Thursday, December 21, 2017

MENUs Recipes of the Week - Dishes to Accompany Christmas dinner

You will all have decided by now what your main course will be. We thought you might like some accompanying dishes that should work with your choice
Classic Chestnut Stuffing
It is not wise to put the stuffing into a bird and much better to cook it separately. If you must, then just stuff the neck cavity of a turkey. Why? Because cold stuffing will absorb all the raw juices of the bird and may not cook properly as heat has to penetrate the flesh and bones, so it can become a haven for any bacteria that might reside in the inside of the bird, allowing it to breed in the moist gentle heat. Now if we haven’t put you off stuffing completely, try this one. It is delicious. And it goes well with Turkey, Goose, Chicken, Capon, pheasant and almost all other birds, but is perhaps a little rich for duck.
50g bacon, finely chopped - ½ T canola oil – 1 onion, finely chopped – 1 stick of celery, finely chopped – 50g butter - 100g fresh white breadcrumbs – 1T parsley, chopped – grated zest and juice of 1 lemon – 500g canned whole chestnuts or unsweetened chestnut purée - salt and freshly ground pepper to taste – 1 jumbo egg – optional, sweet sherry
Fry the bacon in the oil until crisp. Remove and crumble. Add the onions and celery to the pan and fry gently until they are softening. Mix all with the butter, breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon and chestnuts. Season and add the beaten egg. Fry off a teaspoonful to check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. If the mixture seems a little dry, add a small amount of sweet sherry. Oh hell, add a spoonful or two anyway for flavour. Put into a greased Pyrex dish and roast, covered, for about 35 to 40 minutes.
Want to spice this up? Leave out the chestnuts and add chorizo, olives and red peppadews.
Want an accompaniment to meat or fowl? How about making
Red Wine Jelly
375ml red wine (half a bottle); use a soft shiraz - 200g sugar - 1 star anise - 1 clove - 2½ cm piece cinnamon stick - pinch of allspice - ½ split vanilla pod, seeds scraped out - skin and pith of one used lemon.
Put the red wine, sugar, star anise, clove, cinnamon stick, allspice, vanilla pod and seeds and lemon skin and pith in a medium saucepan. Stir together, then heat gently to dissolve the sugar. Turn up the heat and boil for 20 minutes until reduced and syrupy. Strain into a small, sterilised jam jar and leave to cool completely. It will keep in the fridge for up to 1 month. The lemon skin adds the setting agent.
And for your pudding or mince pies
Brandy Butter
125g butter, softened - 125g icing sugar - 3 tbsp brandy
Using a fork, cream the butter with the sugar and when nicely whipped, slowly incorporate the brandy a spoonful at a time, being careful that it doesn’t split.

And with that, we wish you all an extremely happy Christmas and a peaceful and productive 2018
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