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We all like to whip up a little something special to impress but some of us need more help than others, so we asked some of our fab city chefs to let us in on a few secret recipes to help you create your own festive feast.
Throughout the first lockdown we brought you our Home Cook Liverpool series every week with over 50 different recipes from restaurants in the city. Now its the turn of Christmas!
This is a recipe developed over the years, says Paul, which has its origins in North America, but with Great British ingredients. It works well with turkey and goose, but he’s paired it with salt-aged duck too (see picture) – a favourite of The Art School.
A Brussel sprout stalk from your local farm shop
Southport smoked pork belly cut into sticks (lardons)
100g pecan nuts
½ cup maple syrup
2 large banana shallots, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
50g unsalted butter
Splash of vegetable oil
Bunch of chives, finely chopped
Maldon sea salt flakes
Cracked black, or freshly milled black, pepper
100ml chicken stock, cube or gel would be fine
The sprouts can be nipped off the stalk, outer leaves removed and either cut in half (if very large) or crossed on the base if medium, or left if they’re small and par-cooked in advance.
They should be plunged into boiling, salted water for three minutes, then immediately out and into iced-cold water to halt the cooking process. Drain and dry on a tea towel and put on one side (can be done the day before and refrigerated).
Method on the day:
In a saute pan or saucepan, put a splash of oil in with the pork belly to brown and release the flavour. Remove from the pan when brown and put to one side.
In the same pan with the oil and bacon fat, add the shallot and garlic and cook without colour for 2-3 minutes, until soft. Add in the butter and a little chicken stock, and some salt and pepper.
Add the sprouts, turning gently until hot and then the bacon lardons, the maple syrup and the pecan nuts.
Get them all hot and all the favours mingled together, and finish with chopped chives or spring onions before serving. A little more milled pepper and Maldon salt over the top would be a lovely finish too. “The mixture of sweet, sour, salt, savoury, textures of greens and crunchy pecans is a joy,” says Paul.
This recipe requires you to make some cornbread ahead of making the stuffing, so there’s a little effort needed – but it is so worth it!
Serves 6 – 8 well.
1 ½ cups of medium cornmeal
½ cup of plain flour
3 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 tablespoon of baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup of whole milk
½ cup plain yoghurt
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs, beaten
½ cup double cream
½ cup of sweetcorn
Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees or 200 for fan assisted. Grease an 8-inch square deep baking tin.
Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl and stir well until thoroughly mixed.
In another bowl, combine the milk, yoghurt, melted butter, sweetcorn and double cream. Add all this to the cornmeal mixture and stir until it is combined.
Scrape the batter with a rubber spatula into the prepared baking tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes. The bread should be golden-brown and a skewer should come out clean. Cool on a rack for thirty minutes.
One batch of cornbread as prepared above, broken into crumbs.
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
One brown onion, finely diced.
5oog of sausage meat
150g of dried cherries
One tablespoon each of sage and rosemary.
Heat your oven to 200c or 180c (fan-assisted).
Heat up the vegetable oil on a medium heat in a frying pan and add the diced onions. Sweat off for 10 to 15 minutes until slightly browned. Cool on a plate.
Once the onions are cooled, add all ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well.
Grease a 10 to 12 inch ceramic dish or baking tin and add the stuffing mix and smooth out. Bake for 30 mins until the sausage meat is cooked through. The stuffing could alternatively be used to stuff turkey, chicken or other rolled meats such as pork.
Makes around 1 litre.
2 sticks of celery
2 fresh bay leaves
2 sprigs of fresh sage
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
12 chicken wings
4 tablespoons plain flour
2 chicken stock pots
2 tablespoons cranberry sauce
Preheat the oven to 200c or 180c (fan-assisted).
Peel the onions, wash the carrots, then roughly chop with the celery. Put the veg, bay leaves, sage, and rosemary into a strong high-sided roasting tray.
Break the chicken wings open, bash with a rolling pin or the back of a heavy knife to help release extra flavour as they cook, then add to the tray. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and black pepper, toss, then cook for 1 hour.
Remove the tray from the oven and transfer to a low heat on the hob. Squash everything with a potato masher, scraping up all the veg and wings that has stuck on the base of the tray. The longer you fry the veg and wings the darker the gravy will be.
Gradually stir in the flour, add the chicken stock pots then pour in 2 litres of boiled water. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until thickened and reduced, stirring occasionally.
When the gravy is the consistency of your liking, pour it through a sieve into a large bowl, pushing all the solids through with the back of a spoon. Taste and season to your liking, cool to room temperature, then pour into a container for the fridge or freezer depending on when you plan to use it. It will last up to three days in the fridge.
To finish when ready to use.
If frozen, take the gravy out to defrost the night before Christmas or when you’re using it.
When your turkey is cooked, remove it to rest. Skim away most of the fat from the tray.
