Saturday 20 January 2018

Gordon Ramsay's perfect Christmas dinner

If your turkey turns out dry and your vegetables are dull, follow Gordon Ramsay's guide for a Christmas dinner to remember, says Sarah O'Meara

Pannacotta with pomegranate glaze

Sarah O'Meara

According to Gordon Ramsay, he's always inundated with queries about serving food at Christmas.

"I'm asked about what to serve at parties, the secret to the perfect roast, even what to do with leftovers," he writes in his most recent festive cooking guide Christmas With Gordon.

His response? Make a simple plan and stick to it. Or you can simply follow Ramsay's recipes and serve your family a memorable Christmas dinner...


(Serves 8)

1 large or 2 medium cauliflower(s), about 1.2kg
25g butter
1tbsp olive oil
1 large potato, about 250g, peeled and roughly chopped
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1.2 litres chicken or vegetable stock
400ml whole milk
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
100ml double cream

For the croutons:
2tbsp olive oil or goose fat
2 slices day-old country-style bread, about 50g, cut into cubes

To finish:
Truffle-infused oil, to drizzle

Remove the stalk from the cauliflower and then cut into florets.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan, then tip in the cauliflower florets, potato and onion.

Cover and sweat for about 10 minutes over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened but not coloured.

Pour in the stock and bring to the boil.

Add the milk with some seasoning and return to a simmer.

Now simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes until all of the vegetables are soft. Add the cream and remove from the heat.

Purée the soup using a free-standing or hand-held stick blender until smooth.

For the croutons, heat the olive oil or goose fat in a frying pan over a medium heat.

Add the bread cubes and fry until golden and crisp, turning frequently.

Drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with a little sea salt.

Return the soup to a clean pan, check the seasoning and reheat gently.

Ladle into warmed bowls, drizzle over a little truffle oil and scatter a few croutons on top. Serve immediately.


(Serves 8-10)

1 free-range turkey (ideally Norfolk Black or Bronze), about 5-5.5kg
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 onions, peeled and halved
1 lemon, halved
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
6 bay leaves
Olive oil, to drizzle
8 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

For the lemon, parsley and garlic butter:
375g butter, at room temperature
1tbsp olive oil
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 small lemons
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped

Preheat the oven to 220C/Gas 7.

Meanwhile, prepare the herb butter.

Put the butter into a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Add the olive oil and mix well.

Add the lemon zest and juice, crushed garlic and chopped parsley. Mix well to combine.

Remove the giblets from the turkey cavity.

Season the cavity well with salt and pepper, then stuff with the onions, lemon, garlic halves and 2 bay leaves.

With your hands, loosen the skin on the breast from both ends of the bird so that you will be able to stuff the flavoured butter underneath it, making sure you keep the skin intact.

Repeat with the skin on the legs - from the lower side of the breast feel your way under the skin and out towards the leg, loosening the gap.

Stuff half the butter mix into the opened spaces under the skin.

From the outside of the skin, gently massage the butter around the breasts so that the meat is evenly covered.

Finally, insert the rest of the bay leaves under the skin of the breasts.

Place the bird in a large roasting tray, breast side up.

Spread the rest of the butter all over the skin.

Season well with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a little olive oil. (If preparing a day ahead, cover the turkey with foil and refrigerate at this stage.)

Roast the turkey in the hot oven for 10-15 minutes.

Take the tray out of the oven, baste the bird with the pan juices and lay the bacon rashers over the breast to keep it moist. Baste again.

Lower the setting to 180C/Gas 4 and cook for about 2½ hours (calculating at 30 minutes per kg), basting occasionally.

To test whether your turkey is cooked, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the leg and check that the juices are running clear, rather than pink.

As oven temperatures and turkey shapes and sizes vary, it is crucial to check your turkey about 30 minutes before the calculated roasting time.

If the juices are pink, roast for another 15 minutes and check again. Repeat as necessary until the turkey is cooked.

Transfer the turkey to a warmed platter and remove the parson's nose, wings and tips of the drumsticks; reserve these for the gravy.

Leave the turkey to rest in a warm place for at least 45 minutes; make the gravy in the meantime.

Remove the bay leaves from under the skin before carving.

Serve the turkey with the piping hot gravy, stuffing and accompaniments.


(Serves 6-8)

500g parsnips
500g carrots
2-3tbsp olive oil
Few thyme sprigs
1 cinnamon stick, broken in two
3 star anise
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2tbsp clear honey
Splash of water
Few knobs of butter

Peel and halve or quarter the parsnips and carrots so that the pieces are of a similar size.

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan, then add the carrots and parsnips and toss to coat in the oil.

Add the thyme, cinnamon, star anise and some seasoning.

Cook over a medium heat for 15-20 minutes, turning the vegetables frequently, until golden brown and almost cooked through.

Drizzle over the honey and cook until the vegetables start to caramelise.

Deglaze the pan with the water and increase the heat.

Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the liquid has evaporated and the carrots and parsnips are cooked through.

Stir through a few knobs of butter to glaze.


(Serves 4)

2 medium sheets leaf gelatine (11 x 7.5cm)
250ml double cream
50g caster sugar
50ml milk
15ml dark rum, or to taste

For the pomegranate glaze:
20g caster sugar
275ml pomegranate juice
Block of good quality dark chocolate, for grating

Soak the gelatine in a shallow dish of cold water for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, put the cream, sugar, milk and rum into a saucepan and slowly bring to a simmer.

Heat gently for 30 seconds, then remove the pan from the heat.

Taste for flavour, adding a little more rum if you wish.

Squeeze the gelatine leaves to remove excess water, then add them to the cream mixture and stir until fully dissolved.

Tip the mixture into a jug.

Now pour into 4 individual glass dishes, leaving enough room for the glaze.

Leave to cool, then place the glasses in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours, or overnight if preparing ahead.

To make the pomegranate glaze, heat a dry frying pan.

Tip the sugar into the hot pan followed by the pomegranate juice.

Bring to the boil and allow to bubble for 10-15 minutes, until thickened to a sticky, syrupy glaze. Pour into a small jug and leave to cool completely.

Pop the chocolate in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before serving.

Pour the cooled pomegranate glaze on top of the chilled pannacottas.

Take the chocolate from the freezer and draw a small straight-edged knife along the flat side of the bar to make curled shavings.

Top each pannacotta with chocolate shavings to serve.

Christmas With Gordon is published by Quadrille, priced £15. Available now

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