November 30th, 2014

Holiday Trio: winter jewel salad with roasted shallot dressing, “stamppot,” balsamic vinegar pot roast


It is the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and the last day of November. It’s overcast this afternoon, and oddly quiet in my neighborhood–perhaps the clouds have muffled the usual sounds of busy-ness. Perhaps everyone is just laying low, passing a restful time, post-feasting.

Poised as we are on the brink of December, I call this little respite the calm before the fury: Holidays, families, friends, parties and travels; trees and wreaths and lights, cooking and baking, shopping and wrapping…

Maybe it doesn’t have to be a mad dash, a stress-filled careen through the remaining 31 days of 2014. What if it’s simply fun? I’m looking for that. Fun, with an accent on simple.

In that spirit, I’ve assembled a trio of delicious dishes, for your pleasure. They fall into that simple category, to be sure, but they each share qualities that make them seem more complex, like you’d spent overwrought time on them.

But we don’t want to do that. We want to have fun.


Start with this Winter Jewel Salad, so-called because of its scatter of pomegranate seeds,that glisten like little rubies on this composed salad of mixed greens, citrus fruits, avocados and gorgonzola. As delectable as it is pretty on the holiday dinner table! I serve it with a whip of honey-roasted shallot vinaigrette on the side. Yes, there are flecks of green–fresh thyme leaves–in it. Savory-sweet.


When I lived in The Netherlands many years ago, I ate potatoes every day—like most Dutch. One of my favorite preparations was Stamppot–a boiled potato-vegetable mash. Sometimes it’s made with carrots and onions that are mashed and mixed with the “apples of the earth.” Other times, spinach or endive are folded into the puree. I could count on stamppot, in either root vegetables or bitter green version, to be hearty, tasty, and satisfying.

Recently, I made a Down-South variation of this rustic Dutch mainstay. I used Yukon gold potatoes, carrots, and onions—which follow tradition. But, I changed things up by adding parsnips–of which I’ve become very fond–and buttermilk.


I have found my favorite, a whole buttermilk from JD Country Farms in Russellville Kentucky. It is thick and luscious. It reminds me more of kefir or yogurt. I could drink it! It adds wonderful body and tang to the dish.


Last, but not least is this Beef Roast, braised to tenderness in balsamic vinegar. Back in my catering days, when I would make pot roast dinners for 50, 100, 250 people, and therefore would wield great rounds of beef, I made my “balsamic vinegar discovery.” I didn’t have any red wine on hand to flavor the meat, so I tried using the vinegar instead. I was really happy with the result. Marinated and braised into the meat, it imbued a caramel-wine sweetness, while insuring fork-tender bites. (I have since discovered the marinating power of balsamic in other dishes, such as this Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak from Cooking Light.)


1/4 pound Arugula
1/4 pound Baby Spinach
Citrus Fruits: 1 grapefruit, 3 tangerines, peeled and cut into slices
Avocado, sliced
1/2 pound sugar snap peas, (or asparagus spears) blanched and chilled
2 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 cup pomegranate seeds

After you gather your salad ingredients, assemble them in a large shallow (rather than deep) bowl–it is easier to compose the salad. Start with a foundation of greens, and then arrange the citrus, avocado, sugar snaps (or asparagus, cut into thirds) Add the gorgonzola crumbles.
Finish with a generous spray of pomegranate seeds, which look like pretty jewels on the salad.

Cover and chill until ready to serve. Make the vinaigrette to serve alongside.

Makes 8 servings


1 large shallot, roasted
3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
12 tablespoons olive oil

Halve or quarter the roasted shallot and place into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the olive oil. Pulse until rough chopped and somewhat combined.

Process, adding the olive oil, one tablespoon at a time.

Makes one cup.


3 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and cut into 2″ chunks
1/2 pound carrots, scrubbed and cut into 2″ lengths
1/2 pound parsnips, scrubbed and cut into 2″ lengths
2 medium onions, peeled and cut into eighths
1 stick butter
salt to taste
black pepper to taste
1 cup buttermilk

Place all of the vegetables into a large pot. Fill with cool water to cover.
Sprinkle in a teaspoon of salt. Cover with the lid and place on medium high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the vegetables are tender—18-20 minutes.

Drain the vegetables and return them to the pot, set on low heat. Shake the pot so that any excess water will cook off. Cut up a stick of butter into the mixture. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Coarsely mash the vegetables together.

Pour in the buttermilk and continue to mash. Taste for seasonings, adjust and serve.

Makes 8-10 servings


1 cup balsamic vinegar, divided
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 pounds boneless beef chuck roast
2 bay leaves
1 bunch fresh thyme
1/4 cup all purpose flour

Make an overnight marinade for the beef:
Mix 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar with red wine, 1/4 cup olive oil, Worcestershire sauce. Stir in chopped onion and minced garlic, salt and black pepper. Place the beef into a non-reactive container and pour over the marinade. Turn the beef a few times to make sure it is well covered. Cover and refrigerate.

