Planning Your Main Course
Gather your friends and family for a spectacular holiday meal with exquisite main features from The Fresh Market. From turkey and ham to beef tenderloin and lamb, we have all the premium ingredients you need to plate an impressive entrée (or three).
If you need some tips, tricks or tried-and-true recipes, we’ve got those, too—including a comprehensive guide to serving a gorgeous standing rib roast. Whatever you choose to dish out for your holiday dinner or a festive meal with friends, we’re here to help you make it a holiday feast to remember!
Our juicy, tender, easy-to-cook beef tenderloin is a delicious way to impress a hungry crowd without spending hours in the kitchen. Simplify the process even more by letting our expert butchers trim and tie your whole tenderloin. They’re also happy to cut it into Filet Mignon steaks of your desired thickness. Choose from Premium Choice (sourced from the top 10% of all beef in the U.S.) and USDA Prime Beef (the gold standard, sourced from the top 2%).
Trim & Tie
It’s important to trim and tie your beef tenderloin, whether you do it yourself or let our butchers do it for you. Trimming gets rid of excess fat, connective tissue and other bits that, if not removed, can result in a chewy, less tender cut of beef. Tying ensures uniform size and even cooking and can be done at home with butcher twine, but requires some time and experience (and you don’t want to ruin this premium cut!). We recommend asking our butchers for help.
If you prefer to trim-and-tie-it-yourself, follow these guidelines:
- Using a sharp, thin-bladed knife, trim away any fat, including the large lump at the wide end of your tenderloin, and discard. Pull and cut away long, thin “chain” muscle that runs length of tenderloin. Trim away fat from chain and reserve meat for another use. Following natural muscle separation, cut away large clod of meat at the wide end and reserve for another use.
- At one end of tenderloin, make an incision under the silver sinew. Slip knife under sinew and pull and trim it away. Work lengthwise down tenderloin until it is completely free of sinew and fat. The trimmings will yield extra meat for a sauté or kebabs.
- To tie home-trimmed tenderloin: Fold thin ends of tenderloin underneath bulk of meat so the tenderloin is same thickness throughout its length, and tie in place with kitchen twine. Tie the entire tenderloin crosswise at 2- to 3-inch intervals.
How to Serve
We recommend serving your tenderloin with Rothschild Horseradish Sauce. It’s a holiday staple, known for its outstanding quality and taste. If you’d rather make your own, try our simple recipe. Crafting horseradish sauce at home allows you to control the amount of heat, depending on how much spice you like.
Or try roasting your garlic, then combine it with butter to slather on bread, stir into mashed potatoes or top your tenderloin. Check out our step-by-step guide here.
Pair with Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon >> Aromas of black currants, ripe cherries and blackberries mingle with notes of mocha and spice. On the palate, this wine is big and bold, perfect with beef tenderloin.
Pork Crown Roast
Wow your guests with a stunning crown roast fit for royalty! Our pork crown roast is 12-20 lb and can serve up to 20 people, so it’s perfect for large gatherings.
We’ll do all the prep work for you by carefully assembling tender pork loin rib racks to form a regal crown shape.
HOW TO SERVE Visually, this quintessential holiday main is a showstopper, conjuring images of ornate medieval feasts. It never fails to impress, especially when filled with a sweet and savory apple stuffing.
We love to bake pork crown roast alongside veggies like carrots and Brussels sprouts. You can also serve this standout dish with roasted fruit, like pears, apples or grapes. Whatever you do, just make sure you have a reliable meat thermometer, as crown roasts vary in size and every oven is different.
Rack of Lamb
Create a truly memorable meal with our succulent Rack of Lamb. This product is sourced from free-range lambs that were raised without antibiotics or added hormones and were fed a 100% vegetable diet. If you prefer your lamb seasoned, our signature blend includes a flavorful mix of black pepper, spices, red and green sweet peppers, minced garlic and kosher salt.
How to Serve
If you’re serving lamb as the only main course, we suggest 2-3 bones per guest. Our rack of lamb is delicious baked or even grilled and is best enjoyed medium rare. Serve with a pungent accompaniment such as a dollop of mint jelly or a drizzle of this tangy, herbaceous sauce.
