Holiday Feasts

Whip up winning dishes by our favorite local chefs in the comfort of your home

By Vanessa Pascale Rust

One of my favorite things about the holidays is the food. ‘Tis the season for parties and get-togethers centered around delicious, indulgent fare. Even now, I am daydreaming about slices of perfectly roasted turkey, crispy brussels sprouts, warm homemade pies and beautiful charcuterie boards overflowing with sweet and savory goodies.  If you’re hosting a fête this winter or contributing to a potluck, here are a few recipes from our favorite Decatur restaurants that are sure to impress your diners.

Iberian Pig Decatur’s Lamb Leg 

by Chef Andy Peterson  

This dish has turned into one of those items that I’m afraid to ever take off our menu because they’ve become so popular. If they ever go away, it’s going to break some hearts!”


  • How would you describe this recipe in 3 words? Savory, craveable and hearty.
  • Why did you choose to share this specific recipe? Lamb leg is one of my favorite braised meats and is easy to do in a crock pot at home!
  • When do you like to make this recipe and how often do you make it? I love having these on a cold fall evening at home, or when we get together to celebrate the holidays.


For the Piquillo Rellenos 

5 pounds lamb shoulder, boneless, 2 inch cubed

1 cup onion, small dice

1/2 cup carrots, small dice

1/2 cup celery, small dice

1/4 cup garlic cloves, minced

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 cup red wine

3 1/3 cup meat stock

1 can of piquillos


For the Sachet

1 bunch thyme

1 bunch rosemary

4 each bay leaves


In a braising pan, sear lamb shoulder until golden brown. Remove lamb shoulder from pan and add mirepoix. Add tomato paste. Let toast and slightly brown. Add garlic. Deglaze pan with red wine. Let reduce. Add meat stock and bring to a simmer. Add sachet. Add lamb back to the pan.

Cover with mirepoix and stock. Make sure liquid comes up ¾ of the way up. Braise in oven 325 degrees for 2.5 to 3 hours. Let cool in braising liquid. Remove meat and vegetables from braising liquid and shred together. Reserve liquid. Stuff meat into piquillos.


For the Romesco

2 yellow onions, chopped

3.5 red bell peppers, chopped

0.25 can San Marzano tomatoes, not strained

¾ cup whole garlic cloves

¾ cup hazelnuts

¾ cup sliced almonds

0.5 ancho chilies, stem & seed removed, rehydrated

2 tbsp Pimenton Picante

¼ cup Pimenton Dulce

½ cup blended olive oil and canola

¼ #10 can Piquillo Peppers strained

Sherry Vin to taste 


Large dice onion and bell pepper. Toss peppers and garlic cloves into 1 cup of the blended oil. Roast at 450 degrees on high fan until you begin to see char, stirring every 5 minutes. This should take about 20 minutes. You are looking for nice caramelization. Add tomatoes, piquillo, both pimenton dulce and picante, ancho in and stir well. Roast another 5 to 8 minutes. Add your nuts on top and spread evenly. Roast another 5 minutes. Place everything into a food processor and emulsify in blended oil. If you are looking for a smoother texture, blend in Vitamix after food processor. Add salt, pepper and vin to taste.


Assemble the dish 

Place stuffed piquillos in a pan and cover 1/4 the way up with the reserved braising liquid. Reheat in a 400-degree oven until warm on the inside. Spread romesco on the base of the plate.

Remove the piquillos from the oven and plate over the romesco. Ladle a few spoonfuls of the hot liquid over the piquillos. Finish the plate with some nice olive oil, fresh greens and sea salt.


Double Zero’s Cauliflower Antipasti 

by Executive Chef Zachary Lanier 

“Our cauliflower has been a fan favorite for years! Bagna cauda is a very traditional sauce from Italy used for dipping and coating many vegetables. The spiced yogurt adds the creamy, soothing feeling to counter the flavorful bagna cauda. Cauliflower works as the perfect vessel to carry these two delicious sauces and bring together a fan favorite dish.”


  • How would you describe the recipe in 3 words? Savory, balanced and craveable.
  • Why did you choose this recipe to share? Guests ask for and request how to make this recipe the most. 
  • When do you like to make this recipe and how often do you make it? This is an every other day recipe for Double Zero. It’s ordered a lot! 


Bagna Cauda

1 small can anchovies

 ¼ pound butter

1 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic

2 teaspoon red wine vinegar

Pinch of chili flakes


Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and blend. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Spiced Yogurt

2 cups plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon toasted, ground fennel

1 teaspoon toasted, ground coriander seed

1 bunch of parsley

1 bunch of basil leaves

Blend all ingredients until smooth.


Cauliflower (one head cut into bite-sized pieces)

In a large pot, place about 3 inches of oil (vegetable or canola) over high heat. Bring to 350 degrees. Fry cauliflower until light brown on all sides. Or, in a countertop deep fryer, bring oil to 350 and fry until light brown on all sides.


Assemble the dish

Once cauliflower is removed from heat, toss in Bagna Cauda until coated. Place spiced yogurt on the bottom of the serving dish or keep on the side for dipping.

Brick Store Pub’s Strip Steak Sandwich 

by Chef Eric Ottensmeyer

“An unexpectedly delicious win… This dish began as an entree that became a sandwich and a side dish!  If I’ve learned anything about what our guests crave at Brick Store Pub, it always comes back to our sandwiches. In the case of the Strip Steak, this is a cut that does not typically find itself front and center in the sandwich realm. However, we found a cut and technique that fit our menu perfectly. 

The steak marinade is based on the flavors of the classic Bistecca Fiorentina, heavy with olive oil, rosemary and garlic.  I was introduced to this technique during my time at Rathbun’s Restaurant, where a similar marinade made the flat iron steak an instant classic. 

Beyond the steak itself, the hero roll from Alon’s bakery is not to be counted out as a star of the dish. We first used these beautiful bread rolls for pressed style sandwiches, but found them absolutely magical when served fresh or lightly toasted. Ashland Farms pea tendrils, truffled chevre and our own vinegar peppers bring it all together!”


Marinated steak

7 ounce portion of steak (We suggest a striploin.) 

For the marinade, combine one part garlic and one part rosemary immersed in EEVO, then processed into a runny paste. (We use Vitamix.) 

Marinate steak for 3-6 hours. Cook to medium temperature. 


Horsey ’yo (2 quarts

5 cups mayo (We use Duke’s.)

1.5 cups prepared horseradish 

1 teaspoon sugar 

Salt to taste

Blend and season to taste. 


Truffled Goat Cheese (1½ quarts)

24 ounces fresh goat cheese

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

8 ounces sour cream

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons truffle preserves

1 tablespoon dried dill 

In a food processor, process the first 3 ingredients until smooth. Add in remaining ingredients and process until combined. 


Vinegar Peppers (2 quarts)

8 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded & julienned

1 cup garlic cloves, thinly sliced

3 cups white wine vinegar

3 cups water

Combine peppers and garlic in a 2-quart container. Bring vinegar and water to a boil together.

Pour hot brine over peppers and garlic. Properly cool, label and date.


Assemble the dish

Assemble the sandwich on a French baguette — we love Alon’s “hero” roll, which is essentially a baguette. Spread the truffled goat cheese on one side of the bread and horsey yo’ on the other side. Top with vinegar peppers, and enjoy!

Recent Posts