Christmas Dinner on a Board

from On Boards

 Enjoy this with a white Christmas sangria complete with cranberries and a rosemary sprig.

Before we became parents, as working professionals, we opted out of a traditional family Christmas dinner in favor of something more intimate with friends.  This board has all the elements of Christmas dinner – slow-roasted beef bought thinly shaved from the butcher, honey-drizzled carrots and beet salad on a stick – but without the big production. It works as a centerpiece for a potluck-style gathering or as the main event the night before St. Nick arrives.


Cherry Cabernet Relish (see below)

Cranberry Mustard (see below)

8 carrots, greens attached

4 canned beets

32 leaves spinach

24 slices herbed roast beef

16 slices garlic roast beef

8 oz herbed Havarti cheese

6 oz white Stilton with apricot

4 oz Blue Cheese

2 oz Chevre 

1 baguette

½ cup hazelnuts

½ tsp coarse ground black pepper

10 assorted olives

1/3 cup cornichons 

Fresh rosemary, for garnish

Pear, for garnish


Make the Cherry Cabernet Relish and Cranberry Mustard.  Serve in bowls.

Leave 1” of greens on the carrots and slice them into long spears.

Prepare a beet salad on a stick: measure about 1 Tbsp of the hazelnuts into a small resealable plastic bag.  With a heavy-bottomed glass, crush the hazelnuts into a fine crumb.  Pour the crushed nuts onto a small plate and mix in the ground pepper.  Take about ¼ oz of the chevre and roll it into a small ball, then roll it in the nut mixture.  Set aside and repeat with the remaining chevre until you make 8 balls.  Slice the beets in half.  Slide a beet half onto a decorative toothpick, followed by spinach leaves and a chevre ball.  

Slice the baguette into ½” slices.

Serve all the other components in the style that works best for you, then arrange everything on and around your board.  Top with optional garnishes.


If prime rib is on your Christmas menu, you can make this board for Boxing Day lunch with the leftovers.  Some striking flavor combinations here are bread, Cherry Cabernet Relish, herbed cheese and rare beef; bread, Cranberry Mustard, garlic roast beef and apricot Stilton; roast beef wrapped around blue cheese, a cornichon and a carrot; and bread, goat cheese balls and hazelnuts.

Cranberry Mustard

Makes ½ cup 

½ cup fresh cranberries 

2 Tbsp grainy mustard 

1 Tbsp liquid honey 

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Heat the cranberries over medium-high heat until they start to pop. Add the mustard, honey and vinegar, turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. 

Transfer the mixture to a food processor or high-powered blender and blend until completely smooth. 

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Cherry Cabernet Relish

Makes 1½ cups

2 cups pitted frozen or fresh cherries 

1 cup granulated sugar 

1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon 

1 Tbsp lemon juice 

½ tsp flaked sea salt

Place all the ingredients in a medium-size pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down the heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer, uncovered and without stirring, for about 10 minutes until the sugar has melted and the mixture has reduced by at least one third. 

Transfer to a food processor and pulse the mixture briefly, 5 or 6 times. This will ensure the relish has texture. 

Transfer to a container and allow to cool to room temperature, uncovered. Once cool, seal the container and place in the fridge to sit for at least 2 hours before serving.

Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Excerpted from On Boards by Lisa Dawn Bolton. Copyright © 2018 Lisa Dawn Bolton. Photography by Lisa Dawn Bolton.  Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Nada’s Tips & Tricks:  Cindy Deans of Trix & Dot –  does a fabulous job in putting boards together (see a sample of her work below).  For our holiday family dinners, I put out platters of food from around 10 am to 2 pm (dinner is usually around 3 or 4 pm).  Both Cindy and this book have inspired me to try different combinations and those special added touches that everyone talks about around our “charcuterie table”.