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Best Recipes of 2019

Christina Collins with Chef Kevin Des Chenes
Chef Kevin Des Chenes is super passionate about food and I'm a big fan!

It was a delicious year

2019 was destined to be a great culinary year for me. How could it not be? It kicked off on January 3, 2019 when I had the incredible opportunity to enjoy the most amazing 8 course tasting meal, in the private office of Daniel Boulud, overlooking the Michelin star restaurant kitchen, Daniel NYCIt was an insanely awesome experience!

I can clearly recall my thoughts that night.  I remember thinking, “This food is perfection” and “I should just stop cooking because I’ll never be able to make anything this good.” However, I did not stop cooking. In fact, it was quite the opposite- I got inspired.  As a foodie and a passionate cook, I really had no choice.

“I need to cook the way people need to breath.”

That meal on January 3 made me want to get better and that is what I set out to do.  So I spent most of 2019 buried in cookbooks, watching master classes, watching Gordon Ramsey make scrambled eggs over and over and over again. I read autobiographies by the world’s most accomplished chefs, I watched everyone from Jamie Oliver to random Italian grandmothers make fresh pasta on YouTube, and even took classes on ingredients and pairings. And I tested more recipes than ever before.

I am proud of the technical progress I made last year, as well as the refinement in my cooking style- a term my friends help coin as “Rustically Refined.”

Autographed Menu Daniel Boulud
This message from Daniel Boulud hangs in my kitchen to encourage to push my skills and flavors to the next level in my very own kitchen.

During my culinary journey in 2019, I discovered some truly exceptional recipes that I am excited to share. I’m talking “Wow!” moment recipes. These are the kind of recipes that quiet a crowd, make you want to close your eyes while you savor, and genuinely make you smile inside and out. These are the kind of recipes that keep me passionate about food and that I get excited about, and I think you will too! 

So without further adieu, here are Feast & Merriment’s best recipes of 2019!

The Best Recipes of 2019

chicken chili with sour cream

Award winning chicken chili

This chicken chili recipe simply blew. my. mind! It changed everything I thought I knew about making chili. Roasted chicken and fresh peppers simmer with traditional chili flavors and the results are award winning!
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Apple Pie Bars

Apple Pie Bars

This incredible dessert recipe is possibly my favorite of all time. The layers of savory, salty, tart, and sweet guarantee a truly exceptional apple dessert.
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Beef Bourguignon

Beef Bourguignon

A full bottle of red wine and a good pour of Cognac are what separates good beef stew from exceptional Beef Bourguignon. This recipe is nothing other than braised perfection.
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rigatoni with fennel and sausage

Rigatoni with Sausage & Fennel

Once in a while a recipe comes along that literally quiets a crowd. This recipe does that. I honestly don't know how it can be that good, but it just is. Rigatoni with Sausage & Fennel is a real deal, show stopper.
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Stuffed Turkey with Stuffing & cranberry sauce

Turkey with cranberry & stuffing

Elegant, delicious, festive & unique. This turkey stuffed with classic stuffing & cranberry sauce and smothered in gravy is the best of a classic Thanksgiving dinner rolled into the very best bite. What's better? It can be made in advance.
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Soft scrambled eggs with lobster

Soft Scrambled Eggs

Chef Gordon Ramsey's recipe for scrambled eggs has changed the way I cook and experience eggs forever, and that is not an exaggeration. They are simply delectable, delightful, delicious, and the only way you should ever make them.
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shepherds pie

Shepherd’s Pie

This version of the well known, UK classic, Shepherd's pie is layered with rich, savory flavors. Using diced lamb refines this dish and elevates it well above the minced meat version. It's a true representation of rustically refined cooking, which is what Feast & Merriment is all about!
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Slow Cooked Filet of Beef

Slow Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Slow roasted beef tenderloin recipe is an exceptional recipe and perfect for a special occasion. I cannot express enough how much I love this recipe and can't imagine ever roasting a beef any other way.
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What makes a great recipe?

When it comes to recipes for my Feast & Merriment collection, I am looking for a recipe to exhibit incredible flavor, contain a unique or interesting twist, and have the capability of being able to make at least some portion of it ahead of time. 

Flavor

The flavor is always the most important component of any recipe. To be a top 1o recipe, the dish must produce outstanding and exceptional flavor. Not just good, not just great, but amazing flavor. It simply needs to taste amazing. It needs to quiet the dinner table. It needs to prompt my feasters to ask questions and devour it. That’s the level of flavor I am always looking for. 

Uniqueness

I really enjoy it when I make a recipe that surprises me with either an ingredient that I wouldn’t think of using or a twist on it that I never thought to do. These are the things that elevate a dish to a whole new level. I’m not looking to make the same stuff everyone else makes- I want to cook something different that brings the “Wow” to the dinner party!

Make ahead

I want to enjoy the meals I make with whoever I am sharing it with, whether just my husband or a party of 6. The only way I can do that is if I can give my dining companion(s) more of my attention than I have to give to the food.  That means the dish needs to be at least “almost” fully prepared, if not entirely prepared, and cleaned up, prior to the start of feasting time. So for me, any best recipe is one that can be made ahead.