We’ve always been curious to know what chefs cook for the holidays. Do they keep it simple or challenge themselves? Do they honor tradition with Granny’s turkey and dressing or go for the cutting-edge stuff to wow the assembled moms, uncles, friends, and peculiar cousins? Since 1991 this magazine has published an occasional series of Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts with recipes from a different distinguished chef each time. This year we expanded our horizons, asking chefs from five of Texas’ major cities to contribute signature dishes to a collaborative holiday banquet. The results, in our humble opinion, are spectacular.

Hors d’oeuvres are passed by Tim Love, the owner-chef of Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, in Fort Worth, who has created tiny masa tarts filled with a savory roasted-garlic custard. John Maxwell, of Austin—formerly with Zoot and now the executive chef of a soon-to-open boutique hotel called the Mansion at Judges’ Hill—shares his recipe for Boston lettuce salad with grilled Bosc pears in a luscious lemon-cream dressing. The main course comes from Hugo Ortega, the executive chef and a co-owner of Hugo’s, in Houston, whose wonderful and easy Muscovy duck with Zinfandel-cranberry sauce will dispel any doubts you might have about the difficulty of cooking that maligned bird. Sharon Hage, the chef-owner of Dallas’ York Street, contributes her imaginative vegetable dish of wine-braised salsify and radishes, a lovely study in red and white. And for dessert, Andrew Weissman, the owner and chef of San Antonio’s Le Rêve, has dreamed up an irresistible strudel of winy winter fruits.

We think their grannies would be impressed. So will yours.

Texas Monthly’s 2002 Holiday Feast

Masa Tart Hors d’Oeuvres Recipe
Boston Lettuce With Grilled Bosc Pears and Lemon-Cream Dressing Recipe
Roasted Muscovy Duck With Wild-Rice Patties and Zinfandel-Cranberry Sauce Recipe
Winter-Fruit Strudel Recipe
Salsify and Radishes Braised in White Wine Recipe