20 greatest Christmas recipes: half 4 | Life and elegance


Elizabeth David’s turkey with herb and butter stuffing

The sanest phrases ever written concerning the Christmas turkey come from a Frenchman, Marcel Boulestin. “Take a turkey about nine or ten pounds [a good 4kg] in weight. There is no point in having a larger bird unless you are particularly fond of cold turkey. As it is, the one chosen will do once hot, once cold, once for rissoles, and the bones, etc, will be the making of a perfectly good soup.”

To that critical recommendation so flippantly given I can add solely a plea that the “rissoles” – by which Boulestin didn’t imply fairly what’s often understood by the time period – and the “perfectly good soup” be as swiftly made and consumed as is appropriate with post-Christmas fatigue and surfeit.

For the stuffing for a 4.5-5.5kg/ 10-12lb turkey, combine 250g/½lb of very nice breadcrumbs (made out of bread dried, however not colored, within the oven), the grated rind of two giant lemons, the juice of 1, 6-8 tablespoons (45-60g/ 1½-2oz, with out stalks) of finely chopped parsley, with slightly thyme, lemon thyme and marjoram if obtainable, a little or no salt, freshly milled pepper, 250g/½lb of unsalted butter and three complete, well-beaten eggs.

Taste the combination when it’s all evenly blended; at this stage the lemon flavour needs to be fairly pronounced, for it can reduce within the cooking; and, above all, poultry stuffing shouldn’t emerge tasting predominantly of bread.

The combination will be made 2 or 3 days prematurely, however don’t take it frozen stiff from the fridge and put it straight into the chook, for the warmth takes a very long time to penetrate and if over-chilled the butter within the stuffing doesn’t then begin its work of lubricating the chook from the early phases of cooking.

Having stuffed the chook (crop and physique), rub it very lavishly with softened butter, placing the lumps between the thighs and physique; there can hardly be an excessive amount of. Wrap it in equally lavishly buttered foil, put the chook on its aspect on a rack standing in a tin, and within the tin put a cupful or so of water. Have the oven preheated to very average, 170C/gasoline mark 3. A chook of this dimension takes 3–3½ hours to cook dinner; at half-time it needs to be turned over, and 30 minutes earlier than it’s to be served take away the paper and switch the chook breast upwards within the oven, in order that it acquires a nice golden-brown floor.

The buttery juices within the pan are to be poured off right into a small saucepan, slightly glass of white wine or vermouth added, and the entire given a fast flip over the hearth. For further gravy, the giblets will already the day past have been simmered gently with greens, herbs and, for my style, a small piece – say 250-375g/½–¾lb – of beef or veal to provide further flavour, for the style of the inventory produced by turkey giblets is fairly insipid.

One extra phrase about cooking the turkey. Do not attempt to cook dinner a chook which virtually fills your oven at a temperature very a lot larger than the 1 I’ve given. This is some extent the place 1 might very effectively be led astray by the temperature and timing given by skilled cooks, for they’re, in all probability, cooking in very giant ovens in which there’s loads of room for air to flow into all spherical the article cooking. In small home ovens, all that occurs when you try to cook dinner your turkey in a rush at excessive warmth is that the skin of the chook is scorched lengthy earlier than the warmth has penetrated the inside. And ensure that your turkey remains to be not half-frozen from the fridge while you put it within the oven.

The herb and butter stuffing is scrumptious for a roast capon or rooster. For a big chook, about 2.5kg/5-6 lb, permit 1/2 portions. If any is left over, use it for stuffing tomatoes to be baked and served with the rooster. A capon will be cooked in the identical method, permitting roughly 2 hours’ cooking time.

Adapted from Elizabeth David’s Christmas, compiled by Jill Norman (Michael Joseph, £14.99)

Sam and Sam Clark’s duck fattee with chickpea pilaf, pomegranates, aubergines and walnuts

Duck fattee with chickpea pilaf, pomegranates, aubergines and walnuts.

Duck fattee with chickpea pilaf, pomegranates, aubergines and walnuts. Photograph: Romas Foord for the Observer

Fit for a king, that is an elaborate and celebratory dish, however effectively well worth the effort. We usually serve this at Christmas at Moro, because it feels so festive. It actually pays off to get a rattling good duck and roast it in model.

