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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Buttered Sprouts with Chestnuts & Bacon

Sprouts are not just for Christmas and indeed should be eaten throughout the frosty months in our opinion. We particularly like this recipe with butter, bacon bits and chestnuts – a sprout-lovers dream!

Buttered sprouts with chestnuts & bacon – serves 8 (easily halved)

  • 1.25kg Brussels sprouts, trimmed
  • 6 rashers streaky smoked bacon cut into bit-sized pieces or cubes of pancetta
  • 200g vacuum-packed chestnuts
  • 50g butter

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and tip in the sprouts. Return to the boil and cook for 5 minutes, then drain and run under the cold tap until cold, then drain again.

Heat a large frying pan, add the bacon and gently fry for 10 minutes until crispy. Scoop the bacon out of the pan with a slotted spoon and leave the fat behind, then add the chestnuts and fry over a high heat for about 5 minutes until they have darkened in places, then tip out of the pan.

Put the sprouts into the frying pan with a splash of water, then cover the pan with a lid and finish cooking over a medium heat for about 5 minutes or until just tender. Remove the cover, turn up the heat, then add most of the butter and sauté the sprouts for another 2 minutes. Tip in the bacon and chestnuts, season generously, then serve with the last bit of butter on top.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, December 2009.)

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Turkey stock

Not the most glamorous of photos, but stocks are an essential addition to our kitchen and there is lots to be made from the Christmas leftovers. Save the water used to cook the ham as it makes a really good base for minestrone.  Salvage all the precious turkey bones to make this delicious stock on Boxing Day. It will keep in the freezer and is great for soups and risottos.

Basic Turkey Stock

  • 2 large onions
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 carrots
  • turkey carcass, broken into pieces (add the wings if they haven’t been eaten – no chance in our house!)
  • 6 peppercorns
  • parsley stalks
  • bay leaf

Roughly chop the veg, leave the skins on, then chuck them into your biggest pot. Put the bones on top and add the herbs and peppercorns. Cover with cold water then bring to the boil, skimming off any scum that rises to the top. Once the stock is properly boiling you need to turn it down to a very gentle simmer and keep topping up with more water if any veg or bones get exposed. Skim every now and then. After about 2 hours you should have a clear and tasty stock. Pass through a fine sieve, then portion up and freeze until you need it.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, January, 2008.)

 

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Festive butternut and stilton pies

Forget nut roast. This pie is packed full of flavour and highly recommended as a festive treat when you’re fed up eating meat, or for a vegetarian friend; they’ll love you for this.

Also conveniently works with all the usual Christmas day trimmings and can be made up to 24 hours in advance.

You need to be fussy about the pie dishes as the filling needs to come to the top (so the pastry sits proud on the top and doesn’t sink). We used two small enamel dishes that hold 450ml water and measure 16cm x 11cm.

Wine Suggestion: If others are eating turkey then the same wine should be work pretty well for both. Given the earthy, savoury porcini and chestnut mushrooms a good choice, though, is a fruitier Pinot Noir. This may be a youthful village Burgundy or a fresh style from a similar region; look to Baden and Alto Adige for a good alternative. If you look elsewhere make sure the alcohol is not too high, as this can unbalance things.

Festive Butternut Squash & Stilton Pies – makes 2 pies (each one will serve 2 generously)

  • 25g dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1 butternut squash, about 800g
  • 50g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp chopped thyme or rosemary
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 6 tbsp double cream or crème fraîche
  • 50g stilton, broken into chunks
  • 50g walnut pieces
  • 140g puff pastry – we used one sheet of all butter puff pastry
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten

Soak the porcini in 150ml boiling water for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6/Fan 180C.

Meanwhile, peel the squash, discard the seeds and cut into small chunks.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan, add the oil, and fry the squash over a medium heat for 10 minutes or so – you want it to be caramelising nicely. Stir in the sliced chestnut mushrooms, chilli flakes, garlic & thyme or rosemary, and fry for 5 minutes. Turn up the heat and add the brandy, then remove from the heat.

Drain the dried mushroom and reserve the liquor, then roughly chop. Add to the squash mixture with the soaking liquid (but leave the grit in the bowl) and double cream, then return to the heat and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat again, season, and stir in the stilton and walnuts. Divide the mixture between two individual pie dishes (see recommended size above). Leave to cool before covering with the pastry.

Cut the puff pastry in half and roll out on a lightly floured surface until slightly bigger than the dishes, the pastry should overhang the edges a bit. Use the scraps to make holly leaves and berries or some other festive motif. Stick to the pastry lids with a little bit of water. You can keep the pies in the fridge now for up to 24 hours.

When ready to cook, get your oven heated and brush the tops with the beaten egg yolk. Sprinkle a large pinch of sea salt and some black pepper over each. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until risen and golden brown.

Serve with seasonal sides – we went for sprouts.

(Original recipe by Rosa Baden-Powell for BBC Good Food Magazine, December 2001. )

 

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Ginger beer & tangerine glazed ham (to serve 8 – we served 6 and had load of leftovers).

If you can get a mild-cured gammon which requires no soaking all the better. If not you will have to start this even earlier as your ham will need to be soaked overnight – ask your butcher’s advice when you’re buying. We used a 3kg mild-cure gammon but if yours is a different size allow 30 mins per 500g, plus an extra 20 mins.

Our advice is to boil the ham the day before and then you only have to do the glaze and bake it before serving.

3kg mild-cure gammon

1 onion, halved

3 tangerines, zest removed (reserve the juice if you want to cook the lentils above!)

4 star anise

2 litres ginger beer

For the glaze: 4 tbsp honey, 2 tbsp wholegrain mustard & a small handful of cloves (we forgot about the cloves and it was delicious anyway).

  • Put the gammon, onion, tangerine zest and star anise in a big pot. Pour over the ginger beer but keep back 100ml (make sure the gammon is just covered – top up with some water if you have to). Bring to the boil, skim the fat off the surface, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 3-3 1/2 hours. Remove it from the pan (and keep the liquor if you are going to do the lentil recipe). If you do this in advance you need to cool it and then cover and chill – bring back to room temperature before continuing.
  • Heat the oven to 200C (gas 7). Cut the skin off the gammon but leave a layer of fat. Lightly score the fat into diamond shapes. Put in a roasting tin lined with foil. Warm the honey, mustard and 100ml ginger beer and boil until it thickens. Spoon this over the fat, then stud each diamond with a clove. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or 30 -35 mins if you prepared it ahead).
  • Slice and serve warm or cold and serve with the beetroot, lentil and cauliflower recipes below.

Click here for the original recipe from BBC Good Food.


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Because we had pancetta, chestnuts and parsley that needed to be used in the fridge we thought we’d try out our first festive side of the season.

The result … yum!

  • Cook 500g of brussels sprouts in boiling water for around 5 minute or until cooked.
  • Meanwhile cook 125g pancetta in a little bit of vegetable oil until bronzed and crisp.
  • Add a large knob of butter and 100g cookedchestnuts – squashing the chestnuts to break them up a bit.
  • Add 25ml Marsala and reduce to a syrup.
  • Add the drained Brussel Sprouts, toss and add some parsley and lots of black pepper.
  • Enjoy.

Credit to Nigella – recipe from Feast.

Jono

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