Holiday Recipes From Denver Chefs

December 12, 2012 6:00 AM

(credit: Chef Jennifer Jasinski)

If you are tired of the same old holiday dishes, Denver chefs offered these tips and recipes to help your holiday meal shine. The wild mushroom bisque can be made up to two days ahead of time. For the savory bread pudding, bake it in individual ramekins for a pretty plate presentation. Make this year’s cookie-swap party a memorable night with coconut cookies paired with a spicy tequila cocktail.

Sherried Wild Mushroom Bisque

Make this luxurious soup a few days ahead of time and reheat it just before serving. This recipe is courtesy of Chef Amy Hoyt, an instructor at Seasoned Chef Cooking School.

Preparation and cooking time: 45 minutes
Yield: 12 servings


  • 2 tablespoons (one-fourth stick) butter
  • One-third cup minced shallots
  • 1.5 pounds fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 cups (about) canned low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • One-fourth cup dried porcini mushrooms, brushed clean of any grit
  • 5 tablespoons sherry

For Garnish

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Half-pound sliced mushrooms


  1. Melt butter in a heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and sauté for a minute or so and then add in the mushrooms and sauté for another 5 minutes. Include the thyme and garlic and keep over medium-high heat until the mushrooms are golden. Stir in the potatoes, porcini mushrooms and 6 cups of broth. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat, cover the pan and let it simmer for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
  2. Purée the soup in a blender, small amounts at a time. Return the contents to the pot and add in sherry and enough chicken broth to thin soup to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat a medium skillet on medium-high heat and add the butter, then the sliced mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are soft, then add them to the bisque. (Can be prepared and refrigerated 2 days ahead.)
  4. Bring soup to simmer and serve. The soup can also be served with a drizzle of sherry on top.

Seasoned Chef Cooking School
999 Jasmine St.
Denver, CO 80220
(303) 377-3222

Related: Top Sommeliers The Denver Area

(credit: Chef Jennifer Jasinski)

(credit: Chef Jennifer Jasinski)

Apricot Sage Bread Pudding

All too often, the centerpiece of the meal, whether the turkey or a roast, takes up most of the time and attention. Chef Jennifer Jasinski, owner of Rioja, Euclid Hall and Bistro Vendome, suggests shifting some of the focus to creative side dishes that can be made ahead of time. One of her favorites is a savory moist bread pudding with classic stuffing ingredients like sage and an unexpected sweetness from dried apricots. This recipe goes well with turkey, pork roast or leg of lamb.

Preparation and cooking time: 1 hour
Yield: 8 servings


  • One-fourth cup pure olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • Half-cup carrot
  • Half-cup diced celery
  • 1.5 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • One-fourth cup chopped fresh sage
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 quarts diced crusty honey-wheat bread
  • 1.5 cups dried apricots, cut into one-fourth inch diced sections (use kitchen scissors)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • 1.5 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Half-tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 eggs, whisked and blended well


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil, onions, carrots and celery. Sauté until lightly browned and soft. Add the garlic and the sage but do not cook garlic too long as it will burn and turn bitter. Sauté until fragrant.
  3. Add cream and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and transfer to a large stainless steel bowl.
  4. Place all remaining ingredients into a bowl, except the eggs, with the cream. Stir well. Add eggs and coat well until ingredients are moistened.
  5. Spray 8 ramekins (6-8 ounces each) or 8-by-10-inch baking dish with cooking oil. Line bottoms of ramekins with parchment and place them on a sheet pan. Fill dishes generously so they are brimming over the top edge.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven until custard is set. Whether using ramekins or a casserole dish, stick a toothpick in the middle of each to test the consistency. Remove from the oven when the toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let sit for a few minutes before removing the bread pudding from the ramekins or serve directly from the casserole dish. Remove the parchment from the bottom of each individual serving.

1431 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 820-2282

World's Best Cookie (Credit, Chef Jeff Anderson)

World’s Best Cookie (Credit, Chef Jeff Anderson)

World’s Best Cookie

“Pair cocktails with desserts for cookie exchanges and holiday dessert parties,” says Chef Jeff Anderson, executive chef with Safeway grocery. Tequila cocktails with a hot red pepper kick match up well with tropical-fruit desserts, like these coconut cookies.

Preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes
Yield: 20-25 cookies


  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • One-fourth teaspoon salt
  • Three-fourths teaspoon baking powder
  • Half-teaspoon baking soda
  • Half-cup unsalted butter, softened
  • Half-cup vegetable shortening
  • Half-cup sugar
  • Half-cup molasses
  • Half-teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1.5 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup dried fruit, diced, such as mango and/or pineapple


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. Use a mixer to beat the butter and shortening until smooth. Add in the sugar, molasses, vanilla and eggs. Beat at a low speed until everything is incorporated.
  4. Add flour mixture and beat slowly until incorporated.
  5. With a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate, oats, coconut, nuts and dried fruit. The dough is now ready for scooping.
  6. On a lined cookie tray, place dough balls 2 inches apart for baking.
  7. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, rotating the tray at the midway point.
  8. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes.

Related: Top Spots To Buy A Turkey In Denver

Kimberly Lord Stewart is a food author and journalist for CBS Denver local, Organic Food Reporter for, and the Food, Wine and Spirits editor for Denver Life magazine. Her book, “Eating Between the Lines” tells readers about the truth and myths of food labeling. Stewart is the recipient of two Association of Food Journalist awards for food news reporting and the Jessie Neal Business Journalism award. Her work can be found at