Holiday Entertaining

The Holiday Feast of Our Test Kitchen Team's Dreams

December 12, 2015

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of porchetta danced in their heads...

Is that not how it goes? Just ask our talented test kitchen team, chef Josh Cohen and chef-in-residence Sara Jenkins—they'll tell you otherwise. When we asked them to come up with the holiday feast of their dreams, they outdid themselves. There are no sugarplums on their menu, but there is porchetta (Sara's speciality, and the namesake of her East Village, New York shop Porchetta), pasta with lobster and a slow-cooked fennel purée, which makes fennel taste even more like itself—and seven more truly dreamy dishes, including a winter salad to miss in summertime and a new take on a classic dessert.

Leftovers? Send 'em our way. Photo by Alpha Smoot

We at the Food52 offices are the lucky beneficiaries of Josh and Sara's remarkable cooking every day; they can knock out a pan sauce or 46 different batches cookies or a table full of our family's weirdest jello salads from week to week. But seeing what they make when we ask them to play—to come up with their no-holds-barred holiday feast—is pretty exciting. We get hot, aromatic, slow-cooked pork—Sara's porchetta, "the market-day treat of her childhood," she tells us. We get a sultry mushroom side that, as Josh says, should send you "running to temporarily take the batteries out of your smoke alarm." We get a wintry, radicchio salad buoyant enough to make Sara miss it in the summertime. We asked them to dream, they delivered. And now they're passing their gems on to you.

Here is their stunning, 9-course holiday feast:

To start the meal:

Crudités with Feta Pistachio Dip by Sara Jenkins

Photo by Alpha Smoot

Radicchio Salad by Sara Jenkins

Photo by Alpha Smoot

Brussels Sprouts Caesar by Josh Cohen

Photo by Alpha Smoot

The pasta course:

Garganelli with Lobster and Caramelized Fennel Purée by Josh Cohen

Photo by Alpha Smoot

The main event:

Porchetta by Sara Jenkins

Photo by Alpha Smoot

Sides aplenty:

Jerusalem Artichoke and Apple Purée by Sara Jenkins

Photo by Alpha Smoot

Mushrooms with Caramelized Fresh Shallots and Fresh Thyme by Josh Cohen

Photo by Alpha Smoot

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Merguez, Persimmon, and Za'atar Yogurt by Josh Cohen

Photo by Alpha Smoot

Save room for:

Olive Oil Chocolate Mousse by Sara Jenkins

Photo by Alpha Smoot
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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Scribbles
  • Sandra
  • Sharon Wegner
    Sharon Wegner
  • Ali Slagle
    Ali Slagle
  • Kristen Miglore
    Kristen Miglore
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


Scribbles December 12, 2015
All of these recipes sound delicious. I don't plan to do the entire menu for one dinner; I'm thinking the lobster/fennel pasta for New Years dinner for two with the salad and chocolate mousse. The Porchetta and everything but the pasta for a celebration dinner with friends after the first of the year.
Sandra December 12, 2015
The recipe for the "classic casserole everyone should know how to make" should be more specific about the amount of chicken, using either weight or volume. The weight of chicken breasts varies wildly so saying four chicken breasts is not helpful.
Ali S. December 12, 2015
Hi Sandra, That post, which I'm guessing you saw right above, where it says "From Our Friends," is from a different website. You'll need to get clarification on the recipe from them, Sorry we can't be more help!
Sharon W. December 12, 2015
Ok. Challenge accepted! I'm going to "attempt" to replicate this amazing meal. Photos to follow.
Kristen M. December 12, 2015
So impressed, Sharon!