You can’t have the Christmas roast without trimmings and here are a selection for you to try! 🙂
Sticky sausage and rosemary skewers
drizzle of sunflower oil
12 sturdy rosemary sprigs, each about 10cm long
6 rashers streaky bacon
36 cocktail sausages
2 tbsp maple syrup
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Grease a large baking tray with a little oil. To prepare your skewers, remove most of the leaves from each rosemary sprig, keeping a few leaves at the end. Sharpen the other end to a point by cutting it at an angle.
Stretch the bacon by placing it on a chopping board and running the back of a knife along the length. Cut each piece in half across the middle. Thread 3 sausages onto each skewer, weaving a piece of bacon around them as you do. Arrange the skewers on the baking tray and bake for 20 mins. Turn them, brush with maple syrup and return to the oven for 10 mins more until really sticky.
Salted Caramel Parsnips
1kg parsnips, peeled
3 tbsp rapeseed oil
50g golden caster sugar
large knob of butter
1 tsp sea salt
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Halve the parsnips, then cut the thicker end in two lengthways. Boil for 5 mins, then drain well and leave to steam-dry for a few mins. Meanwhile, pour the oil into a shallow roasting tin or a lipped baking tray and heat in the oven for 3 mins.
Remove the tin from the oven and carefully add the parsnips to the hot oil. Turn them to coat, and make sure they aren’t overcrowded (otherwise they won’t crisp up). Roast for 30-35 mins or until golden and crisp, turning them halfway through the cooking time.
About 10 mins before the parsnips are ready, tip the sugar and 2 tbsp water into a small frying pan. Heat very gently until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring the liquid to the boil. Measure 3½ tbsp cold water into a jug. Keep swirling the pan around until the sugar reaches a rich, dark-reddish caramel colour, then remove from the heat. Stand well back and add the water (it will splutter!). Return to the heat, add the butter and the salt, and stir to remove any lumps. The caramel should be runny, so add a splash more water if needed. Pile the parsnips into a serving dish, then drizzle over the salted caramel.
Spiced red cabbage w/ prunes
2 large onions, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mixed spice
900g red cabbage, shredded
150ml stock, made with 1 vegetable or chicken stock cube
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
85g pitted prunes
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
Fry the onion in the oil until beginning to soften. Tip in the mixed spice, then fry a few seconds more. Add the remaining ingredients. Season, then stir well. Cover and simmer for 20 mins, stirring every now and then, until tender.
Pepper and honey roasted roots
3 tbsp olive oil
5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into long slices
1 large celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks
5 parsnips, peeled and cut into long sticks
2 tbsp clear honey
2 tsp black peppercorns, roughly cracked
Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Heat oil in a roasting tin on top of the stove, then throw in the vegetables and fry for 5-8 mins until they begin to brown. Place the tray in the oven for 40-50 mins, shaking pan occasionally until golden brown and soft.
Stir the honey, pepper and a sprinkling of salt into the vegetables, then return to the oven for 5 mins to warm the honey through.
Buttery sage and onion sprouts
3 onions, cut into thickish slices
8 sage leaves, chopped
350g Brussels sprouts
200g frozen peas
Heat half the butter in a large frying pan and soften the onions over a low heat for about 15 mins until really soft – but don’t let it brown. Add most of the sage. Meanwhile, cook the sprouts in a pan of boiling water for about 4 mins, add the peas and cook for 1 min more until just tender.
Drain, reserving a splash of the water, then add the sprouts and peas to the onions, along with the rest of the butter, stirring well so that all the veg gets coated in the butter. Add the reserved cooking water if it looks a bit dry. Season with lots of black pepper and some salt. Serve with the reserved sage on top.
Chestnut, bacon and cranberry stuffing
100g dried cranberries
50ml ruby port
1 small onion, chopped
2 rashers unsmoked back bacon, cut into strips
2 garlic cloves, chopped
140g fresh white or brown breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
½ tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
140g peeled, cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped
1 medium egg, lightly beaten
Soak the cranberries in the port for an hour. Fry the onion and bacon gently in the butter, until the onion is tender and the bacon is cooked. Add the garlic and fry for another minute or so. Cool slightly, then mix with all the remaining ingredients, including the cranberries and port, adding enough egg to bind – I find it easiest to use my hands. Fry a knob of stuffing in a little butter, taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
To Cook: This stuffing can be baked in a dish, or rolled into balls that will be crisp on the outside and moist inside. To bake, press the stuffing into a greased ovenproof dish in a layer that is around 4cm thick. Bake at 190C/gas 5/fan 170C for about 40 minutes, until browned and, in the case of sausagemeat stuffing, cooked right through. Alternatively, roll into balls that are about 4cm in diameter. Roast the stuffing balls in hot fat (they can be tucked around the turkey or done in a roasting tin of their own) for 30-40 minutes, until crisp and nicely browned on the outside
floury potatoes, such as Cara or King Edward, cut fairly small – roughly egg size
sunflower or groundnut oil
Par-boil the potatoes in gently boiling salted water for about 8 minutes. Stop cooking before they’re cooked right through.
Leave to cool completely, then scratch roughly with a fork and season with a little fine salt.
Only roast around the joint if there is plenty of fat – at least ½cm/¾in in the tin – and plenty of room. It’s better to preheat the oil in a separate pan, adding any beef fat from the roasting tin just before the potatoes go in. Don’t add the potatoes until the oil is sizzling hot. Baste or turn the potatoes (carefully) as soon as they go into the pan so they have a light coating of oil from the start.
Roast for the last 45 minutes of your joint’s cooking time, turning at least once. If they look like they could use a bit more browning/crisping, leave them in after the joint has come out to rest, while you increase the heat for the Yorkshire pudding.
Then, when the preheated pudding tin is ready you’ll have to decide whether the potatoes come out, or stay in for the full 15 minutes of pudding time. Drain well and keep in a warm oven, uncovered and not too piled on top of each other. Season again with salt and pepper before serving
(Credits: Cassie Best, Good Food Magazine, Sarah Buenfeld, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, JJMoola’s Kitchen)