Roast Turkey: We are going for one of the Extra Large Frozen Turkeys from Sainsbury's this year as they are on special offer and this is being done on a budget this year. I would have liked to cook a goose but for the numbers we are talking about this was cost prohibitive. Season the bird with Basil, Parsley, Thyme and a little Salt and pepper, mixed in with oil and baste the breast with this. Place the stuffed bird in a large roasting tray and make a tent out of foil around it. I cook it to begin with on gas mark 5 and then raise the temperature a mark every hour that I am cooking. Finally I remove the tent for the last half hour to give it a golden brown breast. If your bird is stuffed properly this method will not dry your Turkey out. It will also give you some wonderful juices to make the meat gravy.
Stuffing: This always seems to be a bit of an issue for me as I have some people who don't eat pork, others who are allergic to nuts, which makes the traditional 'in bird' stuffing of Sausage meat Onions, Chestnuts, plum and herbs stuffing difficult. Instead I making a fruit sage and onion stuffing out of a minced duck breast, Onions, breadcrumbs sage, onion, thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil, plums an egg and cranberries salt, pepper and hot water.
Im keeping some of that mixture back to and then add chestnuts to it which I'll cook separately for those who like nut stuffing and then I'll make another batch without the duck breast for vegetarians.
Roast potatoes: I cook these separate from the Turkey to make them vegetarian friendly. Part boil the potatoes then let them sit. Add flour Thyme, Rosemary, Salt and Pepper to some sieved flour and toss the potatoes in this. Then add them to a roasting tray of vegetable oil. Half way through cooking remove most of the oil, total cooking time 45 minutes. About 20 minutes before the end add some parsnips.
Nut Roast: This is the Vegetarian main course, so I won't stimp on it. Make a Tofu shell out of soft Tofu, by placing some kitchen paper in a metal sieve and then pressing the tofu into the sieve to make a thin dome. Place more kitchen paper into the hollow and then place it in a fridge to dry out for 2 hours. Make a stuffing mix out of chestnuts, breadcrumbs, onion, tamarind, ginger, sage, parsley, basil, oregano, Tarragon, salt, pepper, carrot, and basically anything else that you think will work. When the shell is dry remove the kitchen paper from the hollow, and spoon in the stuffing. Reverse and empty the now stuffed shell onto a plate and smear it with BBQ sauce (vegetarian friendly BBQ sauce!). Finally cover the BBQ sauce with chestnuts and cook for 25 minutes. If it needs it, just place it under a grill to get a golden brown colour.
Carrots: Carrots are great for adding colour but are a bit boring. I steam them using Thyme and Ginger, which gives them a little bit of bite and makes them a bit different.
Peas: There isn't too much I know of that you can do with peas and so I boil them in water with salt sage. The sage gives them a nice fresh taste.
Sprouts: You either love em or hate em. Just to be different again, Im going to blanche my sprouts in water and then pan fry them briefly in olive oil, with ginger and Thyme. Believe it or not this does make them considerably more enjoyable. Try it!
Yorkshire Pudding: Its very English and not essential but I like it and so does my family. For fifteen I would add three cups of sieved flour to 2 eggs and 3 cups of milk. Add salt and whisk to a batter. The secret to these savoury puddings is to add oil to your metal baking tins (I like the ones that make sixteen little ones but it also works for grandma style large puddings), and ensure that this is very hot before you add the batter. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes or until they have risen and look golden. As long as your oil is hot they will rise, and be easy to remove from the tray when you are ready to serve.
Meat Gravy: Chop up some plums and simmer them in a pan for an hour or so. The idea is so that you get a really hot juicy stock. Remove the meat juices from the pan whilst the Turkey is standing. Add flour to make a roux. Add the Plum stock, and some thyme. Simmer until it thickens, add browning if you need it or want it. If you need to thicken it up just add some more Flour.
Veggie Gravy. I tend to cheat here, and simply add some of the plum stock to Veggie Bisto gravy granuals. By the time I’m ready to do this, its usually dinner time and I’ve been cooking for hours so hopefully I’ll get away with it. I’ve done it many times in the past and never had any complaints.
That’s the main course. Desserts later.