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A Prime Caja Christmas

Posted by Chef Perry P. Perkins on

“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”

― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

The Menu

Salt Crusted Prime Rib (get recipe & worksheet here)

Balsamic Cranberry Brussels Sprouts

Simple Broccoli-Tomato Salad

Balsamic Cranberry Brussels Sprouts

I tested this recipes on some friends recently, one of whom informed me that while she despised Brussels sprouts, she would “try one” for me. She made a point of telling me, after dinner, that she had gone back for seconds. If you know folks who’ve never met a Brussels spout they loved… this is a good one to introduce them to!

  • 1 lb. Brussels sprouts*
  • ½ lb of thick-sliced bacon
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
  • 32 oz. chicken broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 15 oz. jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 4 skewers, soaked

* For even cooking, try to pick Brussels sprouts of a uniform in size and shape

Chop and fry the bacon until cooked but still a little soft. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon from fat, and drain on paper towels. Set aside. Add onions and garlic to the bacon fat and saute until soft. Drain and mix with the bacon. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, bring the chicken broth to simmer in a stock pot. Cut off the stem end of the Brussels sprouts and remove any off-color outer leaves.

Add the Brussels sprouts to the chicken stock, return to a simmer (if necessary, add water until sprouts are just covered), and cook 8 to 10 minutes, stirring often, until they are still firm, but you can poke a skewer through them.

Drain and allow the sprouts to cool until you can handle them.

For sauce:

In a small bowl, combine jellied cranberry sauce, balsamic vinegar, and sugar. Heat to a low simmer, whisking until smooth. Lower heat to low, and stir in the bacon/onion/garlic mixture. Set aside and keep warm.

Halve and skewer 6 to 8 sprouts onto each skewer. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, and brush with reduction sauce.

Grill over high heat briefly, until just caramelized (be careful they can burn quickly.)

Serve on skewers, or remove to a bowl.

Simple Broccoli-Tomato Salad

  • 1 large head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 Tbs. rice vinegar, unseasoned
  • 1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp. coarse black pepper

Combine broccoli, onion, and tomatoes in a bowl.

Whisk mayonnaise, sugar, oil, pepper, and vinegar together in a bowl until dressing is smooth; pour over broccoli mixture and stir to coat.

Optional additions:
1 cup craisins
8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 cup sunflower seeds, salted


Perry P. Perkins comes from a long line of professional cooks. As a third generation chef, he focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine. Perry runs a non-profit organization. MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, which teaches nutrition, shopping, and hands on cooking classes or at risk youth.

His cookbooks include La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, MEAT FIRE GOOD, and La Caja China Party.

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