From Cindy Lou Who to the Grinch himself, everyone at your table will love recipes like Who Roast Beef and Grinch-Nog. (Photos: Everett Collection/Jenny Kellerhals)

From Cindy Lou Who to the Grinch himself, everyone at your table will love recipes like Who Roast Beef and Grinch-Nog. (Photos: Everett Collection/Jenny Kellerhals)

How the Grinch Stole Christmas is one of those Christmas movies that’s found an enduring popularity with every generation since it was released 56 years ago. Based on the 1957 illustrated children’s book by Dr. Seuss, the story has now been made into three movies and a musical.

Some might argue over which is better: Jim Carrey’s live-action portrayal of the famously green curmudgeon in 2000’s Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas or Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in the digitally animated The Grinch from 2018. But nearly everyone agrees that the original made-for-tv animated version is still the best.

I’d suggest watching the original film, followed by one of the longer theatrical releases this holiday season, and making dinner and a movie night out of it with this Grinch-themed feast.

The original How the Grinch Stole Christmas premiered on television in 1966. (Photo: Everett Collection)

The original How the Grinch Stole Christmas premiered on television in 1966. (Photo: Everett Collection)

The inspiration

To create a Grinchy dinner menu, chef Heather Pelletier of Sicily Osteria in New York, N.Y. and I watched all three movies (but passed on the musical). The famous “roast beast” appears as the final feast centerpiece in every rendition, so it had to be included on the menu.

“They’ll feast on Who pudding and rare Who roast beast. Aw, roast beast is a feast I can’t stand in the least!” bemoans the Grinch in the original film. Our hearts couldn’t help but swell a size or two by the end, watching the Grinch carve the roast beast for his new Who friends, and we knew we had to bring it to life in a special new way.

Beef shank stars in this Grincy meal, as the famed Who roast beast. (Photo: Jenny Kellerhals)

Beef shank stars in this Grincy meal, as the famed Who roast beast. (Photo: Jenny Kellerhals)

Instead of a traditional holiday bird or ham, Pelletier decided to roast a large beef shank to play up the “beast” aspect of the dish. “The beef shank is a large cut and would be great as a centerpiece at a holiday meal,” says Pelletier. Braised for several hours in the oven, the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender and is appropriately beastly in size, served with the large shank bone. She serves it on top of a bed of regular and sweet mashed potatoes made with a hefty portion of parmesan cheese and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds for a festive touch.

No Who-feast would be complete without some sweets, so I decided to recreate the cake made by Cindy Lou Who’s mom, at the end of The Grinch. It’s a rich three-layer chocolate cake, filled and frosted with peppermint buttercream and chocolate sandwich cookie crumbs, before being garnished with shiny maraschino cherries.

Did Jim Carrey play the Grinch better than the original cartoon version? Watch both, while you sip some Grinch-nog, to decide. (Photo: Everett Collection)

Did Jim Carrey play the Grinch better than the original cartoon version? Watch both, while you sip some Grinch-nog, to decide. (Photo: Everett Collection)

There’s also a recipe for my favorite Christmas morning cocktail, the Grinch-nog. A twist on spiked eggnog, this cocktail is pale green and unexpectedly enjoyable with Green Chartreuse.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Recipes

Roast Beast

by Chef Heather Pelletier

(Photo: Jenny Kellerhals)

(Photo: Jenny Kellerhals)

Serves 6-8 people


  • 1 whole beef shank, bone-in about 10 pounds

  • Butcher’s twine

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil

  • 2 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

  • 4 celery stalks, cut into chunks

  • 2 onions, roughly chopped

  • 1 bunch thyme

  • 2 sprigs rosemary

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 2 cups red wine

  • 2 quarts stock (beef, chicken or water)

  • Kosher salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper


1. 24-48 hours before cooking: Tie butcher’s twine around the beef shank in 3 to 4 places, spacing along the length of the bone. Generously salt the entire shank on all sides and refrigerate.

2. Preheat oven to 300 F. Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Salt and pepper the shank generously. Sear the shank on all sides until meat begins to brown and crust over. Remove from the oil and let rest.

3. Add vegetables and herbs to the pot and cook in the remaining oil and meat juices, adding more oil if needed. Cook vegetables until lightly colored and starting to soften. Deglaze with wine, and cook until the smell of raw alcohol has evaporated and reduced by half.

4. Return the shank to the pot, nestled among the vegetables. Pour in stock until the shank is mostly covered. Add water if needed. Cover the pot tightly with a lid or aluminum foil, and place in the oven. Cook for 4 to 5 hours until the meat easily pulls from the bone with a fork. Start checking for doneness after about 3 hours.

