As the final preparation for Christmas takes place, I have included guidelines for what size turkey to buy, one of my favorite stuffing recipes for Christmas and my recipe for Orange and Fig Christmas Pudding.
What size turkey to buy?
Small, 4kg, serves about 6-8 people
Medium, 5-6kg, serves about 10-12 people
Large, 8kg, serves about 12-16 people
Apple, Sausage, Parsnip and Fresh Sage Stuffing
350g loaf sliced bread with crust, made into breadcrumbs
700g medium spicy sausage meat (casing removed)
4 onions, chopped
4 celery stalks, finely chopped
150g butter, divided
700g red apples, unpeeled, cored, cubed
500g parsnips, peeled, chopped into 1cm cubes
1/3 cup packed fresh sage leaves
120ml chicken stock
Finely chop the fresh sage.
Sauté the sausage meat in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat until cooked through, breaking into pieces with spoon. Allow around 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl. Add the breadcrumbs.
Add the chopped onions and celery to the frying pan and sauté until golden brown, Transfer to the bowl containing the sausage meat and bread.
Melt one third of the butter in frying pan over medium heat. Add the apples and sauté until tender. This will take around 5 minutes. Mix the apples into the stuffing. Melt another third of the butter in same frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the parsnips and sauté until golden. Allow about 10 minutes for this. Mix into the stuffing. Melt the remaining third of the butter in the same frying pan. Add the sage and sauté until dark green – allow 2 minutes. Mix the sage and butter into stuffing. Season with salt and pepper.
Butter a lasagne baking dish. Stuff the neck end of the turkey. Put the remaining stuffing into the baking dish and drizzle with the chicken stock. Cover with foil.
Preheat the oven to 180°C / Gas 4. Bake the stuffing covered until fully heated through (allow 1 hour for this). Then remove the foil and bake until the stuffing is beginning to brown. Serve with glazed apples.
Orange and Fig Christmas Pudding
Makes a 1.2 litre pudding bowl
Sometimes Christmas pudding is just too much at the end of such a rich meal so this isn’t the traditional pudding as it uses butter instead of suet and is a little lighter. This can be made 2 to 3 weeks before Christmas if you haven’t the time.
100g dried figs, roughly chopped
2 medium oranges, juice and zest
3 tbsp brandy
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground allspice
½ tsp ground cinnamon
100g butter, softened
120g soft dark brown sugar
200g plain flour
60g ground almonds
2 tsp baking powder
3 eggs, beaten
1 medium carrot, grated
1 tbsp roughly chopped crystallised ginger
Melted butter, for brushing the bowl
Parchment and foil, for the bowl
String, for a handle
1 orange, sliced
1 fresh fig, cut into wedges (optional)
Place the raisins, figs, juice and zest, brandy and spices into a medium size saucepan and heat gently. Once heated, remove from the heat, cover and leave to soak overnight.
To prepare the bowl, brush a 1.2 litre pudding bowl with melted butter. Place a piece of parchment and foil together and make a fold in the centre for expansion when cooking.
When ready to cook the pudding, cream the softened butter and dark sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Fold half the flour, ground almonds, add the eggs and mix well.
Add the grated carrot and ginger, followed by the rest of the flour.
Carefully stir in the brandy.
Spoon the pudding mixture into the bowl, cover with the parchment and foil layer and tie with string around the edge and make a “handle” for ease when checking the water level and taking out.
Place the pudding into a saucepan of simmering water with the lid on. The pudding bowl must fit snugly into the saucepan. Remember to keep checking the water level, adding boiling water when necessary. Simmer the pudding for 2 hours or until a skewer inserted into centre of the pudding comes out clean.
Remove the pudding from the saucepan and cool in the bowl. Wrap tightly in parchment and foil. “Feed” the pudding once a week with a little brandy.
Reheat the pudding for 1 hour or until hot. To decorate, place the orange slices on the top and arrange wedges of figs on top if you are using them. Serve with cinnamon and vanilla custard.
Tip: If you need a change from the orange – add pomegranate juice and then decorate with the lovely jeweled seeds.