Christmas Day is very nearly upon us, but says Keelham Farm Shop, it is not all about turkey and beef, what about turning vegetables into something delicious? And now is the time to think ahead, as these dishes will keep for up to three days.
KEELHAM Farm Shop likes to think its not just a mouth watering turkey joint, or prime cut of beef, that should be the stars of the show on Christmas Day.
It believes with so much fantastic home grown produce on its doorstep, vegetables should take centre stage too.
So, in order to showcase some favourite vegetables, and demonstrate how they too can be stars of the festive holidays, it has come up with three recipes - and all of them can be made ahead of time, and stored in the fridge for up to three days. Just take them out when ready, and re-heat, giving you more time to spend with your family.
Sweet and sticky red cabbage (serves six)
Preparation time: 15 mins
Cooking time: six to eight hours (slow cooking)
One medium red cabbage, finely shredded
30g duck fat (optional)
One large or two small Bramley cooking apples, peeled and cored
One small red onion, finely chopped
One teaspoon mixed spice
One cinnamon quill
One star anise
50ml red wine vinegar
175ml red wine (a medium glass)
One bay leaf
175ml freshly squeezed orange juice
One pinch of black pepper
Salt to taste
100g Demerara sugar
1 In a large saucepan, pour in the red wine vinegar and red wine. Bring these to a simmer and then add the red cabbage.
2 Cover and turn the heat down, but stir regularly for 20 minutes.
3 Add all the other ingredients to the pan. For best results, transfer the mix to a slow cooker and cook on a low/medium heat for 6-8 hrs. Alternatively, you can leave it on the hob on a low heat for four hours, stirring regularly.
4 The dish is ready to serve when sauce has become gorgeously gooey and the strands of cabbage are sticking together.
Top tip: Adding duck fat to the dish is an old chef’s trick; it helps keep the cabbage looking glossy while adding a rich savoury flavour to this sweet and sour dish. This recipe will keep for over a week in the fridge or will freeze for up to six months.
Butternut squash and swede mash (serves six)
Preparation time – 10 mins
Cooking time – 30mins
One medium swede – peeled and diced
One medium butternut squash - peeled and diced (larger pieces than the swede as it will cook quicker)
Two pinches of salt
Two pinches white pepper
Two teaspoons wholegrain mustard
1 Peel the butternut squash and dice the flesh into large squares.
2 Peel and dice the swede into smaller squares.
3 In a large saucepan, boil some water and add a little salt. Add the swede and butternut squash, turn down the heat and cover simmer gently for 20-30 minutes. Check the swede is soft as it takes longer to cook then the butternut squash.
4 Once soft, drain well in a strainer then put it back in the pan and blend with a stick blender.
5 Add the butter and the mustard.
6 Season to taste and blend until smooth.
Top tip: Turn any left-over mash into a winter warming soup by adding vegetable stock, a chopped, fresh sage leaf and a little cream fraiche. It can also be added to risotto for a rich smooth texture and a real nutritional boost.
Brussels with chestnuts, garlic and smoked bacon (serves six)
Preparation time – five minutes
Cooking time – 15 mins (or 30 minutes if roasting your own chestnuts)
500g Brussels sprouts
Four large cloves of garlic peeled and crushed
100g smoked streaky bacon
100g roast chestnuts
Salt and pepper to season
1 First prepare the sprouts by cutting off the bottoms (we never criss cross the bottoms as this leads to soggy, waterlogged sprouts).
2 Boil the sprouts in water or steam for around 5-6 minutes until just tender. Once cool, these can be kept in fridge for up to four days. The rest of the dish is better put together just before serving.
3 Dice the bacon and fry for 2-3 minutes in a heavy-bottomed frying pan on a medium heat with the peeled roasted chestnuts, butter and garlic.
4 Add the sprouts to the pan with a splash of water cover and simmer for 5 minutes until sprouts are hot.
5 Season to taste.
Top tip: If you want to roast your own chestnuts, make sure you cover the baking tray with tin foil or they will explode all over your oven. They roast in around 20-25 minutes at 200 °C / Gas Mark 6.