As the nights begin to draw in earlier, our thoughts are turning to Christmas. Deciding what delicious dishes we would like to share with our family and friends; serving up the perfect traditional Christmas Day lunch.
Just like the celebration of Thanksgiving in the United States, no English Christmas Day lunch would be complete without “the bird”/ turkey! There are many variations and substitutions that exist of the English Turkey: goose, duck, boned and rolled, three birds – the list goes on. No matter what you decide upon, it remains true that what is most important is the quality of the bird. You should always choose a turkey that bears the Quality British Turkey and Red Tractor logo. Alternatively, you may choose to support your local farmer or butcher who will be able to give you confidence that your bird can be traced back to source.
To accompany the bird, vegetables to serve would be the ones which are in season at Christmas, such as roast potatoes, Brussel sprouts, roast parsnips, carrots, cauliflower, peas, red cabbage and leeks. There are so many variations in the cooking of the vegetables, but my preference would be to keep them simple. There is always an abundance of rich food on Christmas Day without complicating the vegetables! A good stuffing is an excellent addition to the meal together with lashings of piping hot gravy. Try out my favourite chestnut stuffing recipe, found below.
- 1 lb. chestnuts (peeled, cooked and finely chopped)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- Turkey liver from the bird, finely chopped
- 4oz. smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
- 1 oz. butter
- 4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 1 dessertspoon thyme, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon mace, ground
- 8 oz. pork sausage meat
- Salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
- Melt butter in a large frying pan and sweat off the onion. Add bacon and chopped turkey liver. Cook for about 10 minutes.
- Empty contents of the pan into a large bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
- You can stuff the turkey with the stuffing mix prior to cooking, but don’t forget this will add to the cooking time of the turkey. Alternatively, you can cook the stuffing in an oven-proof dish at around 180 C for about 45 minutes and serve as an accompaniment.
This is a traditional recipe. However, you may wish to add chopped apricots or cranberries to give it a modern flavoursome twist! Check back later this week for two more recipes to add to your festive menu.
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|This is an article by guest author Vivienne Yeoman, a catering industry expert based in London, England. Vivienne has over 30 years of experience in the catering industry as an Operational Manager. Any thoughts expressed in this article are entirely Vivienne’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Air Culinaire Worldwide.
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