This lavish menu from San Antonio chef Bruce Auden gives a traditional holiday meal a delicious Southwestern spin.

When we asked chef Bruce Auden of San Antonio’s Biga on the Banks to create a festive holiday feast, he served up a menu with some delicious twists on tradition.

“By now I’ve celebrated almost as many Christmases in San Antonio as in England,” says chef Bruce Auden, who was born in London but immigrated to the United States when he was seventeen and to the Alamo City in 1986. Now one of San Antonio’s culinary stars, the 45-year-old Auden has gained a reputation for serving dishes that are at once sophisticated and robust at Biga on the Banks, his restaurant on the San Antonio River. This year we asked him to create the fifth in the series of original Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts that began in this magazine in 1991. “For about five minutes, I thought of doing something nostalgic and English,” he says, “but it quickly became obvious that I should stick with full-flavored, spicy dishes”—like the ones he has made famous at Biga. Of the seven recipes he cooked up for this holiday meal, Auden says his favorite is the Gulf Coast oyster stew: “I added chorizo to give it a salty tang, and the cream smooths it out.” The brussels sprouts are a bit reminiscent of his English childhood, he admits, but insists that “they are not bland.” He updated ordinary sweet potatoes by combining them with Yukon Gold potatoes and a dash of ginger juice. The Cornish hens, jazzed up with a pungent guajillo chile sauce, hark back to his early years in Texas as one of the creators of Southwestern cuisine. And the dessert—winey apple-cranberry tarts in crisp filo-pastry shells—evokes a thoroughly modern strudel. Surveying the bountiful spread, Auden says, “This is a meal that I would like someone to cook for me.”


Gulf Coast Oyster-And-Chorizo Stew Recipe
Goat Cheese Empanadas With Tomato Salsa Recipe
Fresh-Fruit-and-Tortilla Slaw Recipe
Cornish Hens With Smoky Guajillo Salsa Recipe
Sweet-and-Sour Brussels Sprouts Recipe
Gingered Potato Casserole Recipe
Apple-Cranberry Filo Tarts Recipe