Serves 8
pomegranate seeds of 1 giant (about 150-175g seeds) – squeeze 1/2 the seeds to make juice (see instructions)
Barbary or Gressingham duck 1, weighing about 2.5kg
nice sea salt 1 dsp
floor cinnamon ¼ heaped tsp

For the crispbread
unsalted butter 25g
pitta breads 2

For the chickpea pilaf
unsalted butter 75g
cinnamon 4cm stick
onion ½ giant, thinly sliced
basmati rice 300g, soaked in tepid water for 1 hour
chickpeas 400g tin, drained
gentle rooster inventory 450ml

For the fried aubergine
aubergines 1 giant or 2 medium, minimize into 2cm cubes
nice sea salt 1 tsp
olive oil 6 tbsp

To layer up the fattee
good-quality Greek yogurt 500g, equivalent to Total, combined with 6 tbsp water and ½ garlic clove, crushed
flat-leaf parsley 1 medium bunch (about 30g), leaves picked
walnuts 75g, damaged roughly
pomegranate seeds of 1 giant (about 150-175g seeds), plus leftover seeds from above

To make pomegranate juice, minimize the pomegranate in 1/2, break open every 1/2 and pick the seeds, being cautious to not embrace any of the pith, as it is extremely bitter. Put 1/2 the seeds in a sieve set over a bowl and crush them together with your arms as a lot as attainable to extract the juice. Then push them towards the sieve with the again of a giant spoon to extract as a lot remaining juice as you may.

Preheat the oven to 230C/gasoline mark 8. To roast the duck, dry the pores and skin with a tea towel and take away the giblets.

Rub the pores and skin with the ocean salt and floor cinnamon and place breast-side down on a rack in a roasting tray. Roast for 20 minutes, then flip over and roast for 20 minutes on the opposite aspect. Turn the oven all the way down to 180C/gasoline mark 4 and roast for an extra 2 hours.

While the duck is roasting, put together the crispbread. Melt the butter over a low warmth. As it’s melting, heat the pitta within the oven for a few minutes, then rigorously break up every bread open into 2 halves and brush the butter on each side. Place the halves on a rack on the center shelf of the oven and bake for 15–20 minutes, till golden.

For the chickpea pilaf, warmth the butter with the cinnamon in a medium saucepan till it foams. Add the onion and fry over a medium warmth for about 15 minutes, till candy and golden. Drain the rice effectively and add it to the onion.

Fry for a minute, stirring to coat it within the butter, then add the chickpeas and rooster inventory, together with an excellent pinch of salt. Cover with a circle of greaseproof paper and a tight-fitting lid and boil for five minutes. Reduce the warmth to a mild simmer and cook dinner for five minutes extra. Remove from the warmth and depart to relaxation, coated, for at the very least 10 minutes earlier than serving.

Toss the aubergine cubes with the ocean salt and depart in a colander for 20 minutes. Pat dry with kitchen paper. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan or a big wok over a excessive flame. Add the aubergine cubes and fry for about 15 minutes, till mushy and brown. Place on kitchen paper to blot any extra oil. Keep heat.

When the duck is cooked, take away it from the oven, place on a carving board and pour off any extra fats from the roasting tray. Put the tray over a medium warmth and pour within the pomegranate juice, stirring to deglaze. Season with salt and pepper.

At this stage, it’s only a query of layering issues up on a number of large platters or serving dishes. Everything must be sizzling other than the crispbread and yogurt. The duck must be carved into small items, breast off the bone, the thighs in 1/2, then it may be gently warmed within the oven if essential, however attempt to time it so it stays sizzling and crisp.

The order to layer your plate is first 1/2 the crispbread, damaged by hand into items, then the pilaf, then the duck, then the aubergine, then a drizzling of the pomegranate sauce, then the remaining crispbread, the yogurt and at last a lot of parsley leaves, the walnuts and the pomegranate seeds. Eat straight away – a feast on a plate.

From Moro East by Samuel and Samantha Clark (Ebury Press, £17.50)

Sally Clarke’s roasted onion squash and cep with sage, parmesan polenta and mascarpone

Roasted onion squash and cep with sage, parmesan polenta and mascarpone.

Roasted onion squash and cep with sage, parmesan polenta and mascarpone. Photograph: Romas Foord for the Observer

Vegetarians and Christmas used to not be an ideal marriage. While everybody else was being supplied goose, turkey or capon, the poor non-meat-eaters may very well be made to really feel ignored. Nowadays, nevertheless, most tastes are willingly catered for by the cook dinner, particularly at Christmas.