To braise:
Heat a Dutch oven on medium. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Remove the beef from the marinade and begin browning the meat on all sides. It will take about 5 minutes a side.

Add water, about 1 1/2 cups, just enough to cover the meat. Add bay leaves and fresh thyme.
Cover and reduce the heat to low. Braise the beef for 2 hours. Uncover, flip, and continue braising for another hour.

In a small bowl, mix the remaining 3/4 balsamic vinegar with the flour to make a smooth paste.

When the beef is fork tender, remove from the Dutch oven. Discard bay lleaves and thyme. Stir in the balsamic-flour paste to the juices in the pot. Cook on low to make a thin rich gravy.

Carve the roast into thin slices, trimming any fat. Return the slices to the gravy.
Simmer. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.

Serves 10


Posted in Meats/Poultry, Recipes, Salads, Vegetables

15 Responses to “Holiday Trio: winter jewel salad with roasted shallot dressing, “stamppot,” balsamic vinegar pot roast”
  1. Teresa, foodonfifth Says:

    Yum! I remember eating more than my share of your Stamppot at Third Thursday last and the beef in the juices was delicious all mixed together on my plate! A perfect wintery dish all hearty and cozy.
    As you know this was what Wouter made us for Thanksgiving…a Dutch variation on the theme…and I can think of no better way to celebrate the season.
    In our family we do not do hectic holidays any longer and the calmness we realized came with the collective decision to no longer “buy lots of gifts that no one really needed”…appreciated, yes, needed no. So we buy for other families with small children who do actually need warm coats, bed linens, cozy stuffed animals to sleep with and at times boxes of food. We choose a few families here in Nashville to help you know there are many. So we still get to buy, leisurely, a few toys for small children and so enjoy this part of the Holidays. No hectic necessary.
    Much love and hugs, Happy Non-Hectic December Nance.

  2. fluffy Says:

    anytime you can stamp and pot in the same bite you have made the world a better place

    the dead animal is a little out of season for a true christian

    i need new running shoes for christmas

  3. ernestine Says:

    you gave me some new ideas :)

  4. Joyti Says:

    Yum! The salad looks GORGEOUS and the stamppot sounds like my type of food. SO good!

  5. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Teresa–a much better way to celebrate the season.

    fluffy–have you been naughty or nice?

    Ernestine–My pleasure!

    Joyti–the stamppot is wonderful peasant fare!

  6. Amy (Savory Moments) Says:

    Oh this whole meal looks so excellent! I love the salad – it looks so bright, colorful, and healthy.

  7. Barbara Greene Says:

    Oh yum! I have always loved your salads and look forward to them at all our family holiday dinners. Somehow, I have missed the stamp pot. What a yummy and easy to prepare dish! Let’s have it Christmas Eve! And your roast…want some now. :)
    Look forward to seeing you soon.

  8. Adri Says:

    What a wonderful trio of dishes. Your Winter Jewel Salad looks so tasty and really eye-catching. I have never heard of Stamppot, but I think I would love it. And the beef, well who does not enjoy a nice roast? Thanks for some terrific ideas. I hope your holidy season is not too hectic. It always seems to come and go so very quickly.

  9. Johanne Lamarche Says:

    Love everything in this salad plus it is so pretty. How do you roast the shallots? The stampot is new to me by name but I grew up eating a very similar combo mash. I love mixing the veggies w the potatoes but the kids like just mashed. Good thing they are back at school! The beef looks soooo tender. Bet it filled the house with a delicious aroma!

  10. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Johanne–I should add this to the recipe. Here’s how to roast the shallots:
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use 1 large or 2 small shallots.
    If it is one large one, I peel it, cut off the root end, then slice it in half lengthwise. The small ones can roast whole.
    Place the halves or whole shallots on a piece of aluminum foil; drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt. Wrap the foil around the shallots and place into the oven. Roast until softened and somewhat caramel-colored–15-20 minutes.

  11. Beth Says:

    Your jewel salad looks gorgeous! I’d eat that any time of the year.

  12. Tammy Says:

    I have never heard the word stamppot! Love the flecks of carrot in the mash.

  13. Juliana Says:

    Nice meal Nancy…love the colorful salad! Mashed potatoes with other vegetables just add extra color and flavors. Beef roast…yes!
    Awesome meal!
    Hope you are enjoying your week :)

  14. Barbara Says:

    Nancy, I adore that vinaigrette! Going to make that ASAP.
    I’ve never had stampot, looks right up my alley, too.

  15. Kitchen Belleicious Says:

    i love the jeweled salad. Wow, it looks stunning and delicious and simple and perfect for the winter

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