A Christmas Feast…you’ll find the brussel sprouts have been replaced. We’ve opted instead for the appeal of green beans, shallots and bacon. But if your Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a sprout or two, we won’t argue.
Roast Turkey with Thyme & Onion Stuffing
- 7kg (14 lb) turkey, oven ready
- Salt, black pepper and a little flour
- 2 tablesp. softened butter
- 8 slices streaky bacon
Thyme and Onion Stuffing
- 450g (1 lb) bread, broken into pieces
- 6 tablesp. fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablesp. fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 medium onion, cut into quarters
- Salt and black pepper
- 100-150g (4-6 oz) butter, softened
To Make the Stuffing:
Place the bread, parsley, thyme and onion in a food processor. Process until you have fine bread-crumbs and the onion is finely chopped. Remove to a bowl, season and mix in the butter.
To Stuff the Turkey:
Loosen the skin at the neck end with your hands. Pack the stuffing in, pushing it up between the flesh and the skin, but not too tightly, because it will expand during cooking. Tuck the neck flap under the bird’s back and secure with a cocktail stick. Any remaining stuffing can be cooked in a covered baking dish with the turkey. Weigh the turkey, and calculate the cooking time. Allow 15-20 minutes per pound (allow 10-15 minutes per pound for turkeys weighing over 16 lbs). Place the turkey, breast side up, in an oiled roasting tin.
To Cook the Turkey:
Set the oven at Gas Mark 7, 220°C (450°F).
Season the turkey with salt and pepper and dust with a little flour. Rub all over with the butter, then lay the bacon slices on the breast, overlapping each other. Cover the bacon with a piece of buttered greaseproof paper. This will keep the bacon in place. Wrap the turkey loosely in foil and roast in the preset oven. After the first 3/4 of an hour reduce the heat to Gas Mark 3, 170°C (325°F). Baste a couple of times during roasting. For the last 1/2 hour remove the tin foil.
To check if the turkey is cooked pierce the thickest part of the leg – the juices should run clear.
When the turkey is cooked remove from the oven, transfer to a large plate, reserve the cooking juices in the tin to make the gravy. Cover the turkey loosely with foil and allow to rest for 1/2 hour in a warm place while you finish the ham and roast potatoes.
Smoked Salmon on Potato Cakes
Very good, easy to prepare starter, potato cakes can be made ahead and reheated Serves 6
- 12 slices smoked salmon
- Potato Cakes
- 450g (1 lb) cooked, mashed potatoes
- 75g (3 oz) flour
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tablesp. scallions, finely chopped
- Salt, pepper and nutmeg
- 50g (2 oz) butter, melted
- 125ml (1/4 pt) soured cream
- Salt and black pepper
To Prepare: Mix the potato, flour, eggs, scallions, salt, pepper, nutmeg and half the butter. Mix well together and shape into 12 small potato cakes. Heat the remaining butter in a non-stick pan, cook the potato cakes until nicely browned on each side. The cakes can be served immediately or kept overnight in the fridge. Fifteen minutes before serving reheat in a hot oven.
To Serve: Mix the soured cream and seasoning. Place the smoked salmon on each potato cake and top with the cream.
- 1 packet x 325g (12 oz) cranberries
- 225g (8 oz) sugar
- 125ml (1/4 pt) water
Simmer the lot together for 5-10 minutes.
Guide to Good Gravy
A well flavoured stock is important. So a day ahead, simmer the giblets with onion slices, bay leaf and water to cover. Then strain and season. Pour off the fat from the roasting tin leaving behind the juices.
Over a medium heat, stir in a tablespoon of flour. Blend well. Add a dash of wine. Continue to cook. Stir in the stock and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
A tablespoon of redcurrant jelly, cream or balsamic vinegar will also add to the flavour. Season to taste.
Perfect Roast Potatoes
The most important thing to remember for perfect potatoes is not to roast them too long in advance as they lose their crunch if you keep them waiting. Start by par-boiling the peeled potatoes for approx. 5-6 minutes, depending on size. Drain well and set aside.
Set oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C (400°F). Heat some oil or fat from the turkey on the baking tray. Place the potatoes on the hot tray. Sprinkle with salt and roast for 40-50 minutes.
Shallots, roasted with the potatoes, are also delicious.
Honey Glazed Ham
- 1 whole ham
- 1-2 carrots, chopped
- 1-2 sticks celery, chopped
- 1 onion, halved
- 1 tablesp. peppercorns
- 1 bayleaf
- 2 teasp. mustard
- 3 tablesp. clear honey
- Rind of 1 orange, coarsely grated
- 1 tablesp. brown sugar
To Cook: Place the ham, vegetables, peppercorns and bayleaf in a large saucepan. Place a lid on the pan, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for approx. three hours (keep ham stock for sauce and soup).
When the ham is cooked the skin will peel off easily. Remove the joint from the saucepan and place on a roasting tin. Using a sharp knife remove all skin and score the fat into diamonds. Spread it with the mustard, honey, orange rind and sugar. When you have removed the turkey from the oven, bake the ham at Gas Mark 6, 200°C (400°F) for about 30 minutes until golden brown.
Green Beans with Shallots & Bacon
- 1 kg (2 lbs) green beans, trimmed
- 1 tablesp. oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 onion or 2-3 shallots, sliced
- 3-4 slices of streaky bacon, chopped
- Salt and black pepper
- 1-2 tablesp. stock from the ham
To Cook: Blanch the beans for 2-3 minutes and drain well. Heat the oil, sauté the garlic, onions and bacon for 2-3 minutes and season. Add the mixture to the beans, pour the lot into a baking dish with the stock 20 minutes before serving. Reheat in a hot oven.
Celeriac & Potato Puree
This is lovely and holds well.
- 1-2 celeriac depending on size, peeled and chopped
- 11/2 kg (3 lb) potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 75g (3 oz) butter
- 125ml (1/4 pt) milk and cream
- Salt and pepper
Simmer the celeriac and potatoes until just soft. Drain well. Mash or puree in the food processor with enough butter, milk and cream until you have a rich creamy mixture. Season to taste, then spoon into a baking dish and keep warm.