The following recipe, whereas designed to enchantment to those that choose a vegetable and fruit weight loss plan, may comfortably discover a place at any desk over the festive season. It can be equally excellent as an accompaniment to the extra conventional fare of roasted meats or birds.

Serves 6
onion squash 2 small to medium
olive oil 60ml
sage 1 tbsp, chopped, plus a number of giant leaves
garlic 2 cloves, crushed to a paste
cep, portobello or subject mushrooms 6 (or use a choice of different wild mushrooms)

For the polenta
milk 500ml
water 250ml
bay leaves 4
garlic 2 cloves, crushed to a paste
sage 1 tsp, chopped
coarse polenta 500g
butter 50g
parmesan 100g, freshly grated, plus further for serving on the desk
mascarpone 200g

Preheat the oven to 170C/gasoline mark 3½. Wash the squash and take away the pores and skin rigorously with a pointy knife. Cut the flesh into even-sized wedges (discarding the seeds) and place in a bowl. Drizzle generously with olive oil, season with sea salt and pepper and the chopped sage and garlic paste. Jumble the wedges collectively so that every one surfaces are effectively coated within the marinade. Arrange the squash in an ovenproof dish that’s giant sufficient to carry all of the greens. (Retain the remaining marinade within the bowl.) Roast the squash within the oven for 20–30 minutes, or till they begin to color on the edges and soften slightly.

While the squash is roasting, trim the mushrooms of any discoloured components and minimize in 1/2 or quarters, relying on their dimension. Toss them gently within the bowl with the remaining marinade till effectively coated. Remove the squash from the oven and prepare the mushrooms in and round it. Scatter with the entire sage leaves. Return to the oven and roast for an extra 20 minutes, or till all of the greens are mushy when pierced with a knife, however golden on the edges.

Meanwhile, for the polenta, convey the milk, water, bay leaves, garlic and chopped sage to a mild simmer. Using a whisk, add the polenta to the liquid little by little. Once it has all been included and is easy, proceed stirring with a wood spoon because it thickens. This might take as much as 15 minutes, relying on the kind of polenta, however it is crucial that the polenta loses its graininess because it cooks. Remove the bay leaves.

Remove the pan from the warmth and stir within the butter and 1/2 the grated parmesan. Season to style with sea salt and black pepper. Pour the polenta right into a serving dish, scraping the pan clear with a plastic spatula. Scatter the remaining parmesan over the floor and dot with beneficiant dollops of mascarpone. Cover and depart in a heat oven till able to serve.

Serve the roasted greens with a scoop of the mushy polenta on the aspect, a drizzle of excellent olive oil, and a bowl of freshly grated parmesan on the desk.

Sally Clarke is proprietor of Clarke’s Restaurant, Shop and Bakery, 124 Kensington Church Street, London W8 4BH; 020 7221 9225; sallyclarke.com

Rory O’Connell’s chocolate prune and armagnac puddings

Chocolate prune and armagnac puddings.

Chocolate prune and armagnac puddings. Photograph: Romas Foord for the Observer

These puddings are scrumptious and doubtless made for chocolate lovers. Although not molten within the centre, they’re mushy and yielding.

The mixture of substances is a traditional 1 however has timeless enchantment. The cooked puddings will sit fortunately in a heat oven for at the very least an hour earlier than serving, and certainly may very well be made forward of time, allowed to chill and reheated in a bain marie in a heat oven.

The prunes within the recipe will be changed with cherries, a scrumptious variation, during which case I might soak them in kirsch. Cognac can change the marginally dryer armagnac with the prunes.

The pudding will be cooked in a big dish, or in particular person ramekins and even teacups. Prunes range in high quality, so look out for juicy-looking ones with their stones nonetheless in. I get those often known as Agen prunes.

Serves 10
For the prunes
prunes 225g, weighed after eradicating the stones
armagnac or brandy 4 tbsp

For the pudding
chocolate, best-quality, 62% cocoa solids 150g
unsalted butter 150g
heat water 150ml
caster sugar 110g
vanilla extract 1 tsp
eggs 4
plain white flour 110g, sieved
cream of tartar a pinch

To serve
icing sugar a dusting
softly whipped cream

Put the prunes right into a bowl with the brandy and depart to soak in a single day.