5. Remove from the oven, uncover, and let the meat rest in the liquid at room temperature until cool enough to handle.

6. Remove the shank and gently snip off the strings. Arrange the shank on a serving platter, with or without the bone. Strain the vegetables out of the liquid (serve separately, arrange around the meat, or discard) and return the liquid to the pot.

7. Simmer braising liquid over medium-high heat until reduced to a very thick sauce. Spoon over the meat, and reserve the rest for serving.

Chef’s Note: If your grocery store doesn’t sell 10-pound beef shanks, your local butcher will, and they may tie it up for you too. This recipe is easily adapted to smaller cuts of “stewing meat,” such as osso buco—which is just the shank cut across the bone into smaller portions. It would also work wonderfully for lamb or pork shanks. Smaller cuts will likely require less cooking time, typically by about an hour, checking in regular increments after 2 hours have passed. Cooking times will vary depending on the oven for all cuts and sizes.

Chocolate Peppermint Who-Cake

by Jenny Kellerhals

(Photo: Jenny Kellerhals)

(Photo: Jenny Kellerhals)

8” 3-Layer Cake Serves 12-16 people


Chocolate Cake

  • 3-¾ cups (476g) all-purpose flour

  • 3-½ cups (677g) sugar

  • 1 tablespoon (20g) baking soda

  • 1 tablespoon (9g) kosher salt

  • 1-½ cups (133g) cocoa powder, Dutch-process preferred

  • 1-½ cups (434g) whole milk

  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon (23g) distilled vinegar

  • 1-¼ cup (338g) hot water

  • 3 tablespoons (32g) vanilla extract

  • 1-½ cups (320g) canola oil

  • 4 eggs, large

  • Peppermint Frosting

  • 2 pounds unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 2 pounds powdered sugar

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 tablespoon peppermint extract

  • 2-3 tablespoons milk


  • Pink food coloring

  • ½ package chocolate sandwich cookies, like Oreo cookies

  • 2 jars maraschino cherries, drained


1. Arrange racks on the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Preheat to 350 F. Spray three 8-inch cake pans with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.

2. Measure the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder into the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn the mixer on low to blend ingredients with a whip attachment. Meanwhile, measure the milk, vinegar, hot water, vanilla extract, oil and eggs into a large bowl. Whisk or hand blend together to incorporate.

3. Stop the mixer, and stir the dry ingredients down to the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Turn the mixer on to medium-low, and carefully stream in ½ of the wet ingredients. Let mix for 15 seconds, then stream in the remaining wet ingredients. Scrape the bowl down again, making sure no clumps of dry ingredients are on the bottom and clear the attachment of any batter clumps. Mix again on low until all ingredients are completely incorporated.

4. Divide the batter evenly between the three pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched, and the edges of the cakes just begin to pull away from the pan. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Flip out of the pans, remove parchment paper and let cool completely.

5. While cakes cool, make the frosting. Add softened butter to the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-low speed until butter begins to cream. Add powdered sugar ½ cup at a time, beating into the frosting for several seconds between each addition. When all of the powdered sugar has been added, stop the machine, scrape down the bowl to release any dry sugar or unincorporated butter. Add salt and peppermint extract, then resume beating the frosting on medium until light and fluffy. Once fully inflated, add milk a tablespoon at a time to loosen if necessary.

6. Crumble half a container of chocolate sandwich cookies in a food processor. Level the top of the cooled cakes. Place the first layer on a cake plate. Evenly spread a layer of frosting across the top of the cake, then generously sprinkle with cookie crumbs. Add the second layer and repeat. Add the final layer and cover the entire cake with an even layer of frosting.

7. Add cookie crumbs to the top and bottom edges of the cake. Dye the remaining frosting pink, and pipe around the cake with a small star tip, into three rows of garlands. Pipe a large dollop of pink frosting to the top of the cake. Add maraschino cherries and serve.


by Jenny Kellerhals

(Photo: Jenny Kellerhals)

(Photo: Jenny Kellerhals)

Makes two cocktails


  • 2 cups (16 ounces) eggnog

  • 3 ounces Green Chartreuse (optional)

  • ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)


  • Green food coloring

  • Vanilla frosting

  • Christmas sprinkles


1. Spread a thin layer of frosting around the top edge of the glasses. Pour sprinkles onto a small plate, then dip the edge of the glasses into the sprinkles and press into place. Add ice to the glasses if desired.

2. Stir together the eggnog, Green Chartreuse, and a drop of green food coloring. If desired, add one more drop of food coloring to intensify the color. Divide between two glasses, add a straw, and enjoy!

Non-Alcoholic Alternative: Add peppermint extract instead of Green Chartreuse. Prepare with green food coloring and garnish the same way.

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