If you’re looking to impress your guests this holiday season, be sure to try out these two recipes from Rania Harris!

Lobster Thermidor

  • 1 pound cooked lobster meat, including 4 whole claws, if available
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 green (spring) onions, including tender green parts, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • ½ pound white button mushrooms, brushed clean and thinly sliced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 ½ cups lobster stock, shrimp stock or fish stock
  • ½ cup half-and-half
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If you have whole claws, remove the meat whole and reserve for garnishing. Cut the lobster meat into ½-inch dice and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter. Add the green onions and sauté until the white part is translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the diced lobster and sauté until heated through, about 3 minutes. Add the brandy, bring to a simmer, and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a nonreactive frying pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the mushrooms and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a nonreactive saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Stir in the flour to make a roux, and cook, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes; do not let the mixture color. Add in the dry mustard. Gradually, whisk in the stock. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the half-and-half and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes longer. Stir in the paprika, salt to taste, cayenne pepper, and the remaining ½ tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Stir the lobster mixture and mushrooms into the white sauce. Spoon the lobster mixture into 4 individual gratin dishes (about 6 inches in diameter). Sprinkle each with one-fourth of the Parmesan. Place the dishes on a baking sheet and bake until bubbling and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Serve at once, garnished with the claw meat, if available.

Makes 4 main-course servings

Roast Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom Ragout

  • 2 pounds center-cut beef tenderloin roast
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Optional: Dijon or Whole-grain mustard, cracked mixed peppercorns, or herbes d’ Provence
  • Mushroom Ragout, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Season the beef all over with salt and a generous amount of pepper. Add the oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering. Add the butter and swirl to melt. Add the beef and sear until mahogany brown on all sides, about 8 minutes total.

Transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 125 degrees F. for medium-rare, about 25 minutes. Transfer the roast to a cutting board, tent it very loosely with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes.

Slice crosswise, arrange on a platter, and serve with the mushroom ragout.

Mushroom Ragout:

  • 1 pound mixed mushrooms, such as shiitake, cremini, or white button
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium shallot or ½ small onion, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped
  • ½ cup Madeira, vermouth, or white wine
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream


Clean the mushrooms by brushing with a kitchen towel or a brush to remove any loose dirt. Remove the shiitake stems and discard. Trim the dry ends off the cremini and white mushroom stems. Quarter all the mushrooms and put in a bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and spread them out evenly in the pan, increase the heat to high. Let the mushrooms cook undisturbed until they brown, then shake the pan to turn them over. Add the additional butter along the sides of the pan as the mushrooms cook if the pan seems very dry. Continue to cook until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Season the mushrooms with the salt and pepper and add the thyme. Pull the pan off the heat and add the Madeira or the wine. Return pan to the heat and scrape up any of the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and serve.

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