashing them over high heat. Constantly mash and stir the potatoes until you see the potato starch becoming fluffy. The more water that you can cook out, the more flavor you can add. In another small pot add the cream, butter, goat cheese and salt to taste. Let it come to a boil. Make sure the liquid is seasoned properly since this will be the base of flavor for the potatoes. Add the hot liquid, slowly stirring the cream into the potatoes. Stir for another minute making sure to get any corners of the pot. Salt to taste.


Harvest Salad


  • 3 cups of wild rice, cooked
  • 3 cups of Swiss chard, cleaned and chopped
  • 3 cups of roasted oyster mushrooms
  • 6 oz. Madeira wine
  • ½ cup of pomegranate seeds
  • ½ cup pecans, lightly toasted


Boil the rice in lightly salted water for 30-45 minutes or until tender. Clean and chop the Swiss chard.  Toss the roasted oyster mushrooms in a little oil and roast them in a 400° oven for 8-10 minutes or until slightly brown. Add salt after you roast the mushrooms. Pull the mushrooms out of the oven and deglaze the pan with 6 oz. of Madeira wine and place back in the oven for 1 minute. Toss the warm mushrooms with the rice and Swiss chard lightly wilting them. Season with salt and pepper. Add your pecans and finish with colorful pomegranate seeds.


Blackened Green Beans


  • 3-4 handfuls of green beans
  • 1 ½ tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp. onion powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground and diced thyme
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano


Clean and rinse your green beans. Lightly blanch the beans in boiling salted water. Shock in cold water. Toss the blanched beans in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to help the seasoning stick. Heat up a sauté pan and begin to blacken the beans over high heat in a small saucepan.


Continue to page 4 for two delectable desserts.


Serve up more than traditional pies to appease your family’s sweet tooth. Campiello’s Executive Chef Mike Dalton offers these two luscious gourmet treats: Pannetone bread pudding with orange butter sauce, and caramel walnut date cake glazed with a rum butter sauce and served with cinnamon coffee ice cream or your favorite gelato.


Panettone Bread Pudding with Orange Butter Sauce

Bread Pudding:

  • ¼ pound of butter
  • 3 ½ oz. granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs
  •  1 ½ cup of milk
  • 2 tbsp. Brandy
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ whole nutmeg, grated
  • ½ zest of 1 orange
  • ¼ cup of currants, soaked in brandy and water
  • 1 small loaf of Panettone or Brioche bread with crusts, cubed


Melt the butter and transfer to a mixing bowl. Whisk the sugar and nutmeg. Slowly whisk the eggs to make raw custard. Whisk the milk, cream, brandy, almond extract, vanilla extract and salt. Strain and add the currants and the orange zest. In a mixing bowl pour the mixture over the bread cubes until soaked. There should be a little custard left. Fill 4 oz. baking tins or ramekins to the top and add a little custard to pour on top. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. If you have a convection oven turn on after the 20 minutes to brown the top.


Orange Butter Sauce:

  • 1 pound of butter
  • ½ cup of cream
  • 1tsp. almond extract
  • 7 oz. granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup of orange juice
  • 1 zest of orange

In a saucepan bring ½ pound of butter, cream, sugar and almond extract to a boil. Remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Whisk the remaining ½ pound of butter in cold cubes slowly. Add orange juice and zest. Let it sit and cool.


Sweetened Mascarpone:

  • 5 oz. Mascarpone
  • 1 ½ cup of sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients together with a kitchen aid mixer. 


Carmel Walnut Date Cake


  • 6 oz. melted butter
  • ¼ cup of evaporated milk
  • 13 oz. brown sugar
  • 11 oz. dates, chopped
  • ½ pound walnuts, chopped

Rum Butter Sauce:

  • ¼ lbs. brown sugar
  • ¾ lbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ pound of butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ pound butter
  • ¼ cup of Myers Dark Rum


  • 1.75 oz. oatmeal
  • ¾ cup boiling water
  • 3.5 oz. brown sugar
  • 3.5 oz. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

In a stainless steal bowl mix the boiling water along with the oatmeal. In the same bowl, add the sugar, brown sugar, butter, egg and vanilla extract. Combine all the topping ingredients and refrigerate. Spray a 4oz. tin mold with non-stick cooking spray. Place a ½ oz. of the topping at the bottom of the tin mold. Pour cake batter on top of the topping to fill the rest of the tin mold. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes and then rotate half way through. Heat the cream, butter, rum, salt and vanilla. Add the sugar and wish to dissolve. Put in refrigerate to cool and whisk every 15-20 minutes until cool and thickened. Unmold the cake and place it on a serving dish. Heat the rum butter sauce and spoon on top. Scoop some cinnamon coffee ice cream and place next the cake. Sprinkle some walnuts on the bottom to keep the ice cream in place. Garnish with a mint sprig.

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