Entertain

Classic Christmas Side Dishes

Hopefully my recipe for our Christmas Turkey with Pear and Chestnut stuffing will have given some of you a bit of inspiration and help with the ‘what on earth am I going to cook on Christmas Day’ anxiety.

For me, whilst Christmas is absolutely a time to take the brakes off, it doesn’t mean that you need to go overboard in terms of the volume of things you need to create. Do a few things well and everyone will be happy, well-fed and you won’t look like a mess at the end of the day. Winning!

With that in mind, here are a few simple sides to accompany your main on Christmas Day.

Classic Roasted Potatoes

Let’s start with the most controversial of Christmas topics… roast potatoes. I know, I know. Everyone has their own tried and tested method which has been passed down the generations, but this is mine and I love it because it’s super simple and works a charm. The trick is to keep the potatoes moist and not overcook them when boiling. Potatoes have a high water content naturally, so if you blast them, they’ll lose this and become really dry when you roast them.

Prep Time: 15 mins   |    Cook Time: 40 mins   |    Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1.2 kilo King Edwards or Maris Piper Potatoes
  • 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil or duck fat
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Peel your potatoes and cut into 2.5 cm chunks, or quarters if not too large; you just want a nice even size for all.
  2. Pour water and a good amount of salt into a pot, add potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook for a total of 15 minutes (from turning the flame/heat on). Once the water boils, it will take about 5 minutes to cook in total – do not cook all the way, just enough so that a knife can pierce it.
  3. Drain potatoes and give a good shake to roughen edges.
  4. Place 3 tbsp vegetable oil on a large roasting pan and place it in the oven at 225C. Roast for 20 minutes, flip potatoes, and cook for a further 20 minutes or until golden.
  5. Remove and season with salt and pepper, serve in a bowl.

Honey Glazed Baby Carrots and Parsnips with Fresh Rosemary and Thyme

Still on the veggies, I like to brighten up my plate with a side of Honey Glazed Baby Carrots and Parsnips (it wouldn’t taste like Christmas without them), topped with Fresh Rosemary and Thyme.

You can use any carrots you like, but I prefer to use heritage or rainbow carrots to create a feast for the eyes, as well as the tummy.

Prep Time: 10 mins   |    Cook Time: 10 mins   |    Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 400g baby rainbow carrots or heritage carrots, peeled
  • 300g baby parsnips, peeled and cut in half
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 sprig of fresh thyme, picked
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped

Method:

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add your carrots and parsnips.
  2. Cook for 4 minutes until just tender. Once cooked, drain from the pot and pat dry
  3. Melt butter in a pan and then sauté your vegetables for 3-4 minutes on medium high heat.
  4. Add 1-2 tbsp honey salt and pepper (you may need to cook in batches for this)
  5. Remove from the pan and sprinkle with herbs.

Sloe Gin and Cranberry Sauce

Now for the side with a special Weymouth twist. I love cranberry sauce, I don’t trust people who don’t! Kidding, but seriously, who doesn’t love the stuff, so over the years, I’ve developed a recipe which includes Sloe Gin as it gives a nice twist to the classic recipe. The alcohol burns off, but the sweet, warm, seasonal flavour lingers and is really, really lovely.

Prep Time: 5 mins   |    Cook Time: 10-15 mins   |    Serves: 6 (yields about 465g)

Ingredients:

  • 450g cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 50ml sloe gin
  • 1 tangerine, zest and juice (approx 50 ml juice – reserve 1 tbsp zest for garnish)
  • 75g white sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp zest (for garnish)
  1. Place all ingredients in a heavy gauged saucepan and bring to boil
  2. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for about 10-15 minutes.
  3. Remove and serve in your preferred bowl.
  4. Garnish with zest.

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EMMA WEYMOUTH
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