Spice Up the Holiday Season
New twists on comforting classics
Whether you’re preparing for a big gathering or hosting a small dinner with loved ones, make any get-together a special occasion with a twist on delicious, seasonal classics.
Holiday cooking tips
Here are a few tricks to use when preparing a special holiday meal:
• Prepare some items a day or two in advance, or prep vegetables the day before to help save time the day of the big party.
• Brine the chicken the night before to help loosen muscle fibers, allowing the chicken to retain moisture when roasting the next day.
• Ladle hot mulled cider into warm cups or mugs, and place extra bourbon and Tabasco Sauce on the side for guests who enjoy an added kick.
• Bring the mulled cider to the table by pouring it into a thermos. This will help keep the cider warm without having to leave the table to top off your guests’ mugs.
Hot & Spicy Mulled Cider
1 gallon fresh apple cider
1 stick cinnamon
2 star anise
3 allspice berries
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups bourbon
3/4 cup applejack
1 cup honey liqueur
5 dashes apple bitters
2 tablespoons Tabasco Original Red Sauce, or more to taste
Orange twist, for garnish
Apple, sliced, for garnish
In stainless steel pot, combine cider with cinnamon, anise, cloves, allspice berries, almonds and honey. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat; add bourbon, applejack, liqueur, bitters and Tabasco Sauce.
Store in refrigerator until ready to be enjoyed. Once ready, gently warm cider cocktail.
Garnish with orange twist, sliced raw apple, almonds and dash of Tabasco Sauce.
Sweet & Smoky Roast Chicken
1/3 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 sprigs fresh thyme
8 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon peppercorns
1 lemon, sliced
1 whole chicken (2.5-4 pounds), rinsed
3 quarts cold water
Freshly cracked pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, (canola, grapeseed or corn oil)
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and minced
1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and diced into small cubes
2 sticks celery, diced into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon ground star anise or ground fennel
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 inch stick lemongrass, bruised with back of knife or rolling pin
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup brown sugar
5 tablespoons Tabasco Chipotle Sauce, divided
1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot
1 tablespoon water
4 tablespoons butter
For brine, bring four cups water to a boil. Remove from heat and add salt, sugars, thyme, garlic, peppercorns and lemon.
In bowl large enough to fully submerge chicken, combine cold water with warm, seasoned water mixture. Add chicken and soak, covered and refrigerated, 12-16 hours.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Remove chicken from brine and pat dry. Rub with olive oil and sprinkle with pepper.
Bake chicken in casserole dish or deep pan, breast side up, for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, prepare sauce.
Heat oil in small saucepan over medium heat and add jalapeno, bell pepper, celery, anise, paprika and lemongrass, stirring every 30 seconds until spices are aromatic and vegetables are soft, about 3 minutes. Add vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce by half, about 3-4 minutes.
Add orange juice, sugar and 4 tablespoons Tabasco Sauce. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
In separate bowl, combine cornstarch and water. Add to sauce and let simmer for 1 minute. Turn off heat and stir butter into sauce until melted. Add remaining Tabasco Sauce.
Reduce oven heat to 300°F and bake for 10 minutes. Glaze with sauce liberally; return to oven and bake until internal temperature – taken at deepest part of thigh area – reaches 165°F, about 20 minutes. Let rest 20 minutes before serving.