5 Essential Dishes for Christmas Dinner

Posted 26 December 2010 by

Well, Christmas Day is upon us, and it’s a white Christmas here. The presents have been opened, and the turkey eaten. This guy turned up on our doorstep this morning and narrowly avoided getting in on the Christmas dinner action:

A pheasant in the snow.

A Christmas pheasant

Across the nation, people are snoring in front of Poirot. I thought I’d share what I consider some of the essential dishes for Christmas dinner. It has been said that Christmas dinner is nothing more than a jumped up Sunday roast. These dishes can elevate the humble roast to something special. I’m not going to mention the obvious; let’s assume there’s some kind of poultry, roast potatoes and veggies. These are just the Christmas essentials.

Baubles, tinsel and Christmas lights on a Christmas tree

1. Sausages wrapped in bacon

Pigs in blankets, kilted sausages, whatever you want to call them, these are both readily available in shops, and very easy to make. You can just get streaky bacon and wrap it around chipolata sausages. I try to “stroke” each piece of bacon with a knife first, to stretch it out so that you can wrap it more times around the sausage. It somehow makes the meal more indulgent, one kind of meat on the plate is not enough!

2. Stuffing

Everyday Sunday roast stuffing is sage and onion. For me, the ultimate Christmas dinner stuffing is pork forcemeat stuffing. Keep it simple, just pork forcemeat (or the meat from inside sausages), onions and herbs.

3. Bread sauce

I came quite late to the game as far as bread sauce is concerned. For many years, I didn’t really understand the point of it, but now I wouldn’t be without it on Christmas day. It doesn’t have a strong flavour but is warm and creamy, with a hint of onion and spices. It’s not something I ever see the rest of the year and it tastes old-fashioned somehow (it dates back to medieval times!)

4. Cranberry Jelly

Or cranberry sauce. But I prefer jelly. I’ve never made this, due to the difficulty in getting fresh cranberries. One day! The fruity sweetness of the cranberries works brilliantly with the saltiness of all that meat.

5. Christmas Pudding

Ok, here’s the thing: like many people, I don’t actually like Christmas Pudding, so that’s not an essential element for me. The must-have dessert then is my (actually my mum’s!) alternative Christmas Pudding; no dried fruit, just lots of chocolate. Served with brandy butter, of course.

So those are my five key Christmas dishes, and I have been lucky enough to experience them all this Christmas (although pudding is postponed until Boxing Day!) Merry Christmas everyone!

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