Roast crown of turkey with sage and onion stuffing
To test if the turkey crown is cooked pierce the thickest part with a long clean skewer or knitting needle. If the juices run clear, it is ready, if a little pink then return to the oven and cook a little longer. I prefer to use a free range or organic bird for this special occasion.
3 kg (6 lb 10 oz) turkey crown
75 g (3 oz) butter (at room temperature)
1 crushed garlic clove, crushed
finely grated rind of 1 orange
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp plain flour
250ml chicken stock
FOR THE STUFFING
75 g (3 oz) butter
1 onion, diced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
50 g (2 oz) pine nuts, toasted
175 g (6 oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Glazed loin of bacon, brussel sprouts, walnut & Cranberry stir-fry, sweet potato gratin and roasted carrots with garlic and parsley, to serve
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. First, calculate the cooking time for your turkey crown, allowing 20 minutes per 450 g (1 lb) plus 20 minutes. So this 3kg (6 lb 10 oz) turkey crown will take about 2 and a half hours.
Cream the butter until really soft, then add the crushed garlic, orange, parsley and thyme. Beat well until thoroughly blended. Gently loosen the neck flap away from the breast, pack the flavoured butter right under the skin, this is best using gloves on your hands, rub into flesh of turkey well, then recover with skin and secure with a small skewer if necessary. Then cover the turkey tightly with foil and roast for your calculated time, removing the foil for the last 30 minutes.
The turkey crown will cook much quicker than a whole one, so make sure to keep basting.
To make the stuffing, heat a frying pan and add the butter. Add the onion and sage and cook for a few minutes until softened but not coloured. Add the toasted pine nuts and then stir in breadcrumbs, mixing well to combine. Season to taste. Wrap the stuffing in buttered tin foil and shape into a large sausage shape. This can be cooked in oven for 25-30 minutes.
When the turkey is cooked cover with foil to rest and keep warm. Skim all the fat from the cooking juices in the roasting tin. Stir the flour into the pan residue and cook, stirring over a low heat until golden. Gradually pour in the stock, stirring all time. Bring to the boil, and let bubble for 2-3 minutes until thickened. Season to taste and keep warm.
To serve, carve the turkey crown into slices and arrange on warmed plates with the cooked stuffing, glazed loin of bacon, Brussels sprout stir fry, white and sweet potato gratin and the roasted carrots with garlic and parsley. Pour the gravy into a warmed gravy jug and hand around separately.
Glazed loin of bacon
The loin of bacon is most often used for bacon rashers but now is becoming widely available in one piece. As it has a lovely even shape it is perfect for easy carving and is a lovely change from the traditional ham.
1.5 kg (3 lb) loin of bacon, rolled and tied with skin on
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
few black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
2 fresh thyme sprigs
Irish Mist Glaze
2tbsp Irish Mist
2tbsp maple syrup
2tbsp balsamic syrup
1tbsp ground all spice
To make the whiskey glaze, place the Irish mist, maple syrup, balsamic syrup and ground all spice in a small saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes until you have a honey consistency.
Place the bacon joint in a large pan and cover with cold water. Add the onion, carrots, celery, peppercorns, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 20 minutes per 450 g (1 lb). A joint this size should take no more than 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Remove the cooked bacon joint from the pan. Remove the string, carefully remove the skin from the loin of bacon and score the fat in a criss-cross fashion. Place in a small roasting tin and brush over the Irish mist glaze. Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes until the fat is nicely caramelized and the bacon is completely heated through.
Remove from the oven and transfer to a warmed plate to rest, covered loosely with foil.
To serve, carve the rested glazed loin of bacon and arrange on plates.
Brussel Sprouts, Walnut & Cranberry Stir-fry
Choose Brussel Sprouts that are as fresh as possible and look like tight round buttons. Take off the outer damaged leaves and using a small sharp knife, make a cross-wise incision at the stalk end of each one. This helps them to cook evenly and as quickly as the leaves.
2lb / 900g Brussel sprouts, outer leaves removed and trimmed
50g (2 oz) walnuts halves, broken into pieces
2 tablespoons rapeseed oil
1 red onion, peeled & finely sliced
10 rindless streaky bacon rashers, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2oz / 50g butter
50g (2 oz) dried cranberries
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place the Brussel sprouts in a pan of lightly salted water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes until tender.
Heat a frying pan and add the walnuts. Cook for a few minutes until evenly toasted, tossing occasionally to prevent them from burning. Tip into a bowl and set aside.
Next, reheat the frying pan. Add the oil and then tip in the onion and bacon. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until the onion has softened and the bacon is beginning to crisp. Stir in the garlic and sauté for another minute or two until the bacon is crisp and lightly golden.
Drain the Brussel sprouts and return to the pan with the butter, tossing until melted. Add the bacon and onion mixture, walnuts and cranberries. Stir until well combined and season to taste.
To Serve Tip the Brussel sprouts with bacon into a warmed serving dish and place directly on the table so that people can help themselves
Sweet potato gratin
This is a variation on my favourite accompaniment. It is great for Christmas day as it can be made in advance and reheated in individual potions on a baking sheet. It also keeps well in a cool oven.
