What’s on your Christmas Menu ?

by grainnep

I’m a very traditional  when it comes to Christmas. I love all the trimmings, mince pies, mulled wine, hot ports, turkey and even Brussels sprouts. I know lots of people who moan a bit about turkey that it is too dry and not a nice meat but I think the method I have been using for the last long number of years has it cracked. In my opinion the reason dry turkey happens is because the legs take the longest to cook so if they are attached to your bird then the breast is well cooked long before the legs are done , hence dry bird…. So, I buy a Bronze turkey, remove the legs which I bone and roll and cook separately (often on a different day) and just cook the crown on Christmas day. I have learnt how to do this myself but it can be a bit fiddly so if you haven’t done it before, just ask your butcher to do it for you.  I’m not going to post here on cooking times and methods for the turkey because everyone has their own way for cooking their bird be it upside down or covered with buttered muslin, instead I want to post a few vegetable recipes including a yummy one for Brussels Sprouts. At Christmas I meet loads of people who say they hate Brussels sprouts but this recipe has been known to turn even the most hardened sprout hater…. Let me know what you think when you try it…

Mashed Sprouts with Parmesan and Cream
1kg Brussels sprouts
200ml cream
120gr Parmesan grated
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 180

Prepare the sprouts by removing the outside dirty leaves.
Bring a pot of water to the boil with 1 tsp salt in it, add sprouts and cook until bar boiled about 6 minutes
Drain and then tip them into a food processor along with the cream, salt and pepper.
Pulse gently so they are roughly chopped – not a puree!
Stir in half of the parmesan and tip the mix into an ovenproof dish.
Sprinkle with the reserved parmesan and bake until they have finished cooking and have a lovely crunchy top – about 20 minutes.

Spiced roast winter squash
These make a great alternative to roast potatoes or in my family case in addition to since roasties are a must according to them….

2 Kg butternut or other winter squash
5 Tbsp roasting oil, I use Donegal Rapeseed
25gr muscovado
2 tsp ground allspice
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 C
Pour the oil into roasting tin to heat it up
Peel the squash, cut in half and scoop out the seeds.
Cut the flesh into chunks – not too small or they will disintegrate.
Transfer them to the roasting pan and toss to ensure they are coated with oil.
Season with salt and roast for about 20 minutes.
The squash should be beginning to brown after this time, pour off any oil.
Mix the sugar and allspice and sprinkle over the squash
Return to the oven and continue cooking until the squash is tender and a lovely rich golden colour.
Season with pepper if you like and serve