Looking for something a little non-traditional? Try our recipe for Rack of Lamb with Pistachio Crust and Pomegranate Sauce. Fresh rosemary, panko bread crumbs and crunchy pistachios create an irresistible, crusty exterior. Cook your lamb medium rare and top with a sweet, slightly sticky pomegranate reduction that balances the distinctively earthy flavor of lamb. Pro Tip: If you love lamb but would like to cut back on its potential gaminess, simply remove the excess fat.
You can’t go wrong with turkey for the holidays, especially when you get it from The Fresh Market. Raised in Pennsylvania's Amish country, our beautiful birds are 100% antibiotic-free and fed a vegetarian diet free of animal by-products. They’re fresh, never frozen, and unmatched in taste and tenderness. Don’t underestimate how much meat to buy (you’ll be thankful for those leftovers!). Allow at least 1 pound of uncooked turkey per person.
Here are some beginner-friendly tips for how to brine your bird so that it’s juicy and full of flavor. We’re also serving up some recipes and a carving guide, plus wine pairings to enhance your main course.
Seasoning from the inside out is the best way to ensure a juicy, flavorful bird. Here are some of our favorite products that guarantee a perfectly cooked, perfectly delicious turkey every time.
1KL Keller Herb Bundles
These versatile, aromatic herb bundles from northern Spain add beautiful flavor to roasting turkey. Thyme, oregano and savory are wrapped in a bay leaf, hand-tied and ready to tuck inside your fresh bird.
Simple, convenient and innovative, these flavor-infused butters make great sauté-starters and finishing flavors. Medlee Butters are AA, rBST-free and come in beautiful medallions.
3The Fresh Market Turkey Brine
For moist, flavorful meat, always brine your bird! Crafted with hints of rosemary, thyme, vanilla and peppercorns, this fragrant combination simplifies the brining process and creates a succulent turkey.
4Fire and Flavor Brining Bags
Brining traps moisture and flavor inside the turkey. These premium, BPA-free bags hold up to a 25-lb bird and are easy to use.
If you’ve volunteered to cook the turkey this year, be sure to brine your bird. Brine is a basic salt-and-water solution that helps your turkey retain more moisture and flavor throughout the cooking process. Giving your bird a long, luxurious brine bath is a simple way to guard against dry meat. All it takes is a little planning ahead, and you’ll have your best turkey yet. Here are some of our essential brining tips:
- Be sure to choose a container that’s large enough to hold the bird and the brine. It also needs to be able to fit in your refrigerator or a large cooler.
- Plan to brine your turkey for at least 24 hours (remember, we’re going for maximum juiciness).
- To minimize clean-up, line a large 3-5 gallon container with an oven roasting bag. Add your turkey and cooled brine, then place the container in a fridge or cooler with ice.
- Tack an additional 30 minutes onto the estimated roasting time, just to be safe. There are many variables that come into play, from the temperature of the turkey, to an inaccurate oven, to frequent opening of the oven door (which drops the temperature) and even the temperature of the stuffing.
- Let the turkey rest. A rest period before carving (for the turkey, not the cook) is one of the secrets to a moist, juicy bird. The hot juices in the turkey must cool and relax back into the meat—carving it too soon could release them, resulting in a dried-out texture.
- The larger the bird, the longer it can stand at room temperature without cooling off. Allow 30 minutes for an average-sized bird of about 15 lbs. and up to 1 hour for large birds around 20 lbs. With the turkey on the platter, the oven is now free for reheating sides.
Tips for Carving Whole Turkey
The ritual of carving the holiday turkey is a time-honored tradition. But sometimes it can be a challenge. (After all, it could have been a year since your last carving session!) We recommend carving in the privacy of your own kitchen rather than at the table. That way, you can remove the meat before slicing it up, allow guests to enjoy more of the coveted crispy skin, and have the platter presentation-ready before you bring it out. Keep reading for more turkey carving tips.
- GIVE YOURSELF THE GIFT OF A SHARP CARVING SET: You’ll have the best results with a carving set containing a long, thin-bladed carving knife (to make easy work of the slicing) and a two-pronged meat fork (to hold the bird steady and help with the actual serving). Be sure the knife is good and sharp—you may even want to plan ahead and have it professionally sharpened.
- LET IT REST: After roasting, let the turkey rest on the serving platter for 30 to 45 minutes. The bird will not get cold during the rest period. However, the hot juices (which have been moving around inside the bird) will settle and soak back into the meat. Remember: don’t carve it too soon! You’ll want to retain as much juice as possible.
