With Christmas around the corner, I decided to share my favourite Christmas Day lunch recipes. If you are a vegetarian, I beg you not to read on …
To put you at ease, you will only see unedited and unfiltered images of the preparations and the final meals below.
If you think turducken is ridiculously decadent – you are right!
It may look like a monstrous dish but, if done right, it is a taste sensation, and your guests will talk about it years later. There are as many versions of turducken as homes that make it for Christmas. My version incorporates a homemade Italian style pork sausage mix as stuffing.
Of course many butchers and stores sell pre-prepared turducken, and some of them are passable, but most will not compare in taste to a homemade version.
If possible, get free range birds and pork – the flavour will reward you.
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 litres water
500g ground pork (sausage) meat
1 large brown onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, crushed
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sage leaves, chopped
1 cup fresh oregano,chopped
1 loaf of sliced white bread
3 medium eggs, beaten
3-4kg turkey, skin intact and boned except for drumsticks – you can ask your butcher to bone your birds
1.5-8kg duck, boned
1.5-8kg chicken, boned
1/2 cup salt
1/8 cup black pepper
1 head of garlic crushed
200g smoked speck, thinly sliced
You can skip the brining if you are pressed for time. Otherwise, mix the salt and sugar with room temperature water, until completely dissolved. Pour the brine over the birds and rest them in the refrigerator overnight.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the chopped onions until it’s glassy and soft. Add the crushed garlic, stir for 2-3 minutes, then add all the herbs and spices and cook for about 5 minutes, until fragrant and let it cool.
In the meantime soak the bread slices in water.
Now mix the cooled down onion mix with the ground pork sausage meat. Squeeze the water out of the white bread slices and crumble them into the meat mixture. Add the eggs and mix it all together gently.
Preheat the oven to 220°C fan forced.
Lay down your boned turkey skin side up, gently separate the skin from the meat, and stuff under the skin evenly with thinly sliced butter and smoked speck – this will stop the breast from drying out.
Turn the turkey over, now skin side down. Rub the meat with crushed garlic, season with salt and black pepper and add a layer of the Italian sausage stuffing.
Lay duck skin side down on top of stuffing. Again, rub with crushed garlic, season with salt and black pepper and add another layer of the stuffing.
Repeat with the chicken.
This will be a ‘Frankenstein creation’ and you will have to either truss or sew the turkey up for the roasting. The best solution will depend on the size of your bird, and how full it is with stuffing.
To finish, tie together the turkey legs to make it look like a standard roast turkey – this will also help the turducken to retain shape during roasting.
Dust the turkey skin with paprika and cover with thin slices of butter.
Roast the turducken for 20 minutes uncovered. Then turn the oven down to 180°C and roast for a further 3 hours covered with aluminium foil (if you are also glazing a ham for Christmas, you can use the skin from the ham instead of aluminium foil for an extra taste sensation), then uncover and roast for another 30-40 minutes until crispy and brown.
Carefully remove the turducken from oven, once the internal temperature in the inner chicken layer reaches 80°C.
Let the birds rest for at least 20 minutes before carving. Enjoy!
Glazed ham is glorious. It’s sweet, and sticky, with the goodness of ham flavour. It’s not just for Christmas lunch. The leftovers will make fabulous guilty pleasures of ham and fried eggs breakfasts leading up to New Year’s Eve, and on New Year’s Day when you will need that little bit of grease the most …
You need to start with a good, free range ham. In Australia a Berkshire ham is your best bet. My preferred glazes are plum or cherry based.
Depending on the number of guests, or meals you wish to get out of your glazed ham, you can do a full or a half ham.
4 cups plum or cherry jam (French variety if available)
1/2 cup apple juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup honey
Leg ham (full or half)
Combine the jam, juice, sugar and mustard in a small saucepan. Simmer for 5-10 minutes until the glaze has thickened slightly.
Preheat the oven to 160°C, or 140°C if you use the fan.
Meanwhile, cut the skin from around the shank of the ham, about 10 centimetres from the knuckle. Remove the skin in one piece starting at the base of the ham, leaving all the fat behind (if you are also roasting a turkey for Christmas, you can use this skin from the ham instead of aluminium foil to cover the breast of the turkey to stop it from drying out, and for an extra ham flavour hit).
Using a sharp knife score the fat on the ham in a diamond pattern. Place the ham in a large baking pan. Spoon over it a quarter of the glaze. Stud the diamonds of fat of on the ham with cloves, and bake for about 2 hours, basting with the reserved glaze every 30 minutes.
Slice the ham and serve it with a variety of mustards, horseradish and chutney.
Citrus, dill and anis seed cured salmon
With all the roast meats we tend to consume at Christmas, it’s nice to have something light and fresh.
That’s where a nice cured salmon comes in. You can do this recipe with a couple of salmon fillets or with an entire salmon … if you are preparing a full salmon, multiply the ingredients below by four.
1 bunch of dill
1 whole anise seed
Salmon (2 filets or a whole salmon)
In a blender process the juice of the lemons and limes, the anise seed and half of the dill.
Place your salmon in a ceramic dish, cover with the marinade and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.
Remove the salmon from the marinade and pat dry. Chop the remaining dill finely (hold back some for garnishing later).
Lay down a sheet of glad wrap for each piece of salmon, sprinkle with the finely chopped dill and roll up the fillets tightly so that each side of the salmon is well covered by dill. Refrigerate again for about 24 hours.
Remove from glad wrap, slice thinly and arrange on plate.
Drizzle Creme fraiche over the salmon and garnish with dill and baby capers.
