Showstopping Christmas Main Dishes

Impress Christmas guests with our most-elegant and festive main dishes (from bird to beast) for serving at your holiday feast.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Greg Gayne ©2015, Cooking Channel, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Debi Mazar ©2012, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Stephen Murello

Photo By: Evan Sung for The New York Times ©Evan Sung

Dry-Aged Standing Rib Roast with Sage Jus

To turn out a picture-perfect version of Alton's roast, allow it to dry upright for three days on a rack, which is essential for drainage. Roasting the meat inside a terra-cotta planter set over a pizza stone promotes even heating, while a layer of salt on the outside ensures that a robust crust will form.

Get the Recipe: Dry-Aged Standing Rib Roast with Sage Jus

Holiday Hens with Fig Glaze and Cornbread Stuffing

Each guest can enjoy his or her own bird when you serve these perfectly portioned Cornish game hens. Remember to season the cavities before adding the sausage and cornbread stuffing, and dot the top of each bird with butter for evenly browned skin. A honey-sweetened balsamic glaze finishes the dish nicely.

Get the Recipe: Holiday Hens with Fig Glaze and Cornbread Stuffing

Roasted Whole Mackerel

Roasted at a high heat, this impressive dish is surprisingly simple and quick-cooking. The fish is stuffed with lemon and fennel fronds and should sizzle when placed on a preheated sheet pan in the oven. When the fish is fully cooked, the eyes will turn white and the area near the head will feel firm.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Whole Mackerel

Whole Duck with Green Peppercorn Glaze

The trick to achieving Alex's crackly, crisp duck skin is to let the meat sit overnight after brining; this will allow the skin to dry out. Baste the duck with pan drippings to keep the meat moist during roasting, and finish with a Marsala glaze to achieve this dark, flavorful exterior.

Get the Recipe: Whole Duck with Green Peppercorn Glaze

Herb-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Meet one of the easiest Christmas dinners of your life. Lean and tender beef tenderloin gets a rubdown with herbaceous garlic paste and a quick sear in a hot pan before roasting for only 35 to 40 minutes. Horseradish cream sauce adds a nice spicy finish tableside.

Get the Recipe: Herb-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Roasted Suckling Pig with Mushroom Stew

Chuck prepares this spectacular suckling pig by scoring and rubbing the skin with a fresh garlic-herb paste. Frequent basting with pan drippings results in golden-brown skin –– perfect for pairing with sauteed rapini and a rich mixed-mushroom stew.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Suckling Pig with Mushroom Stew

Cioppino

This tomato-based Italian stew brims with the best seafood, like clams, mussels and shrimp. Use a firm-fleshed fish like halibut or salmon, and add large chunks to the pot along with the shrimp, which will take less time to cook than the clams and mussels.

Get the Recipe: Cioppino

Roast Goose and Stuffing

An old-fashioned Christmas staple, this festive goose is updated with a rich pate stuffing and prune gravy made from Earl Grey tea-infused fruit. For the crispiest skin, the recipe suggests pouring boiling water over the goose and pricking the dried skin with a fork. Flipping and basting the goose ensures a moist, juicy bird.

Get the Recipe: Roast Goose and Stuffing

Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Roast

Giada rubs boneless pork loin with a fragrant herb mixture and then wraps it in thin slices of pancetta to build this doubly flavorful roast. While the meat rests, she bolsters the rich pan drippings with chicken broth and white wine for pouring over thickly carved slices of pork. 

Get the Recipe: Pancetta-Wrapped Pork Roast

Zuppa e Councesze

Seasonal butternut squash and fresh mussels lend meaty texture to this Italian specialty. Steaming the mussels in a white wine and garlic bath infuses them with deep flavor, and mashing half of the squash with a fork gives the finished soup an extra-creamy consistency.

Get the Recipe: Zuppa e Councesze: Soup with Mussels

Roasted Pheasant

Pheasant is a tricky bird — it can be delicate and gamey at the same time. Pancetta (or, if you prefer, bacon) works well to balance the flavor. In other words, don't skip the sage stuffing in this recipe, as it features pork three ways.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Pheasant (Pheasant Alla Fiorentina)

Rib Roast with Mushroom Crust

To create the savory crust on this prime rib, Chuck grinds dried mushrooms into a powder and presses it into the meat before roasting. He mimics that earthy thread in the sauce, which is a mix of oyster and shiitake mushrooms blended with shallots and veal stock. 

Get the Recipe: Rib Roast with Mushroom Crust

Stuffed Guinea Hen

Seasoned guinea hens are stuffed with a mixture of figs, cognac and thyme, then wrapped in prosciutto and baked until crisp and juicy in this elegant holiday-ready dish. For evenly layered slices, wrap the cylinder tightly in foil for the majority of the baking time. 

Get the Recipe: Stuffed Guinea Hen

Toasted Spiced Ham Drizzled in Honey

A spice rub of toasted fennel and coriander seeds, sweet chili powder and cinnamon creates a dark crust on this boneless country ham. Basting the ham with honey every 15 minutes seals in moisture and adds subtle sweetness.

Get the Recipe: Toasted Spiced Ham Drizzled in Honey

Jamie's Christmas Turkey

Select a free-range or organic bird for this foolproof turkey recipe and remove it from the fridge an hour before roasting to bring it to room temperature. Clementine segments and a sage and pork stuffing flavor the meat from the inside out, while a bed of roasted vegetables helps to create delicious pan juices.

Get the Recipe: Jamie's Christmas Turkey

Rack of Lamb with Pimenton

Spanish pimenton, or smoked paprika, adds exotic flair to the dense crust that forms on this lamb rack. Rough crumbs of rye bread are mixed with garlic and pimenton, then spread over the meat, which roasts quickly in just 20 to 25 minutes at high heat.

Get the Recipe: Rack of Lamb with Pimenton, Garlic and Olive Oil

Next Up

Christmas for Chocoholics: Triple Chocolate Holiday Trifle

Get the recipe for a stunning English trifle filled with layers of sherry-soaked pound cake, creamy egg custard, raspberry preserves and vanilla bean whipped cream.

Showstopping Holiday Desserts

Get the best holiday dessert recipes and tips from Sandra Lee, Nadia G. and the chefs at Cooking Channel.