I've been working hard on this post and what you will see here today is the whole Christmas Feast! I thought I'd put it up a few days before Christmas so that if you need to pop to the shops to pick up some last minute ingredients you will have plenty of time to do so!
Other than what you see here, you only need a tasty Brussels Sprout recipe and some delicious carrots to make your meal complete! Perhaps some tasty dinner rolls. Tune in tomorrow for the Dessert Edition!
*Roast Turkey with Sage and Onion Butter*
Serves 8 with leftovers
Moist and delicious turkey with traditional flavours.
15 1/2 pound fresh turkey
2 onions, peeled and halved
1 lemon quartered
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 ounces soft butter (a generous 1/4 cup)
3 TBS finely chopped fresh sage
2 TBS plain flour
200ml (7 fluid ounces) Marsala wine
(can use Madiera)
14 to 18 fluid ounces of hot chicken stock (a generous 2 cups)
1 dessertspoon of cranberry jelly
Heat the oven to 170*C/325*F/gas mark 304. Place the turkey in a large roasting tin. Tuck 3 of the onion halves and the lemon into the cavity. Season inside well with salt and pepper. Cover the roasting tin tightly with foil, making sure you leave plenty of space for the air to circulate around the turkey, but making sure the foil is tightly placed so that no steam can escape. Roast for 4 hours.
While the turkey is roasting, finely chop the remaining onion half and mix it with the butter and sage. Remove the turkey at the end of the 4 hours. Increase the oven temperature to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Brush the turkey all over with the sage and onion butter. Return to the oven and roast for an additional 45 minutes, uncovered, until crisp and golden brown. Transfer to a serving platter and loosely tent with foil to keep warm. Allow to rest for half an hour while you make the gravy.
Tip the juices out of the pan into a bowl. Allow to settle. Skim any fat off the top, reserving 2 TBS of it. Place the 2 TBS of fat back in the roasting tin. Place the tin over medium low heat. Cook and stir to scrap up the solids from the bottom. Stir in the flour, continuing to scrape the bottom of the pan for about 2 minutes. Add the marsala or Madiera and bring to the boil. Measure the reserved turkey juices. You should have about 500ml (about 2 cups). Make up with hot chicken stock to give you the required amount. Pour into the tin with the cooked flour. Cook and stir, bringing it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for several minutes, then whisk in the cranberry jelly. Keep warm until ready to serve.
*Sage, Chestnut and Apple Stuffing*
Serves 14 as a side dish
Deliciously moist with plenty of sausagemeat!
1 large free range egg
1/2 bunch of fresh sage leaves, picked and chopped coarsely
about 125g of soft bread crumbs (about 2 cups)
750g of good quality sausage meat (a generous pound)
250g pack of vacuum packed chestnuts (about 1 cup)
2 onions, peeled and coarsley grated
2 apples, peeled and coarsley grated
fine seasalt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place the sausage meat into a large bowl. Add the bread crumbs and sage. Crumble in the chestnuts and then add the apple and onion. Crack in the egg and a bit of seasoning and then get in there and mix it well together with your hands. I like to shape mine into balls and bake, so that you get nice little balls all crisp on the outside and meltingly tasty on the insides. (Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and roast in a 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6 oven for 25 to 30 minutes.) Alternately place into a shallow 7 by 11 roasting dish and drizzle with oil, then bake at the same temperature for about 45 minutes until golden.
Note - If you are feeling really indulgent, wrap the stuffing balls in streaky bacon before roasting, using about half a strip stretched for each ball.
*Bacon Wrapped Chipolatas*
Serves 10 to 16 as a garnish
Something I never had before coming over to the UK, but Christmas Dinner just wouldn't be the same without them now. Yes, I've assimilated!