Pour the gravy into the tray with the turkey juices. Bring to the boil over the hob and scrape the base for flavour. Taste, then stir in some cranberry sauce to sweeten the gravy.
Once your gravy is nicely hot, strain through a coarse sieve into a pan, then leave it on the lowest heat until you’re ready to serve. Skim away any fat that rises to the top. If you have meat juices and bits of meat from carving, they can be added to the gravy at the end before serving.
This one is perfect for the Christmas buffet – it’s a great winter salad dish.
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into large wedges
3 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
handful of thyme, leaves picked off
pinch of chilli flakes
150g gorgonzola or any blue cheese
A few handfuls of mixed leaves like radicchio, endive, watercress
2 ripe figs, quartered to serve
For the dressing:
2 teaspoons white wine or cider vinegar
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1tsp dijon mustard
pinch of caster sugar
1 garlic clove, peeled and bashed
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the squash and 2 garlic cloves with 2 tbsp of the oil and some seasoning. Roast for 35-45 mins or until the vegetables crisp up in places – turning halfway through cooking and adding the thyme leaves. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, leaving the garlic to one side.
Make the dressing – put the remaining bashed garlic, the mustard, oil and vinegar, salt and pepper in a jam jar and shake until combined.
Lay the mixed leaves, roast squash on a platter, tear up the blue cheese into pieces and scatter over.
Dress with your dressing and figs and enjoy.
Ooh, and who doesn’t like Baileys at Christmas? Like most great concoctions, Gino says this dessert was created by chance when his wife bought a bottle of Baileys liqueur for one of their dinner guests. He says: “I thought I’d try it in the panna cotta I was making… All I can say is ‘wow’!”
175g granulated sugar
600ml semi-skimmed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs, plus 4 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
100ml Baileys liqueur
Place the granulated sugar in a large saucepan over a low heat, slowly stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and bubble for 2–3 minutes until the mixture turns a pale caramel colour. Pour it into 6 ramekins, tilting them so that the caramel coats the bottom and halfway up the sides. Set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 160ºC/gas mark 3. Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the vanilla extract and heat until almost boiling. Set aside to cool slightly.
Beat the eggs, egg yolks and caster sugar together in a large bowl. Pour into the milk along with the Baileys and whisk together.
Divide the milk mixture between the ramekins and place them in a roasting tin. Pour in enough cold water to come halfway up the side of the dishes, then place in the oven for 25 minutes until set, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove the ramekins from the roasting tin and set aside to cool.
When ready to serve, run a sharp knife around the edge of each panna cotta, place a small plate over the top and flip over. Serve the panna cotta with the caramel poured around it.
Once you’re done, simply sit back and enjoy your Baileys panna cotta and don’t forget to check out other great authentic Italian recipes on Gino’s website: www.ginodacampo.com
If you have any ham left over from your roasted joint, you can make Ropes & Twines’ amazing festive sandwich. Perfect hearty food for after the Boxing Day walk.
1kg fig jam (will make two jars so you can save some):
Zest of one orange
2 slices sour dough bread
3 slices Brie cheese
3 slices ham
Method: For the jam, put 1kg of fig and 150ml water into a saucepan and bring to boil. Then simmer for 5 minutes until the figs have started to soften. Add the zest of 1 orange and 300g of sugar to the pan and continue to cook until it thickens slightly. Finally take off the heat and allow to thicken further (around 10 minutes).
When the jam has cooled, spread onto one slice of sourdough. Top with sliced French brie and hand carved cooked ham, alternating, and finishing with another slice of sourdough and a spread of butter on top to help brown when toasting. Place in a sandwich grill for five minutes until the brie has softened and is beginning to melt.
Oh we don’t mind if we do – this is a belter of a dessert for Christmas – or anytime frankly!
400g of salted butter
400g of dark chocolate pieces
175g of plain flour
Teaspoon of salt
2 tablespoons of water
500g of castor sugar
80g of cocoa powder
6 large eggs
100g of roasted and crushed hazelnuts
Jar of mascarpone
500g of marshmallows
Icing sugar and chocolate Sauce to dress
Makes 14 pieces
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Using a large bowl, mix up all the dry ingredients flour, sugar, salt, cocoa powder and chocolate chips.
Melt the butter lightly in pan and mix in then add the remaining wet ingredients eggs and water.
Stir thoroughly for several minutes and spread the batter evenly into a large tray lined with greaseproof paper with a couple of cms overhang to remove easily when cooked.
Pop into the oven for 40-45 mins. Check every 5 mins after 30 minutes cooking – test by adding a cocktail stick to the centre and check if any raw batter is retained on the cocktail stick. Be careful not to overbake as brownies are best served gooey.
When baked let cool on a wire rack. Slice and divide up.
Grill the marshmallows on a low heat until they start to brown Put into a bowl and stir
in the mascarpone sauce until thick and fully mixed.
Lightly dust the brownies with icing sugar and serve with a large dollop of the sauce and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
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