Still haven’t quite got your Christmas menu sorted? Recently my housemate Miss R and I hosted our families for a sit down dinner that might give you some inspiration. Given there were 20 of us, we made the main dishes and asked people to bring the sides. But of course I couldn’t help myself and made a couple of my own as well ;)
I made my first ever brined turkey with amazing results, went old fashioned with a cranberry glazed ham, and turned some ready-cooked king prawns into something special with some hot herb butter. For sides, I put a modern spin on your regular roast corn with some aioli and parmesan, and turned a $2 bag of nectarines into a great summertime salad with gorgonzola and rocket.
800g fine salt
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 onions, peeled and sliced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 leeks, peeled and sliced
50ml white wine
15g fresh rosemary leaves
15g fresh thyme leaves
- Remove the wing tips and reserve along with the neck for gravy.
- Place the salt and 10 litres of cold water in a large tub big enough to fit the turkey. Stir the water until the salt dissolves.
- Place the turkey in the brine breast side down and leave in the fridge for 12 hours.
- Remove turkey from the brine and submerge in fresh cold water for 1 hour, changing the water every 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 210C. Using your hands, work the skin away from the breast meat, careful not to tear the skin. Push 100g of the butter under the skin, rubbing any remaining butter over the skin.
- In a large baking tray, place the onions, carrot, leeks and white wine. Place the turkey on top and season with salt and pepper.
- Place the turkey in a hot oven and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 130C and cook for a further 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until the juices run clear when you prick a skewer into the leg. Alternatively, use a meat thermometer and cook until the internal temperature reaches 70C.
- Allow the turkey to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving, reserving the pan juices for the gravy.
CRANBERRY & BOURBON GLAZED HAM
4kg half leg of ham
100g cranberry jam
35g brown sugar
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
- Preheat oven to 180C.
- Using a sharp knife, trace around the fatty white area of the ham, making a cut around the ham shank. Using your fingers, carefully remove the skin over the fat. Use your knife to score a diamond pattern into the fat.
- In a small saucepan, combine the cranberry jam, brown sugar, bourbon, red wine vinegar, cinnamon and ground allspice. Simmer for 10 minutes until thickened slightly. Brush half the glaze over the ham, reserving the other half for basting. Stud a clove in each corner of the diamond pattern.
- Place ham on a lined baking tray and bake in a moderate oven for 20-30 minutes or until beginning to caramelise. Baste the ham with the remaining glaze and return to the oven for another 20-30 minutes or until golden.
- Slice the ham thinly and serve hot or cold.
W/ ROSEMARY & THYME BUTTER
2kg cooked king prawns, shelled
2 tbsp rosemary leaves, chopped
2 tbsp thyme leaves, chopped
- Arrange the prawns on a serving tray.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Add the herbs and season with a little salt. Pour the hot butter over the prawns and serve immediately.
W/ AIOLI & PARMESAN
12 cobs of corn, peeled
2 tbsp dijon mustard
juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
300ml canola oil
100g finely grated parmesan
- In a food processor, place the egg, mustard, lemon juice and garlic and process until well combined. With the motor running, gradually pour in the canola oil until you have a thick aioli. Season with salt to taste.
- Heat a large griddle pan or BBQ until smoking hot. Rub the corn with oil and place on the hot grill, turning until slightly charred on all sides. Remove from grill.
- Brush each of the corn with a few tablespoons of the aioli and sprinkle with parmesan.
NECTARINE & GORGONZOLA SALAD
6 nectarines, deseeded and cut into wedges
200g gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
200g rocket leaves
10 sage leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- In a bowl, combine the nectarines, gorgonzola and rocket.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sage leaves and fry until golden. Mix the sage leaves with the salad, olive oil and vinegar.