A Christmas meal is roast turkey with all the trimmings. We hear about people doing duck, goose or roast beef instead, but it’s just not the same. We believe in not trying to reinvent the wheel, turkey is here to stay, however let’s see what we can for those bit part players, the trimmings.
1. The stuffing
Since you will be filling the turkey cavity and underneath the breast skin with as much stuffing as you can, let’s try get as much flavour into it as possible. Jamie Oliver has some good options, you can make a mixed mushroom stuffing with thyme, pine nuts, garlic and lemon zest. Or you can do one with sausage meat, cranberries, nutmeg, allspice, chopped walnuts, and orange zest, for more of a Christmassy flavour.
2. Brussel sprouts
We’ve all had bland overcooked brussel sprouts that look very unappealing. There are two ways to go about preparing these. You can boil them until slightly softened and a knife can pierce them, then sautee some bacon in oil and butter until cooked, add in the sprouts, get all that lovely flavour to cover them, add seasoning and serve.
The other way is to halve the sprouts, put them on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, lemon zest, minced garlic, seasoning, and roast in the oven till caramelised. Then add grated cheese, and any cooked bacon that may be lying around.
Two easy ways to drastically improve this vegetable!
A good sauce will help against an inevitably dry turkey. Chances are whoever is cooking the Christmas dinner is going to try avoid any additional steps when possible, and as a result will crack open some terrible canned cranberry sauce.
This is where you step in with your chef style creamy bread sauce. The recipe is simple so you will need a few tricks up your sleeve to get it tasting nice. Instead of using normal breadcrumbs, buy some ciabatta loaves and blitz them up yourself. Or just pick up whatever bread you can find that looks nice, brioche would be a good option too.
Add bay leaves and nutmeg when cooking the sauce, they will work great with it. Finally, adding some butter and cream is always a good idea.
Ok eggnog is not actually a trimming, but it’s something different for an Irish household. Since eggnog is traditionally consumed in Canada and the USA, chances are you haven’t tried it unless you’ve visited a Starbucks over Christmas. Now, we could say to google a recipe on how to make your own eggnog, but what’s the point? You don’t want to be messing around after your meal to make something which your family may hate. Let’s be practical instead, pop into some American food shop like “Fresh” on Camden Street, or Fallon and Byrne, and just pick up a carton of it.
To make your eggnog have a bit of a bite, add some dark rum or bourbon to it, then pour it into a glass and sprinkle a little bit of nutmeg on top. Delicious!
5. Mince pies
To cover all your bases, we have to include a dessert. You’ve probably picked up a Christmas pudding already, and we could do a tutorial on how to make the perfect brandy crème anglais to partner it, but it’s easier for everybody if we just nudge you towards picking up some mince pies instead.
We braved the streets of Dublin to find you the best mince pies. Grab as many as you can to enjoy over the holidays!