Recipes for Christmas stuffing, plus more festive food

Goose makes a good alternative to turkey for Christmas dinner [Photo - Dar1930]

Goose makes a good alternative to turkey for Christmas dinner [Photo - Dar1930] - Credit: Archant

Evelyn Curtis offers up some tasty seasonal recipes for the Christmas period, including turkey stuffing, whisky peppercorn gravy, party punch and more...

The bird of the month

Roast turkey with all the trimmings is a must for most families on Christmas Day, but duck and goose make interesting alternatives. I recently read that the renaissance of goose as the gourmet choice for Christmas has resulted in complete sell-outs of fresh geese in many areas in recent years. Part of the appeal of goose stems from the fact that it’s a seasonal treat, only available from September to December, which makes it distinctly different from its rivals for Christmas.

Duck is also more readily available today, while goose has been overtaken by turkey as the traditional Christmas bird. Roasted carefully, duck and goose are delicious, and this month’s recipe for orange stuffing goes equally well with either. But if the traditional turkey is your choice, we have a delicious stuffing to go with your bird, which, I’m sure you will agree, is a winner with the whisky peppercorn gravy.

ORANGE STUFFING FOR DUCK

Ingredients:

2 medium sized onions, finely chopped.

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2 celery sticks, cleaned and chopped.

50g butter. 50g fresh brown bread-crumbs.

2 lemons.

3 oranges.

Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

1 large egg.

Method:

Melt butter over a low heat.

Add onions and celery and cook lightly for 2 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl and add breadcrumbs.

Grate zest from lemons and extract juice, then add to bowl.

Grate zest and extract juice from 1 orange – add to bowl.

Skin and divide the other oranges into segments.

Chop the flesh and add to bowl.

Add salt and pepper.

Beat egg separately and mix in to bind the stuffing.

To stuff goose increase the ingredients by half.

TURKEY STUFFING

Ingredients:

450g minced pork.

4 chicken livers, chopped.

1 large tin of chestnuts (approx. 439g) chopped.

110g fresh brown bread-crumbs.

2 celery sticks, chopped.

1 onion grated.

1 clove garlic, crushed.

25g butter.

Grated rind of 1 lemon.

4 tablespoons chopped parsley.

3 medium eggs.

4-5 tablespoons brandy.

Salt and pepper to taste.

Method:

Fry chopped chicken livers and mix with the other ingredients.

Stir in the brandy and eggs and season well.

Stuff turkey in the usual way, or make into small balls and place around the turkey, or in a separate dish to cook for about 25 minutes, basting well.

WHISKY PEPPERCORN GRAVY

Ingredients:

Giblets from turkey.

2 litres (3½ pints) of water.

1 onion.

1 carrot.

Few peppercorns.

Bunch of mixed herbs.

Small wine glass whisky.

25g flour.

150ml (¼ pint) single cream.

Method:

Place giblets in large pan, add water, onion, carrot, peppercorns and herbs.

Bring to the boil, then simmer for one hour.

Skim off scum that rises to the surface. You should end up with approximately 600-800ml (1-1½ pints) of stock.

Use pan that turkey has been cooked in, straining off the fat, and pour in whisky and stir.

Boil for 2 minutes, stir in flour.

Gradually add the strained stock, stirring well.

Then pour in the cream, stirring to give a smooth gravy.

Strain into a gravy boat.

LET’S HAVE A PARTY!

With Christmas round the corner, now is a good time to start planning your menus for the day itself. Some of you may also be having buffet parties, and here are some ideas to help your party go with a swing.

CHEESY BITES

Serve these tasty morsels with drinks when unexpected friends arrive.

Ingredients:

110g margarine.

80g Cheddar cheese.

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan.

110g plain flour.

¾ teaspoon salt.

½ teaspoon ground cumin.

1 teaspoon chilli powder.

1 beaten egg.

Sesame seeds (or your choice).

Method:

Blend margarine, Cheddar and Parmesan in a food processor or by hand in a bowl with a large fork.

Sift flour, salt, ground cumin and chilli powder and sprinkle over cheese mixture.

Work together quickly until the mixture forms a ball, then use your hands to knead.

Wrap in a plastic bag and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll out on a floured surface into about ¼ inch thickness, cut into triangles or fingers, place bites on a lined baking tray and chill for 30 minutes.

Brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake in preheated oven 180C, 350F, Gas Mark 4 for about 20 minutes until crisp and golden.

Cool on tray and store in an airtight container.

TASTY SAUSAGE ROLLS

I make these sausage rolls with short crust pastry instead of flaky, and find they taste just as good and are very popular at Christmas time, they freeze well too.

(Makes 24)

Ingredients:

225g self-raising flour.

150g margarine and lard mixed.

1 tablespoon water.

Filling:

450g pork sausage meat.

2 teaspoons finely chopped onion.

2 teaspoons chopped sage (use 1 teaspoon if using dried sage).

A little marmite or vegetable stock.

Method:

Make short crust pastry and roll out to about 20.5cm x 25.5cm (8 inches x 10 inches) and cut into two pieces.

Mix sausage meat with chopped onion and sage and moisten with stock.

Make two long sausages of meat mixture and place each roll on right-hand side of each piece of pastry.

Fold over left-hand side and press damp edges together.

Cut into required sausage roll size to make approximately 24, beginning in the middle, score diagonally.

Place on an ungreased tray, brush with beaten egg or milk, and bake in preheated oven 200C, 400F, Gas Mark 6 for 25-30 minutes.

(Taken from my cookbook ‘Step Into My Kitchen Through The Year’)

PARTY PUNCH

Ingredients:

850ml (1½ pts) red grape juice.

2 cinnamon sticks.

2 litres (3½ pts) lemonade.

1 tsp orange bitters.

Juice of half a lemon.

Juice of 2 oranges.

½ cucumber, sliced.

Orange slices.

Mint sprigs

Ice cubes.

Method:

Heat 150ml (¼ pt) grape juice and the cinnamon sticks.

Cool.

Add to a large bowl with all the remaining ingredients.

Serve ladled into cups or glasses.

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Cheers, and a very happy and peaceful Christmas to everyone!

Evelyn Curtis.

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