Take your dinner table to the next level with these alternative and unique holiday recipes for the fall and winter seasons.

Jazz in the Gardens 2024
Jazz in the Gardens 2024

Picadillo Alvarez | Cuba

An elevated homestyle dish of ground beef and peppers, this dinner recipe can be enjoyed alone or used to fill empanadas for a unique holiday side dish.

Unique Holiday Recipes for Fall and Winter - Picadillo Alvarez

What you need

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • ⅓ cup Manzanilla olives
  • ¼ cup capers, drained
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 16 ounces tomato sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What to do

  1. Cook ground beef in a medium skillet until browned, stirring to break up. Drain the fat and oil and set aside for later.
  2. In a different skillet on medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and cook the onion until soft, around 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic, cooking until fragrant.
  3. Add the bell pepper and a little salt and pepper. Then add in the diced potatoes, cooking for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the ground beef that was previously set aside and the white wine. Reduce the liquid, then add raisins and tomato sauce.
  5. Cook for 5 more minutes then mix in the Manzanilla olives and capers.
  6. Stir occasionally until the potatoes are tender. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Enjoy the picadillo alone or serve with rice and plantains.

Caribbean Coconut Mussel Curry | Caribbean / Indian Fusion

This Caribbean Indian take on a classic curry is a creamy seafood favorite. Using this alternative dish for one of your unique holiday recipes will surly be a hit!

Unique Holiday Recipes for Fall and Winter - Coconut Mussel Curry

What you need

  • 2 pounds mussels
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • Half a large tomato, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 scallions, diced
  • 1 tablespoon culantro, chopped
  • Half a Scotch bonnet pepper, seeds removed
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced, save some rind for zesting
  • 12 ounces of white wine

What to do

  1. Wash fresh mussels or thaw frozen mussels and retain the juice.
  2. Chop tomato, onion, garlic, ginger, garlic, scallions and Scotch bonnet peppers. 
  3. Heat oil on medium heat. Add in the onion, garlic and ginger and sauté for about 4 minutes. Lower the heat and toast the curry powder in the pan, cooking for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the diced scallions and a tablespoon of parsley. Turn the heat back up and stir in the mussels. Add in the diced tomatoes, culantro and Scotch bonnet peppers. Stir. Add the salt and pepper and let it simmer for 3 minutes.
  5. Pour in the coconut milk, stir thoroughly and simmer for 2 minutes.
  6. Pour in the white wine and bring the curry to a boil. Cook until the mussels open.
  7. Add in the lemon juice and grate the rind over the curry.
  8. Garnish with parsley and enjoy!

Duckunoo | Jamaica

Brought to the Caribbean by enslaved West Africans, these banana-leaf-wrapped, steamed pudding delicacies, also known as “blue drawers,” are a seasonal favorite for snacking or dessert. This holiday recipe adapted from food blogger Michelle Blackwood is also vegan and gluten-free.

Unique Holiday Recipes for Fall and Winter - Duckunoo

What you need

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ cups maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 green bananas, peeled and cubed
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup coconut shavings
  • Banana leaves
  • Twine for tying

What to do

  1. Combine the cornmeal, flour, maple syrup, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl then set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, add the coconut milk, green banana, sweet potato and vanilla, using an electric mixer to blend the ingredients together. The mixture should be a coarse batter consistency.
  3. Fold in the dry mixture gradually, stirring after each addition, until combined. Then fold in the coconut shavings.
  4. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Start to prepare the banana leaves by deveining. Cut the leaf into rectangular pieces and submerge in the boiling water until wilted. Remove them from the water and set aside to dry and cool slightly.
  5. Add a spoonful of the mixture onto the center of each rectangular piece of banana leaf. Bring in the edges and fold like an envelope to make a tight package. Tie with twine to secure.
  6. Using the same large pot of boiling water as before, add the packages into the water. Reduce to a simmer and leave to cook for 50 to 60 minutes.
  7. Remove each package from the water and set aside to cool. Remove the twine, serve and enjoy!

Ponche Krema De Pistacho | Curaçao

Unique Holiday Recipes for Fall and Winter - Ponche Krema de Pistacho

A traditional Curaçaoan Christmas drink, reminiscent of the Puerto Rican coquito, Ponche Krema De Pistacho infuses pistachios into sweetened condensed milk and local rum for a delicious, creamy holiday treat.

What you need

  • ¼ cup water 
  • 1 cup raw shelled pistachios
  • 2 cans (13.5 ounces) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 ¾ cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup white rum
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Ground cinnamon for garnish

What to do

  1. Start by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the pistachios and remove the pot from heat. Let them sit in the water for 1 or 2 minutes then drain. 
  2. Strain the pistachios onto a clean towel and rub gently until all of the brown skin is peeled off.
  3. In a blender, add pistachios and blend for 2 minutes until a paste begins to form. Add ¼ cup of water and blend until you have a smooth paste.
  4. Combine the coconut milk, sweetened condensed milk, rum, almond extract and salt into a blender with the paste and blend until it’s a creamy mixture.
  5. Strain the mixture into an airtight container and chill for an hour before serving. Garnish with ground cinnamon and enjoy this delicious holiday favorite!


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