A Delicious Holiday-Dinner Menu

Preparing the Feast

Possibly no meal is more lovingly planned than our Christmas dinner. A ritual steeped in tradition, it offers a blissfully familiar array of dishes that have been passed from generation to generation. A menu often derived from family origins and time-honored customs, this most celebratory repast always comes together with the help of many hands, many hearts, and many well-kept secrets. 

Preparing the Feast

Adding a culinary twist to the buffet, Butternut-Squash-and-Fennel Mash presents a golden alternative to the more traditional creamed potatoes. Bacon, garlic, and thyme complement the flavors of winter squash and fennel simmered in a buttery broth. 

Butternut-Squash-and-Fennel Mash
Makes 6 to 8 servings
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  1. 8 slices bacon
  2. 3 tablespoons butter
  3. 1 clove garlic, minced
  4. 1 head fennel, trimmed and chopped
  5. 1 small butternut squash (about 2 pounds),
  6. peeled, seeded, and chopped
  7. 3 teaspoons coarse salt
  8. 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  9. ½ cup milk
  10. ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  11. Garnish: crumbled bacon and fresh thyme leaves
  1. In a large Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium-high heat, turning frequently, until browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove bacon, reserving 3 tablespoons drippings. Let bacon cool completely; crumble.
  2. Add butter to reserved bacon drippings. Add garlic, and cook over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Add fennel, squash, salt, and pepper. Cover with 1 inch water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer over medium-high heat until tender, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Drain in a large colander; return squash and fennel to pot. Stir over medium heat until dry, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add milk and cream; mash with a potato masher until creamy or desired consistency is reached. Garnish with reserved bacon and thyme, if desired.
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