25 thin rashers of smoked streaky bacon
50 small chipolata sausages (thin sausages)
(We like cumberland)
Cut the bacon rashers in half vertically. Wrap each half, stretching it if you have to, around the middle of each chipolata. Place onto a lightly buttered, rimmed baking sheet. Preheat your oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Bake your chipolatas for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and slightly sticky. Taste one to make sure they are cooked through. (Called the cook's morsel and a given, along with those tender medallions of turkey which lay beneath the roast turkey on it's underside. Those belong to the cook too. Hands off!) Serve these along side of the turkey.
*Crispy Roast Potatoes*
To save on time you can infuse the dripping with the herb flavours the day before and parboil the potatoes a few hours ahead of time.
150g of drippings or Goose fat (about 1/2 cup)
a few springs of thyme
a few springs of rosemary
10 large floury potatoes, peeled and quartered (King Edwards, Maris Piper)
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Gently heat the drippings (goosefat) in a saucepan so that the dripping melts and takes on the herby flavours.
Put the potatoes into a pan and cover with lightly salted cold water. Cover and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for about 15 minutes, then drain well in a colander. Leave to dry and then shake them up a bit, to give them some rough edges.
Place one or two large shallow roasting tins in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully pour the dripping through a seive into the pans, dividing it equally if using two pans. Discard the herbs. Return the pans to the oven for another 5 minutes. Remove from the oven again and carefully add the cooked potatoes, one by one. (The fat will be really hot) Season with some sea salt. Return to the oven and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp and golden, turning every 10 minutes or so and sprinkling with more seasalt half way through the cooking time. Remove with a slotted spoon to some paper kitchen toweling to drain somewhat and then serve immediately.
*Simple Red Cabbage*
Serves 10 to 12
Exactly what it says. Simple . . . but very tasty!
a knob of butter
1 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
3 sprigs of thyme
1 red cabbage,, trimmed and then shredded with a knife into thin strips
300ml of chicken or vegetable stock (a generous cup)
60ml of Balsamic vinegar (about 1/3 cup)
1 dessert spoon of red currant jelly
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Put a large dutch oven type of pan on top of the stove over medium heat. Add some olive oil, the butter, fennel seeds and slice onions. Add the springs of thyme, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are quite soft and beginning to caramelize. Tip in the cabbage and stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes. The cabbage should be tender and soft. Tip in the vinegar and red currant jelly. Raise the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes longer, until almost all of the liquid has evaporated and the cabbage is sweetly soft and delish. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Makes enough for 12 servings
Another delicious side dish that can be made ahead of time. Just reheat iin a pan, adding a little bit more milk to thin if necessary.
1.2 litres of semi skimmed milk (2%) (6 cups)
1 bay leaf
a few springs of thyme
250g of fresh white bread crumbs (about 4 cups)
freshly grated nutmeg
Place the milk into a large saucepan along with the bayleaf, onion, cloves, and thyme. Bring to the boiling point, then reduce the heat and simmer on low for about 10 minutes. Strain the milk into a clean pan, discarding any solids. Stir in the breadcrumbs and cook gently for 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste with freshly grated nutmeg and some fine seasalt. If you like a thinner sauce, you can run it through a coarse seive.
Makes 4 cups
This lovely chutney makes a wonderful gift and is such a lovely change from the usual cranberry sauce. It goes beautifully with turkey, ham or chicken. We just love it.
3 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup sultanas
1/2 cup chopped candied peel
1/2 cup chopped peeled onion
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp salt
2 whole cloves
2 tsp celery seed
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp dried chilies
Place the vinegar, water, both sugars, lemon juice and salt into a heavy non-reactive saucepan. Bring to the boil, stirring to help dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved add the cranberries, sultanas, candied peel, onions, garlic, cloves, celery seed, ginger and chilies. Simmer gently, stirring often, uncovered for 45 minutes. Pour into hot sterilized jars and seal. Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. This will keep for up to a year. You can, of course, just put it into jars for giving away and immediate use, but if you do want to keep it longer, you really must prodess it in the water bath. Enjoy!