Sunday 4 December 2016

Christmas lunch with Gordon Ramsay

Published 27/11/2015 | 02:30

Gordon Ramsay
Gordon Ramsay

When he began his career as a young chef, Gordon didn't envisage that he would be on TV or writing a book about Christmas cooking, but without fail, he is inundated with queries every year. We took advantage of his expertise and knowledge and Gordon's suggestions include two very tasty festive starters and a yummy honey glazed ham. Enjoy!

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Honey Glazed Ham

A lovely glazed ham is a great staple over Christmas, not least because it's also

delicious cold with my pear and saffron chutney. Roast on the day if serving hot, or up to two days ahead if serving cold. Any leftover ham can be used in a variety of dishes and please don't throw away the ham stock - it is great for soups, stews, risottos and sauces, so freeze it in convenient batches.

Serves 8-10

You will need

3kg unsmoked boneless gammon joint

4 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 leek, cleaned and roughly chopped

1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tsp black peppercorns, lightly crushed

1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly crushed

1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

3 bay leaves

Handful of cloves

For the honey glaze:

100g demerara sugar

50ml Madeira

25ml sherry vinegar

125g honey

Method

1. Put the gammon into a large saucepan and pour on enough cold water to cover. Add the carrots, leek, onion, peppercorns, coriander seeds,

cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook for 3 hours, topping up with more boiling water if necessary. Skim off the froth and any impurities that rise to the surface from time to time. If cooking in advance, leave the ham to cool in the stock overnight. Otherwise, allow it to cool a little, then remove from the pan. Strain the stock (and save for soups, sauces, etc.).

2. To make the glaze, put the sugar, Madeira, sherry vinegar and honey into a pan and stir over a low heat. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until you have a glossy dark syrup. Do not leave unattended, as it can easily boil over.

3. Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Lift the ham onto a board. Snip and remove the string and then cut away the skin from the ham, leaving behind an even layer of fat. Lightly score the fat all over in a criss-cross, diamond pattern, taking care not to cut into the meat. Stud the centre of each diamond with a clove.

4. Put the ham into a roasting tin and pour half of the glaze over the surface. Roast for 15 minutes.

5. Pour on the rest of the glaze and return to the oven for another 25-35 minutes until the ham is golden brown, basting with the pan juices frequently. It also helps to turn the pan as you baste to ensure that the joint colours evenly.

6. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for 15 minutes before carving and serving with the accompaniments.

Tips:

Order your gammon well in advance

On the day, simmer the gammon with vegetables and aromatics for three hours, or this can be done the day before, leaving the ham in the poaching liquid overnight.

An hour ahead of serving, make the honey glaze for the ham, score the ham, stud with the cloves and pour over half of the glaze. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes. Pour on the rest of the glaze and continue to roast, basting frequently.

About 15 minutes ahead of serving, rest the ham.

Marinated beef skewers with garlic and rosemary

To me, these rosemary beef skewers are perfect for the festive season as the rosemary is reminiscent of spindly pine needles. You will need to gather long woody rosemary sprigs (ideally from the garden), strip off half the leaves from the base ends and then trim the base of each sprig to create a sharp, pointy end.

Makes 12-15 skewers

You will need

500g sirloin steak, trimmed of fat

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 rosemary sprigs, leaves only, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 tbsp lemon juice

About 24 rosemary (or wooden) skewers (see above)

200g baby plum or cherry tomatoes

200g button mushrooms

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. Cut the steak into 2-2.5cm cubes and place them in a shallow dish. Whisk the olive oil, mustard, rosemary, garlic and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Pour over the beef and leave to marinate in a cool place for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight in the fridge.

2. To prevent the skewers from burning under the grill, soak them in cold water for about 20 minutes before using.

3. When ready to serve, scrape the excess marinade from the beef. Thread the steak cubes, tomatoes and mushrooms alternately onto the rosemary (or wooden) skewers, from the pointed end. Drizzle a little olive oil over the skewers and season with salt and pepper.

4. Heat up a griddle or the grill and cook the skewers for about 5-6 minutes for medium rare, or until done to your liking, turning and basting them frequently with the marinade.

Smoked duck breast salad with pomegranate vinaigrette

This is one of the easiest dishes in the book, as it doesn't require any cooking - merely a few minutes to assemble. Pomegranate molasses, available in Middle Eastern grocers and some larger supermarkets, has a slightly sweet tang and is lovely in the vinaigrette.

Serves 4

You will need

1 large smoked duck breast, about 330g

1 large head of chicory

100g rocket leaves

Handful of small basil leaves, shredded (optional)

Seeds from 1/2 pomegranate

2-3 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted

For the pomegranate vinaigrette:

2 tbsp pomegranate molasses

1 tbsp hot water

1 tsp Dijon mustard

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp groundnut oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

1. First, make the pomegranate vinaigrette. Whisk together the pomegranate molasses, water and mustard, then add the oils and whisk thoroughly to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Thinly slice the duck breast and set aside. Trim the base from the chicory and separate into leaves. Cut the large outer leaves into quarters and the smaller ones in half. Place in a large bowl. Add the rocket and basil, if using, and toss with a few tablespoonfuls of the vinaigrette.

3. Arrange the salad and duck breast slices attractively on individual serving plates, then scatter the pomegranate seeds and toasted almonds over each salad. Drizzle with more pomegranate vinaigrette to serve.

Irish Independent

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