Holiday Roast

Classic Holiday Roast

Many people search for ways to create impressive holiday meals for their friends and family, but it can be overwhelming to find recipes that are manageable for a home cook to do without taking too much time away other celebrations. A traditional holiday roast is the perfect solution since most of the preparation happens in the oven! Butterflying and stuffing your choice of protein adds that extra dash of elegance to any holiday get together. It also cooks faster and lets the flavor permeate the entire cut of meat.

How to Butterfly a Roast

Although the end result is an impressive centerpiece for your dinner table, butterflying meat is pretty simple to do. To begin, choose the boneless protein for your meal. Our recipe below will work with leg of lamb, beef or pork tenderloin, or chicken beast. We suggest about 1 1/2 pounds to feed four people. You can ask your butcher to butterfly the meat when you purchase it, but it’s fun to learn to do on your own too!

Before butchering, choose a sharp kitchen knife with a long blade. Hold the blade parallel to the protein and make a cut lengthwise down the center, stopping 1/4- to 1/2-inch short of the opposite edge. Make sure the two sides remain attached. Open the tenderloin like a book and cover with plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, meat mallet, or the back of a skillet, pound the meat to an equal thickness throughout. It is now ready to stuff and roll. (If you need a little more guidance on this technique, a quick internet search will show many detailed ways to butterfly a cut of meat. Click here for a guide with photos).

Classic Holiday Roast

Chef Dawn's Holiday Roast Recipe

Chef Dawn Ludwig
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Main Course, Meat
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings


  • pounds your choice of protein, boneless and butterflied (leg of lamb, beef or pork tenderloin, or chicken breasts or thighs)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • handful of fresh thyme sprigs (or other herbs of your choice)
  • 1-2 cups chopped beet greens or chard (about 60-80 grams or 2-3 ounces)
  • pepper, to taste


  • First, preheat oven to 450 F.
  • Next, salt and pepper the meat. Place garlic, thyme sprigs, and greens on one end of the butterflied meat. Roll all of this into a spiral and then place in a loaf pan to keep it from unrolling. Roast at 450F for 15 to 20 minutes, then 350F for an extra 30 to 35 minutes (more time may be needed for larger roasts).


Nutrition (Roast Only - Leg of Lamb Variation)

Fat: 26g
Carbohydrates: 1g
Protein: 31g
Calories: 370


Complete Meal

For an fully festive meal, serve with blanched greens of your choice (click here to see our blanching tutorial video) , Butternut Sage Puree (Always Delicious page 219) or here's a tutorial on squash with a recipe, and Chocolate Dipped Fruit or Coconut Clusters. Click here for chocolate recipes.
When using fatty meats, such as lamb, this meal will have ratios close to Phase 1 even though we are using Phase 2 ingredients. Although we don't want to eat that way every meal, it is okay to have meals like this every once in a while. With lamb, this meal will be: Carbohydrate: 26%, Protein: 26%, Fat: 48%.
With chicken breast, you'll need to increase the fat a little in the meal so you might add a few teaspoons of olive oil to the roast or to the squash puree, and have an extra piece of chocolate dipped fruit at the end of your meal. This is a good meal to practice playing with ingredients to get the ratios closer to your goals. It's okay if it's not perfect! And it's okay for a meal to have slightly skewed ratios, it doesn't mean every meal has to be that way.
For a complete list of ways to prepare squash, click here!
Keyword Meat