- CARVE IN PRIVACY: Don’t feel that you have to carve the turkey at the table. Especially for larger groups, it’s best to present the whole bird at the table (garnished with fresh herbs, fruits or veggies, if you like) and let everyone admire your masterpiece. Then, duck into the kitchen and carve in privacy. In the meantime, you can ask the guests to start passing around the sides.
- CARVE IT ALL: We find it much easier to carve up the entire bird instead of serving the old-fashioned way, one guest at a time. This makes it possible to separate the white and dark meat before serving (and allows for a better presentation). Cut the turkey into its major sections on the platter, and then do the actual carving on a wooden or plastic board, preferably with a well to contain the juices.
- REMOVE THE STUFFING: If you’ve stuffed the turkey, scoop the stuffing into a serving bowl before carving. Cover the dish with its lid or aluminum foil to keep it warm.
- A JUICY TIDBIT: Here a caterer’s trick to guarantee hot, steaming servings of carved meat: Pour any carving juices from the board over the sliced meat. Then, ladle about half a cup of piping-hot turkey or chicken broth over the carved meat on the platter. Your turkey is now beautifully carved, steaming, juicy and ready to serve!
Ham for the Holidays
We’re not just talking turkey. Ham is another holiday staple that’s a delicious alternative or accompaniment (ideally, we’d serve both—especially for a larger gathering). Our Spiral-Sliced Honey Ham is double-glazed with honey and brown sugar, then smoked over hickory hardwood for sweet and savory flavor. Not only is it a spotlight-worthy staple, it’s also delicious in leftover sandwiches. (Have you tried a slice on our Diamond Rolls with a little yellow mustard? Leftovers will never be the same.) Scroll for tips on how to heat, carve and serve our irresistible ham.
HOW TO HEAT
Lay the ham flat side down on foil-lined baking sheet. Simply spread the included glaze evenly over the meat, wrap with foil and heat at 325° for 10-12 minutes per pound.
- Place the ham flat-side down on a cutting board.
- Holding the shank bone, cut down the length of the bone to release slices.
- Repeat on all sides until the meat is removed from the bone.
- Serve hot or cold with a dollop of spicy mustard or horseradish. Craving something classic? Try studding the meat with juicy pineapple rings.
- Garnish the platter with figs, pineapple slices or halved pomegranates for a striking presentation that requires minimal effort.
- Include warm Diamond Rolls for mouthwatering ham sandwiches.
Why We Love Ham
- It’s an impressive entrée that’s easy to prepare and beautiful to garnish.
- Our ham is fully cooked, so all you have to do is heat and serve!
- You can feed a crowd and spiral slices makes for easy, no-fuss carving.
- The meat can be served cold or at room temperature, so there’s less of a battle over precious oven space.
- Our honey brown sugar glaze (included with the ham for ease) offers the perfect balance of salty and sweet.
- Ham pairs well with all seasonal side dishes.
1White Bean and Ham Soup
Craving something different than a ham sandwich? (We love them, too, but sometimes you need to freshen up your menu). Our White Bean and Ham Soup is the perfect way to make use of your leftovers. It’s easy to make, full of savory aromatics and is oh-so comforting.
If you really want to wow your guests—or are simply feeling indecisive—our turducken is a meat-lover’s dream. This holiday feast consists of a boneless duck breast stuffed inside a boneless chicken breast stuffed inside a boneless turkey breast (kind of like a handmade nesting doll you can eat). We’ve tucked our favorite garlic and herb dressing and delicious Andouille sausage throughout for even more flavor. It’s everything a hungry meat-lover could want, all wrapped up in one beautiful presentation. Not sure how to prepare it? Try our step-by-step recipe for Turducken with Bourbon Gravy. You won’t be disappointed.
- Be flexible with the roasting time. Just like roasting a turkey, there are many variables at play that can affect roasting time.
- Test the meat with a thermometer in more than one spot to determine the correct temperature. Be sure the sensor (sometimes a notch on the thermometer probe) is truly in the center of the turducken.
- Basting will only help to brown the turducken exterior and won’t affect juiciness, so move quickly when basting to keep the oven temperature constant.
- A very sharp, thin carving knife and a meat fork will help the carving go smoothly. An electric carving knife is also an excellent aide for slicing up your meaty masterpiece.
Take your main course to the next level with our delicious recipes for Turducken, Roasted Turkey Breast and Rack of Lamb.