Thursday, December 17, 2015

Festive Holiday Recipes Sweetened with Honey

With the holidays just days away, it’s time to start planning the menu for your holiday gathering!  This year, try something healthy and sweet for your friends and family – Festive Holiday Recipes Sweetened with Honey.

Why honey? Honey is not only a delicious way to sweeten dishes while avoiding refined sugars, it contains natural antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are proven to sooth sore throats and coughs, boost energy and relive tired muscles. Honey is also known to relax the digestive tract – perfect for overindulgent holiday eating!
The below recipes from Honeydrop and Dan Lorig will be the perfect additions to your holiday meal.

Honey Poached Pears with Gorgonzola and Hazelnuts
4          Pears
3          Cups White Wine
¾         Cup Honey
¼         Cup Lemon Juice
1          Star Anise
1          Cinnamon Stick
¼         Cup Honey
½         Cup Gorgonzola Cheese – Crumbled
¼         Cup Hazelnuts
1.     Carefully, core pears from the bottom, then peal and reserve in cold water with a few drops of lemon juice to prevent browning.
2.     Combine the Wine, Honey (reserve ¼ cup), Lemon Juice and spices.
3.     Place pears and honey mixture in a 2 -3 quart saucepot ensuring that the poaching liquid fully covers the pears.
4.     Place a small oven safe dish on top of the pears to keep them submerged throughout the cooking process.
5.     Poach the pears on medium heat and bring to a slow simmer. Continue poaching the pears for approximately 40 minutes or until they are fork tender.
6.     Remove the pears from the honey liquid and refrigerate to cool (Discard the star anise and cinnamon stick.
7.     Reduce the remaining liquid down to 1 cup.
8.     Remove the reduction from the heat and add the remaining honey. Refrigerate to cool.
To Serve:
1.     Place a chilled pear on a small chilled plate (trimming the bottom as necessary, for a flat surface).
2.     Drizzle the chilled reduced poaching liquid on top of the pear and place the Gorgonzola and Hazelnuts around the plate to garnish.

Oven Roast Chicken with Fresh Thyme and Honey Butter
One Small Chicken 2.5-3.5 lbs
Fresh Thyme and Honey Butter:
4 oz soft (room temperature) butter
1.5 Tbsp Honey
2 -3 Sprigs of Fresh thyme, picked from stem and chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp cracked pepper
Rinse the chicken and pat dry, inside and out, with paper towels. Remove any loose fat and be sure inner cavity is completely dry.
For the butter mix all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl or food processor. The butter should be soft, not melted.  Also, avoid any bits of stem from the thyme, use only the leaves. Set aside once complete.
With the cavity of the chicken facing you slide a finger under the skin. Starting with the breasts, gently create a pocket under the skin, taking care not to tear the skin. Next, separate the skin from the thighs with the tip of your finger.
With the cavity still facing you, use your fingers to spread the thyme honey butter under the skin in the pocket you have just created.  Push the butter into the thighs and liberally across the breast; be gentle throughout this process.
Season the outside of the chicken and the inner cavity with salt and pepper. Tuck the wing tips behind themselves. Cover loosely with a paper towel and refrigerate.
To Roast the Chicken:
Preheat the oven to 475°
In a shallow roasting pan, place the chicken breast side up in the center of the oven.  After about 30 minutes, baste the chicken with any pan dripping that have accumulated in the bottom of the roasting pan and turn the chicken over.  Reduce the temperature to 450°. Roast for another 10 -20 minutes, depending on the size of the chicken, then turn the bird over again and roast another 5-10 minutes.  Overall cooking time should be 45-60 minutes. The skin should be crispy,  golden brown and any juices running from the bird should be clear.
Carefully remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest 5 minutes. Lift the chicken from the pan and place on the center of a plate pour any pan dripping back over the chicken.
Serve while hot with oven roast potatoes and green beans for a delicious meal.

Honey Roasted Butternut Squash Soup


12 Fl. Oz. White Wine
1 fl. Oz Vegetable Oil, as needed
2 Oz Shallot, Chopped                                                             
6 Oz Celery, Medium Dice                                 
3 Oz Carrot, Medium Dice                                 
1 Tbsp Garlic Clove, Chopped                          
2 Lbs Butternut Squash, Cooked                       
2 Fl Oz Olive Oil, as needed                              
4 Fl Oz Honey                                                  
3 Qt Vegetable Stock                           
8 Fl Oz Heavy Cream                                        
Salt, to taste
White Pepper, Ground, to taste


1.     Peel and seed Squash
2.     Cut Squash into 1”-2” cubes
3.     Place Squash in a medium bowl, mix with olive oil and honey to lightly coat
4.     Spread Squash over a sheet tray and lightly season with salt and white pepper
5.     Roast at 300 F for approximately 1 hr or until fork tender

1.     Heat oil in a medium saucepot to low heat. Add the shallots, garlic, celery, onion and carrot. Cook slowly until soft/translucent.
2.     Add White Wine and simmer 2 minutes
3.     Add cooked squash and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 1 hour
4.     Puree in a blender or food processor until very smooth then strain. Repeat if necessary to achieve desired consistency
5.     Add Heavy Cream and return to heat; simmer 20 minutes
6.     Adjust seasoning with Honey, salt and white pepper to taste
7.     Serve immediately

Honey Mustard and Herb Vinaigrette

Makes Approx. 1qt


1/3 cup Champagne Vinegar                             
2/3 cup Apple Cider Vinegar                             
1 tbsp Dijon Mustard                                        
1 Shallot, Chopped                              
1 tbsp Thyme, Fresh, chopped                         
1 tbsp Parsley, Fresh, chopped            
2 Tsp Honey                                                    
20 Fl Oz Extra Virgin Olive Oil                           
Salt and Cracked Black Pepper, to taste

1.     Combine all of the ingredients except the oil.
2.     Gradually incorporate the oil in a steady stream.
3.     Adjust the seasoning to taste with salt and black pepper.
4.     Serve immediately over mixed greens or store in refrigerator for up to one week

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