Three special holiday recipes for a show-stopper dinner

Cranberry marinated tenderloin makes the pricey cut the centerpiece of a special dinner.
Cranberry marinated tenderloin makes the pricey cut the centerpiece of a special dinner. The Washington Post

With so many great cookbooks debuting this year, it’s hard to know where to start to find holiday meal ideas. Here are three:

“How to Celebrate Everything: Recipes and Rituals for Birthdays, Holidays, Family Dinners, and Every Day in Between,” by Jenny Rosenstrach (Ballentine Books, $30, 336 pages). Recipe to try: cranberry-marinated beef tenderloin.

“The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook,” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (Little, Brown and Co., $32, 448 pages). Recipe to try: Peking portobellos.

“Cooking for Jeffrey,” by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter, $35, 256 pages). Recipe to try: raspberry roasted applesauce.

Raspberry roasted applesauce

Serves 10 (about 7 cups)

This makes a simple and lovely dessert, especially at holiday time. The raspberry roasted applesauce can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. Reheat on medium-low on the stove top. Adapted from “Cooking for Jeffrey,” by Ina Garten.

Finely grated zest and juice of 2 large oranges, plus thin ribbons of zest for serving

Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

3 pounds sweet red apples, such as Macoun

1/2 cup loosely packed light brown sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

12 ounces fresh raspberries

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the grated citrus zests and juices in a large Dutch oven.

Peel and core the apples, then cut them into chunks, adding them to the Dutch oven as you go. Toss to coat.

Add the brown sugar, butter, cinnamon and raspberries. Cover tightly and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until the apples are quite soft. Uncover and stir vigorously with a whisk (or use a potato masher) until the applesauce reaches the desired consistency.

Serve warm, topped with a scoop of ice cream and the citrus zest ribbons.

Per serving: 160 calories, 0 g protein, 32 g carbohydrates, 5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 0 mg sodium, 4 g dietary fiber, 25 g sugar

Cranberry-marinated beef tenderloin

Serves 8 to 10

Author Jenny Rosenstrach reserves buying this expensive cut of meat for Christmas Day dinner. You’ll need a thermometer for monitoring the meat as it cooks — and you may need to crack open a window during the last-phase broiling. Rosenstrach suggests serving this with horseradish mashed potatoes and curried carrots with pecans.

Note: The meat needs to marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Adapted from “How to Celebrate Everything,” by Jenny Rosenstrach.

1 cup dried unsweetened cranberries

1 cup unsweetened cranberry juice

3 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 cup dry red wine

2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 sprig fresh rosemary

One 4-pound piece beef tenderloin, tied with butcher’s twine every few inches

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flour

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Combine the dried cranberries, cranberry juice, orange juice, wine, soy sauce, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Add the meat and seal, massaging to coat and pressing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate for 24 hours, turning the bag over once or twice.

Position an oven rack in the upper third of the oven; preheat to 500 degrees.

Place the meat on a broiler pan and lightly pat it dry with paper towels. Discard the garlic and rosemary from the marinade, then pour the marinade into a small saucepan.

Place the broiler pan in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 350 degrees; roast for 40 minutes, checking the internal temperature after the first 30 minutes. The tenderloin will be finished once the internal temperature registers 125 degrees on an instant-read thermometer (for medium-rare). Increase the temperature to the broil setting; broil the meat just long enough to create some crisp edges and nice browning on the meat.

Let it rest for 15 minutes before slicing (discard the twine).

Meanwhile, bring the marinade to a boil over medium-high heat. Whisk in the flour until no lumps remain; cook for about 8 minutes, whisking or stirring, until thickened.

Stir in the butter until it’s fully incorporated. The yield is about 2 cups of sauce.

Serve the sauce warm, with the tenderloin.

Peking portobellos

Serves 4

These are meaty-tasting, with a terrific sauce we’re already thinking of using with other dishes as well. You’ll need a roasting rack. The sauce can be made and refrigerated a day in advance.

Adapted from “The Superfun Times Vegan Holiday Cookbook,” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

For the mushrooms:

6 medium-size portobello mushroom caps (gills removed)

Sliced scallions, for garnish

For the sauce:

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

2 tablespoons plain rice vinegar

2 tablespoons Sriracha

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon peeled, finely grated fresh ginger root (from a 2-inch piece)

1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest (from 1 large orange)

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place a flat wire roasting rack inside a rimmed baking sheet.

Arrange the portobello caps, gill sides down, on the rack. Roast for 12 minutes or until they have released moisture.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Whisk together the hoisin sauce, vinegar, Sriracha, toasted sesame oil, ginger, orange zest, brown sugar and five-spice powder in a medium bowl until well combined.

Transfer the roasted portobellos to a few layers of paper towels and let them drain for a few minutes; meanwhile, position an oven rack 8 inches from the broiler element and preheat the broiler. Wipe off the baking sheet, then lightly grease it with cooking oil spray. Arrange the roasted portobellos on it, gill sides up. Spoon 1/4 cup of the sauce over them.

Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sauce has darkened, watching closely so the portobellos don’t burn. Then use tongs to turn them over. Spoon another 1/4 cup of the sauce over them, then broil for 3 to 5 minutes on the second side, until dark brown and lightly charred on the edges.

Slice the portobellos on the diagonal. Scrape any residual broiled sauce from the baking sheet into the remaining 1/4 cup of sauce, stirring to incorporate. Drizzle the portobellos with that sauce mixture; top with the scallions. Serve warm.