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December’s Culinary Theme: Going HAM Over the Holidays

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With one cold-weather holiday under our belts and a few more fast approaching, we’re doubling down on the feasts, family gatherings, and official invitations to indulge in the name of good cheer. Here, recipe editor Rachael Stuart shows you how Plated’s Culinary team really embraced the go-hard spirit of the holidays to create delicious, easy, and comforting meals that help you go HAM (if you’re unfamiliar with the term, we suggest a quick Google before proceeding).

This is prime time for massive pots of hearty soups that can feed a hungry crowd. Be on the lookout for a fragrant Moroccan stew dotted with chickpeas and ladled over mounds of tender quinoa. Or go for a stunning winter vegetable and black bean chili, complete with homemade tortilla chips for dipping (pictured above).

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Our chefs really pulled out all the stops for one of our favorite categories of comfort food: hot sandwiches! Start with a gooey grilled cheese that combines melted Fontina and Brie cheeses and a dollop of jammy fig compote. Follow it up with anything-but-classic BLTs that are stuffed with pork belly (oh yeah) glazed in a sticky-sweet combo of balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and brown sugar, and finished with a swipe of creamy tarragon aioli.

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Of course, we can’t forget about the indulgent, impressive, elegant but easy meals, like seared steak topped with a parsley shallot compound butter, which melts into every forkful. Or classic eggplant Parmesan, paired with garlicky pull-apart rolls (think savory monkey bread!). There’s even a pizza that’s inspired by a no-holds-barred bagel sandwich—the dough is slathered with creamy goat cheese and topped with our favorite smoked salmon, capers, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. If that doesn’t make your dinner companions’ jaws drop, we honestly don’t know what will.
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Last but not least, we’re giving you more excuses to get the whole group involved in perhaps the sweetest part of the holidays: festive desserts! Eager kitchen helpers (be it kids or grownups alike) will thoroughly enjoy lending a hand for a batch of buttery thumbprint cookies—they’ll actually use their thumbs to make space for spoonfuls of sparkly raspberry jam. While you spread melted chocolate super-thin to make bark, enlist a trusty sidekick to be ready to sprinkle over the red goji berries, toasted white coconut flakes, and green pistachios.

So here’s our advice to you: Get hungry, go hard, and give this last bit of 2016 everything you’ve got!

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