Christmas in Germany doesn’t feature one particular Christmas dish. Elsewhere – it’s got to be turkey.
On Christmas Eve the Germans might eat carp, goose, duck or even potato salad and sausages – a typically practical solution for people who would rather devote their time to gift giving, unwrapping and entertaining.
In the UK, the main event is Christmas Day, and it’s all about presents, family and turkey. Most kids wake up at the crack of dawn to open their gifts, which means there’s plenty of time to lay on a proper Christmas meal extravaganza. Turkey and the trimmings, mince pies, Christmas pudding and Christmas cake, as well as crackers and a multitude of Christmas alcoholic tipples are standard.
Turkey with all the trimmings
Some families add the traditional Christmas Queen’s speech to their list, others make TV an integral part of the Christmas Day agenda. Some just play board games with the kids once the table’s been cleared.
Each family has their own way of celebrating. One thing that remains pretty much the same for all, is the Christmas meal itself: turkey, brussel sprouts, roast potatoes and gravy.
Here’s some recipes to try if you want to give a traditional UK Christmas meal a go:
Simple Christmas turkey
- 100g softened butter
- 3 sprigs of rosemary finely chopped
- 1 turkey (around 4kg), giblets removed
- 1 garlic bulb
- 1 lemon halved
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 large banana shallots, unpeeled, cut in half lengthways
- 250ml white wine
- 1 red cabbage (about 900g), cut into 6 wedges
- 500ml good-quality chicken stock
- 1 tsp cornflour (optional)
- Take your turkey out of the fridge an hour before you cook it. Heat oven to 200 C/180 C fan/ gas 6 and beat the butter with the rosemary. Starting from the neck of the turkey, carefully push your fingers underneath the skin until you can get your whole hand between the skin and the breast meat. Trying not to tear the skin as you go, spread the butter inside the pocket, squishing some into the crevice between the thigh and breast meat.
- Put the garlic, lemon and bay leaves inside the turkey, then season liberally all over. Put the shallots in your largest flameproof roasting tin and put the turkey on top, breast-side up. Roast for 1 hr, then give it a good baste, pour in the wine and nestle the cabbage wedges in the tin (or underneath the turkey if they won’t fit). Return to the oven for another 30 mins – covered with foil if the turkey is looking too brown. The juices should run clear when you pierce the thickest part of the thigh, or a thermometer should read 75 C. If not done, carry on cooking for a further 5-10 mins.
- Set aside the turkey on a board to rest for 1 hour, transferring the garlic and bay to the roasting tin for the gravy. If you want crispy skin, don’t cover the turkey. Wrap the cabbage wedges in two parcels of foil, with a spoonful of the turkey juices, season liberally and return to the bottom of the oven to carry on cooking while the turkey rests.
- Spoon away most of the turkey fat, then put the tin on the hob over a medium heat. Mash the veg with the back of a wooden spoon to extract as much flavor as possible , then pour in the stock and reduce the gravy by half. If you want to thicken it, stir in the cornflour mixed with 1 table spoon of water. Once happy with the consistency, strain and keep warm until ready to eat.
Recipe from BBC Goodfood
- 4 slices prosciutto
- 750g medium sprouts, trimmed and outer leaves removed
- 50g butter
- finely grated zest ¼ lemon
- Heat a large frying pan and cook the prosciutto in batches, laying the slices flat in the pan until brown and crispy. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Steam or boil the sprouts for 7-8 mins until just tender, drain and return to the pan with the butter, lemon zest and some seasoning. Turn the sprouts until well coated, then tip into a serving bowl, tear over the crispy prosciutto and season with freshly ground black pepper.
Recipe from BBC Goodfood
Perfect roast potatoes
- 1.5 kg potatoes
- 1 bulb of garlic
- red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 bunch of fresh rosemary
- Preheat the oven to 190ºC/375ºF/gas 5.
- Peel the potatoes, cutting any larger ones so they’re all an even-size
- Wash the potatoes in cold water to get rid of any extra starch then tip into a large pot, cover with cold salted water and parboil for 7 minutes, then drain in a colander and leave to steam dry for 3 minutes.
- Give the colander a bit of a shake to help rough-up the potatoes – this will help to make them super-crisp later on.
- Tip the potatoes into a large tray in one layer, and add the olive oil, then season really well with sea salt and black pepper.
- Toss the potatoes in the fat, then roast for 30 minutes, or until lightly golden and three quarters cooked.
- Now it’s time for Jamie Oliver’s trick. Gently squash each potato with a potato masher to increase the surface area – the more of your potato that’s in contact with the pan, the crispier it will be.
- Add 1 good lug of oil to a small bowl and pick and/or tear in the herbs. Break up the garlic bulb, adding the unpeeled cloves to the bowl, along with a splash of red wine vinegar, then scrunch and mix it up a bit.
- Give the pan a good shake, then pop back in the hot oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until gnarly, crispy, bubbly and delicious.
- Transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain off some of the excess fat. Serve with the brussel sprouts and potatoes.
Original recipe from Jamie Oliver.