Christmas Main Dish Recipes

The holidays are always a busy time. Luckily, we’ve got dozens of special recipes that are so surprisingly simple that they’ll make Christmas dinner one less thing you have to worry about. For an elegant and traditional Christmas main dish, try our roasted tarragon lamb, which lets the oven do most of the work, so you can concentrate on the rest of the meal (or enjoy a glass of eggnog). It’s crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside after just 30 minutes of roasting—and the green tarragon crust looks beautiful when it’s carved. Bacon wrapped pork loin with cherries is another crowd-pleaser that’s nearly impossible to dry out in the oven, thanks to the juice from the cherries and the bacon. Want something a little lighter? Our archives are packed with possibilities that are as fresh as they are festive. Here’s to having the most delicious holiday yet.

Roast Beef With Slow-Cooked Tomatoes and Garlic

You might not believe us when we tell you, but you're just 4 ingredients away from a stunning centerpiece roast. We combined an inexpensive piece of beef, tomatoes, garlic, and thyme, stuck it in the oven and poured ourselves a glass of wine. It's recipes like this one—with a decent amount of inactive time—that we love to employ during the busy holiday season. Serve this will a side of smashed potatoes or mashed celery root and a bottle of cabernet.

Smoky Fish Chowder

A mix of seafood, spicy sausage, and vegetables give this fish chowder a rich, coastal flavor that suggests the soup’s been simmering on the stove for hours. In reality? This dinner’s on the table in 30 minutes. You’ll brown the chorizo, then add the leeks, potatoes, canned tomatoes, a few cups of water, and salt and pepper. After that base boils a bit, you’ll add two pounds of white fish (chopped into two-inch pieces) and simmer until the fish is cooked through. Garnish each bowl with chopped fresh parsley, and dig in. Serve alongside crusty bread to soak up that broth.

Balsamic-Glazed Pork With Lentils

This balsamic pork tenderloin supper includes everything you need for a filling, healthy meal. A cold green lentil salad on the side, with chopped apples, celery, and parsley offers a bit of freshness and crunch. But the meat steals the show: After browning the tenderloin in an ovenproof skillet, you’ll move the cu to a 400-degree oven, where it roasts for another 10 minutes or so. During that time, baste the pork with a glaze of balsamic vinegar and brown sugar. The exterior crisps up nicely, locking in all the tenderloin’s moisture. And, everything’s ready in just 40 minutes, total.

Brown Sugar and Black Pepper Glazed Ham

We took the idea behind a standard brown sugar ham glaze and amped it up a notch, with a bit of dry mustard and black pepper. The result? Not too sweet, not too spicy, and bursting with flavor. After brushing this glaze over your ham about 30 minutes before it’s completely cooked (and repeating the glazing process with the pan juices during the remaining cooking time), you’ll make a tender, juicy ham that’ll satisfy lovers of your tradition but also surprise and delight guests with a more sophisticated palate. All told, this ham takes just under three hours to bake, so you have plenty of time to prepare sides, as well.

Striped Bass With Shallot Vinaigrette

This whole-meal striped bass recipe checks off all the nutritional boxes. Coming in at just 307 calories, the preparation offers up 34 grams of protein and a side of spinach, all ready in just half an hour. If you tend to cook salmon or shrimp at home, widen the net (har, har) a little with striped bass, a sustainable seafood choice available wild and farmed. Halibut’s a great substitution, too, if you can’t find bass at your local market. For this all-in-one supper, you’ll sauté shallots and make a quick vinaigrette before cooking the striped bass and spinach and plating it altogether.

Roasted Leg of Lamb With Carrots and Honey-Mint Sauce

No other main (be it a whole turkey, roast chicken, even prime rib) feels quite as fancy and celebratory as a roasted leg of lamb. This recipe delivers wonderfully tender and juicy slices of lamb, flavored with lemon, garlic, fresh mint and parsley, scallions, and honey. While it might seem a bit fussy, roasting a whole leg is actually pretty simple, not to mention hard to screw up: Our foolproof method involves roasting the lamb and the carrots in a 400-degree oven, then serving it alongside a zesty, herbal sauce. And save this recipe for your next Passover or Easter dinner.

Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin With Cherries

Our Bacon-Wrapped Pork Loin is fancy enough for a weekend dinner party but (surprisingly) easy enough for a weeknight supper. You’ll spend 15 minutes prepping the pork loin before roasting it in the oven for nearly an hour. Aside from occasionally glazing the bacon-wrapped meat with sweet baste of currant jelly and red wine vinegar, you’re work is almost entirely done. The recipe yields perfectly cooked, moist pork, wrapped in crispy bacon with a sweet-and-salty layer of dried cherries, parsley, and mustard in between. Serve it with a side of mashed potatoes for some serious comfort food; or put it next to a green salad for a lighter meal.

Rosemary, Lemon, and Garlic Leg of Lamb

It’s the only recipe for leg of lamb you’ll ever need. Our version of this celebratory roast, often prepared for Easter feast menus, roasts in the oven in less than two hours, and requires little, compared to other time-intensive recipes, in the way of hands-on work. Before putting the cut of meat in the oven, you’ll cut small slits in it with a paring knife and place slices of garlic in this slits. That move, along with placing lemon slices and rosemary between the meat and your roasting pan, imbue the perfectly cooked leg of lamb with a deep, earthy flavor.

Peppered Roast Beef With Horseradish Sauce

The zesty horseradish sauce recipe that accompanies this roast beef provides the ideal partner for the flavorful, marbled meat. And while the sauce might evoke expensive steakhouse dinners, it’s actually ridiculously simple to make (shh!). Simply stir together sour cream, plus prepared horseradish, and salt and pepper. Try the spicy, creamy sauce alongside our buttered roast beef—which cooks up in the oven, with a crust of crushed peppercorns, in roughly an hour and a half—or grilled pork or steak. Add a baked potato or a cooked green on the side, and you’ll have a comfort food spread that’s sure to satisfy.

Roast Chicken and Vegetables

There might not be a simpler, tastier, or more economical way to prepare chicken than to roast the bird whole. Here, we devised an easy recipe that involves roasting new potatoes and carrots in the same pan. Fresh lemon, butter, and a handful of thyme sprigs lend moisture and add flavor. After a little over an hour in a 425-degree oven, and another 10 minutes to let your cooked chicken rest, this all-in-one family-friendly meal is ready to serve. When it comes to an easy Sunday supper, with meat for those who love either white or dark meat, it doesn’t get better than this.