Preheat the oven to 200C/gasoline mark 6 and prepare both a 2-litre ovenproof pie or gratin dish, or ten 200ml ramekins or teacups of an identical quantity. If you propose to serve the person puddings unmoulded from their containers, you will want to color them with melted butter earlier than including the combination. You may even want a roasting tin about 4cm deep, giant sufficient to accommodate the ramekins or dish.

Cut the chocolate into small items and put it right into a Pyrex bowl with the butter. Place over a saucepan of chilly water, ensuring the underside of the bowl doesn’t contact the water. Place on a low warmth – don’t let the water do greater than simmer. While the chocolate is melting, tear or chop the armagnac-soaked prunes into smaller items, about 1cm, and both divide them between the ramekins or unfold them over the bottom of the massive dish. If there’s some armagnac that has not soaked into the prunes, put it aside for including to the cream later.

When the chocolate is sort of melted, take away the bowl from the saucepan and stir with a versatile rubber spatula to mix the chocolate with the butter. Add the water, sugar and vanilla and blend with a whisk till easy. Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a spotlessly clear bowl for whisking later. Whisk the yolks into the chocolate combination, adopted by the sieved flour.

Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of cream of tartar till holding mushy however particular peaks. Do not permit them to over-whip and tackle a grainy look. Stir 1 / 4 of the egg white into the chocolate combination and fold within the the rest with a heavy versatile spatula, ensuring no lumps of egg white stay unblended.

Divide the combination between the ramekins, or put all of it into the 1 dish, and instantly place within the roasting tin. Pour boiling water into the tin, to come back midway up the perimeters of the ramekins or dish.

Cook within the oven for 10 minutes, then decrease the temperature to 160C/gasoline mark 3 for an extra 10 minutes if utilizing particular person dishes or an extra 20 minutes for a big dish. The puddings will seem cooked on prime however will really feel slightly mushy and molten within the centre.

Remove the roasting tin rigorously from the oven and permit the puddings to take a seat for at the very least 10 minutes earlier than serving.

The particular person puddings will be turned out on to warmed plates for serving. The giant dish will be dropped at the desk as it’s. Regardless, I mud the puddings with slightly sieved icing sugar simply earlier than serving.

Pass softly whipped cream individually. I typically serve chocolate sauce with these as effectively.

From Master It by Rory O’Connell (Fourth Estate, £25)

Nigel Slater’s heat marzipan buns

Warm marzipan buns.

Warm marzipan buns. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin

Designed to be eaten heat, these little buns aren’t any fast deal with. But when you have time to play, they’re great to get up to on Boxing Day morning.

Makes 15 buns
For the dough
robust bread flour 450g
dried straightforward bake yeast 7g
golden caster sugar 2 tsp
heat water about 350ml
egg 1, overwhelmed

For the filling
marzipan 400g
clementines zest of two
pistachios 100g, chopped
flaked almonds 75g, toasted
darkish chocolate 50g

Put the flour into a big bowl, sprinkle within the dried yeast and the sugar then pour in sufficient of the water to make a mushy however rollable dough. It needs to be slightly sticky. Tip the dough onto a floured board and knead for an excellent 6 minutes, or use a meals mixer fitted with a dough hook.

Leave the dough within the bowl, in a heat place, coated with a bit of cling movie or a tea towel, for about an hour, until effectively risen.

While the dough is proving, make the filling. Break the marzipan into small items and drop them right into a mixing bowl or meals processor with the clementine zest, the pistachios and the almonds. Chop the chocolate into small items the scale of coarse gravel, then add to the marzipan and blend totally. Set the oven at 220C/gasoline mark 7.

Tear the bread dough into 15 items then flatten and roll every right into a small disc about 8cm in diameter. Brush the sting of one of many items of bread dough with overwhelmed egg, then place a ball of the marzipan within the centre. Bring the dough across the ball of marzipan, urgent the perimeters very tightly to seal. (A bit filling will in all probability escape throughout baking anyway). Place the ball of dough into a really flippantly oiled muffin tin, then proceed with the remainder of the dough and marzipan mixtures.

Brush every ball of dough with a few of the overwhelmed egg, then pierce a tiny gap within the prime of every and bake for 10 minutes until golden.

Eat whereas they’re nonetheless oozing heat almond paste.

Sam and Sam Clark, Sally Clarke, Elizabeth David, Rory O’Connell, Nigel Slater from theguardian.com

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