Holiday Delicacy Show Stoppers

Something Special for your Holiday Dinner

Holiday Meal from Chef Michelle (picture)What could beat Cornish Game Hen on a bed of Saffron Butternut squash risotto? Maple bacon crème brûlée! The Sugar Land Home & Garden Show is proud to share Chef Michelle’s favorite festive dishes just in time to start the holiday season.
Chef Michelle is a culinary artist and the only in-house Ferguson chef in the nation. All of her dishes are created and prepared on the latest appliances from Ferguson’s Enterprises. Make sure to visit the Ferguson Stage and sample some of her fabulous dishes at The Sugar Land Home and Garden Show!
Chef Michelle’s love for the culinary arts is evident in these wonderfully comforting creations.

Roasted Cornish Game Hen


  • 6 Rock Cornish game hens
  • 4 tbsp kosher salt (2 tsp per bird)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 2 shallots, peeled and minced finely
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 4 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 lemons, 1 juiced, the remaining cut in half and set aside
  • 3 tbsp olive oil


Preheat oven to 400°F.
Remove birds from refrigerator and pat dry inside and out. Place a lemon half in the cavity of each bird. Place them breast-side up in a baking pan with low sides. In a food processor combine the butter, shallots, rosemary, thyme, fresh sage, pepper, and a little of the lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired.

Carefully separate the skin from the breast. Spread about 2 tbsp of herb butter between the skin and breast of each bird.* Smooth skin to cover meat. Using your clean hands, rub the olive oil all over the birds and sprinkle with a little pepper. Drizzle remaining lemon juice over the tops and place in the hot oven.

Roast at 40 0°F for 20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 350°F and continue roasting about 40 more minutes or until juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced and the leg moves easily when wiggled. Total roasting time is about 1 hour. Baste occasionally with pan juices. Let stand 10 minutes before carving.

Saffron Butternut Squash Risotto


  • butternut squash (2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 ounces pancetta, diced
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots (2 large)
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice (10 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat the chicken stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.
In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the pancetta and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. Add the wine and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total. Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and Parmesan cheese. Mix well and serve.

Maple Bacon Crème Brulee


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 small egg
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 7 tablespoons Grade B maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons demarara sugar, for topping
  • 6 (4-ounce) brulee mold

5 crisp slices of bacon pulsed fine in a food processor

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Pour the heavy cream into a non-reactive saucepan and place over medium heat. While the cream is heating, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, using a sharp paring knife. Separate the seeds from the skin by scraping the bean with the knife. Place the seeds and skin in the heating cream. Scald the cream by heating it until bubbles start to form around the edge of the pan. Remove from the heat.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the whole egg, egg yolks, and maple syrup until well blended. Continue to whisk while slowly pouring the hot cream into the egg mixture and whisk until the mixture is smooth and homogenous in color. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the vanilla bean pieces and overcooked eggs. Your next step will be made easier if you strain the mixture into a large measuring cup with a spout.

Place the molds on a baking sheet with 1-inch-high sides. Fill the molds half-full with the custard and set the sheet in the oven (it?s much easier to transfer the sheet with the molds only half-full).
Now, finish filling the molds to the top. It is important to fill the molds to the top, as the custard will lose volume as it bakes. Traditionally, creme brulee is baked in a hot water bath to insulate the custard from the direct heat of the oven and to keep the eggs from cooking too fast, which would cause them to separate. Using hot water from the tap, pour enough water into the baking sheet to reach halfway up the sides of the molds. If you are using a convection oven, however, a water bath is not needed because the even circulation of the air insulates the custard from the direct heat.

In either case, baking time is approximately the same, about 40 minutes. When baked correctly, the custard should tremble slightly when gently shaken. If you detect any liquid under the skin, the custard is under baked. Put them back in the oven and shake them every 5 minutes or so until they are ready.
Remove the molds from the water bath and place on a cooling rack for 30 minutes. Then refrigerate for 2 hours (or for to 3 days) before serving; the custards will finish setting in the refrigerator. Let the water bath cool before removing it from the oven.

Sprinkle sugar evenly over the tops of the custards, caramelize the sugar with a blow torch until golden brown. Add bacon dust and blow torch the tops once more.