This meaty, creamy potato salad is a family tradition and has been a big hit with friends for years. It’s served cold, and provides a nice balance to the roasted meats and glazed ham.
You should always prepare your potato salad a day or two before you intend to serve it, and keep it in the fridge so the flavours can come together.
3kg even-sized chat potatoes
500g smoked speck
1 cup of whole-egg mayonnaise
2 cups of sour cream
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
1 cup of chopped fresh dill
1 cup of chopped fresh continental parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat. Boil, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until tender when pierced with a skewer.
Drain, then set aside for about 30 minutes to cool completely. Cut in half (or quarter, depending on their size) and place in a large serving bowl.
Heat a small non-stick frying pan over high heat. Cut the speck into bite sized pieces and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Remove from the heat, drain the fat and let it cool.
Combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon mustard and three-quarters of the dill and parsley.
Add the fried smoked speck to the bowl with the potatoes. Gently toss to combine. Add the sour-cream mixture and gently toss to combine.
Taste and season with salt and pepper. Put your salad in the fridge for a day or two, so the flavours combine.
Before serving, place the eggs in a small saucepan of cold water. Bring to the boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and gently boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes for medium-hard boiled. Drain and cool under cold running water. Peel, quarter and set aside.
Arrange the quartered boiled eggs on top, sprinkle with the remaining dill and parsley, and dust with smoked paprika.
Call me old-fashioned, but Christmas is just not Christmas without a nice, freshly made jug of highly alcoholic eggnog. Just keep that ‘troubled’ uncle or aunty away from it …
Fresh eggnog is surprisingly easy to make, but you must pay attention while preparing it because it curdles easily. You should prepare this the day before you plan to serve it.
8 cups of milk
10 whole cloves
5 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
24 egg yolks
3 cups sugar
5 cups light rum (Bacardi)
8 cups light cream
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine the milk, the cloves, 3 teaspoons of the vanilla extract and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over the lowest setting for about 5 minutes and bring the milk mixture to a very slow boil.
In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks and the sugar, and whisk together until fluffy. Whisk the warm milk mixture slowly into the eggs mixture.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over a medium to low heat, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes, or until starts to thicken.
Do not allow the mixture to boil!
Strain the mixture to remove the cloves, and let it cool for about an hour. Stir in the rum, the cream, the remaining vanilla essence and the nutmeg.
Refrigerate the eggnog overnight before serving.
My Christmas trifle is a modern variation on the old-school trifle.
It’s light and sweet and the perfect way to wrap up a Christmas Day lunch.
1.5kg fresh cherries (you can substitute frozen or Maraschino cherries if fresh cherries are not available)
3 cups of sugar
2 1/2-3 tablespoons of gelatine powder
2 cups of milk
2 cups of thickened cream
2 vanilla beans
8 egg yolks
2 tablespoon of corn flour
2/3 cup of caster sugar
200g slivered almonds
200 on marzipan
200g fresh peeled pistachios (optional)
1 packet of sponge finger biscuits
300ml of good quality sherry (this can be substituted with a sweet cherry liquor or Cointreau, depending on your taste)
Cream for whipped cream
Wash the cherries and remove the stems. There is no need to pit them. In a large cooking pot crush the cherries, using your potato masher.
If using fresh cherries, add 1 cup of water and 3 cups of sugar. If using frozen or Maraschino cherries, you won’t need to add extra water.
Bring the cherries to the boil over high heat, reduce the heat and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes. Strain the juice, let it cool, and discard the pits and skin. You should end up with about a litre of fresh cherry juice.
Slowly add the gelatine powder to about 150ml of cold water in a small bowl, while whisking it with a fork. Wait until the mixture becomes spongy, in about 5 minutes. Then, using a whisk, mix in about 250 ml of the cooling, but still warm cherry juice, making sure the gelatine is completely dissolved. Then whisk the gelatine mix into the rest of the cherry juice. Never boil liquid with gelatine in it!
Split three-quarters of the mixture evenly between the highball glasses you will be using for your individual trifles. Pour the rest in a shallow baking tray. Then put them in the fridge so the jelly can set.
Add the milk and cream to a small saucepan. Split the vanilla beans in half lengthways using a sharp knife, scrape out the seeds, and add both the beans and the seeds to the milk mixture.
Place the saucepan over a medium heat, and cook it while stirring it constantly until hot. Do not allow the mixture to boil! Remove the saucepan from the stove.
Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornflower in a bowl until well combined. Remove the vanilla beans from the milk mixture and pour it over the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly to make sure it’s a smooth liquid.
Return the custard mixture into the saucepan over a low heat. Cook it again, stirring constantly, for about 15 to 20 minutes – until the custard thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon. Do not allow the custard to boil, because it will curdle. Let the custard cool.
Place the sponge finger biscuits in a baking tray in a single layer and sprinkle them generously with the sherry.
Chop the marzipan into small cubes.
Roast the slivered almonds (and the fresh pistachios if using them) in a tray in the oven at 180°C for 5-10 minutes, until they are golden brown.
Cut into cubes the cherry jelly which was set in the baking tray.
Whip the cream.
Once the cherry jelly is set in the glasses and the tray, spoon a little vanilla custard into the glasses, then add some sherry soaked sponge fingers and sprinkle with some cubed marzipan and the extra cubes of cherry jelly (and pistachios if using them).
Keep layering the vanilla custard, the sherry soaked sponge fingers, marzipan and cherry jelly cubes (and pistachios if using them) until you get to the top of the glass.
Add a little whipped cream on the top, and sprinkle it with the roasted slivers of almonds.
Voilà, Christmas trifle …