600 ml (1 pint) milk
600 ml (1 pint) cream
4 garlic cloves, crushed
good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
knob of butter
450 g (1 lb) potatoes, peeled
450 g (1 lb) sweet potatoes, peeled (preferably orange-fleshed)
salt and freshly ground white pepper
Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Pour the milk and cream into a pan and add the garlic, nutmeg, parsley and thyme. Season to taste and just heat through but do not allow the mixture to boil, then quickly remove from the heat.
Using a mandolin cutter, thinly slice the potatoes and sweet potatoes, being very careful of your fingers or use the slicing attachment of your food processor as doing them by hand with a sharp knife can be a very laborious task indeed.
Butter a large ovenproof dish. Arrange a third of the potatoes and sweet potatoes in the bottom and season to taste. Add another third of both types of the potatoes in an even layer. Season to taste. Arrange the rest of the white and sweet potatoes on top in an attractive overlapping layer and pour over the milk mixture.
Cover the gratin with a piece of foil and bake for 1 hour until cooked through and lightly golden, then remove the foil and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until the top is bubbling and golden brown.
To serve, divide the white and sweet potato gratin into portions and use as required.
Roasted carrots with garlic and parsley
Roasting vegetables is a fantastic way of feeding a crowd with little effort. They would also be delicious with red onion wedges and a sprinkling of chopped fresh rosemary or experiment with a selection of similarly prepared root vegetables such as celeriac, parsnips or turnips.
500 g (1 lb 2 oz) carrots, scrubbed
2 tablespoons olive oil
caster sugar, to sprinkle
pinch Maldon sea salt
1 garlic bulb, broken into individual cloves
a little balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped flat- leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Cut the carrots into 1 cm (1/2 inch) slices on the diagonal and place in roasting tin. Drizzle with the little olive oil and sprinkle lightly with sugar and salt. Toss well to coat and then roast for 15 minutes.
Remove the carrots from the oven and scatter over the unpeeled garlic, tossing until evenly combined. Roast for another 30 minutes until the carrots and garlic are tender and lightly golden. Drizzle over the balsamic and scatter over chopped parsley, again tossing until evenly coated.
To serve, tip into a warmed dish and use as required.
MULLED FRUIT TRIFLE
150ml (¼ pint) ruby red port
75g (3oz) caster sugar
1 tsp ground mixed spice
500g bag frozen fruits of the forest
200g (7oz) Madeira cake, broken into chunks
300ml (½ pint) cream
FOR THE CUSTARD:
300ml (½ pint) milk
200ml (7fl oz) cream
5 egg yolks
4 tbsp caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
few drops vanilla extract
fresh raspberries, fresh mint ,spun sugar to decorate
To make the custard, Place the milk and cream in a heavy-based pan over a gentle heat and cook until it nearly reaches the boil – but don’t allow to boil. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour, sugar and vanilla essence in a large bowl and whisk together until pale and thickened. Remove the milk and cream mixture from the heat and then slowly whisk it into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour back into the pan and place on a gentle heat. Cook, without allowing to boil, until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin forming on top. Place the ruby red port in a large pan with the sugar and mixed spice and then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes until syrupy, stirring occasionally. Stir in the frozen fruits of the forest and set aside until cooled, stirring occasionally. The fruits should defrost naturally in the hot syrup but still hold their shape.
To assemble the trifle, divide and scatter the madeira cake among the martini glasses, next spoon over the poached fruit and cover with the cooled custard. Whip the cream in a bowl until you have achieved soft peaks and place spoonful’s on top of custard, and then gently spread with a palette knife to cover the custard completely. Chill for 1 hour. To serve, decorate each glass with a fresh raspberry, sprig of mint and spun sugar basket.
SPUN SUGAR BASKET
100g (4oz) caster sugar
1 tsp powdered glucose
Place the sugar, powdered glucose and 120ml (4fl oz) water into a heavy-based pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until the mixture turns a golden caramel colour. Use a pure bristle pastry brush dipped in cold water to brush the inner sides of the pan to prevent sugar crystals forming while simmering. Do not stir the sugar, as this will cause the syrup to crystallise and become hard.
Using a sugar/jam thermometer, cook the syrup until it reaches 140°C (280°F). The sugar syrup should be a thick honey consistency and should not be too runny. It will thicken a little as it cools, but if it gets too thick, simply heat again and it will quickly loosen. Immediately remove from the heat and plunge the base of the pan into cold water to halt the cooking.
Place a liberal amount of groundnut oil over the back of a ladle. When the sugar has become a state of liquid thread, use a spoon to scoop some of the sugar up and weave backwards and forwards over and around your ladle to form a fine and intricate sugar basket. Gently remove the basket from the ladle and repeat until you have enough sugar baskets for your purposes. Arrange on a piece of parchment paper and do not touch until needed.
This should be made about 30 minutes before you want to serve them, otherwise they will start to disintegrate. However, if you store them in an airtight container with a silica gel pack, it will keep for up to 3–4 hours in airtight conditions..
Cranberry & Orange Chutney
100g brown sugar
Rind of 1 orange
100ml orange juice
1 tbsp Cointreau
3 spring onions, chopped
Cranberry and Orange Sauce
Place the cranberries, sugar, orange rind, orange juice, Cointreau and cinnamon into a small pan and simmer gently over a low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the cranberries have softened, stirring occasionally. Keep warm.
To serve place into a small bowl and garnish with the spring onions.