Expensive dishes for your Christmas table that are simple to prepare

Oindrila Bala of CL Block, MasterChef India 2019 contestant, curates a Christmas recipe for those who want to stay safe and celebrate the festive occasion with a special dinner cooked at home

There is something magical about Christmas. I do not know whether it has to do with the childhood memories of receiving candies and little gifts in the socks I used to hang outside in the balcony in the hope that Santa would pay a visit or if it is simply the nip in the air in the generally sultry Salt Lake that makes everything seem more lovely and even the food more delicious.

Ever since my college days, every year I found myself cooking Christmas eve dinner for my family and friends (much like Monica in the popular American sitcom F.R.I.E.N.D.S) and creating not only some fabulous food but also a lot of  cherished memories. These recipes that I bring to you today are a culmination of almost 20 years of cooking the Christmas eve dinner, which I hope you will enjoy with your loved ones.

Bruschetta Caprese

Serves 3-4

With the beautiful reds, greens and whites, Bruschetta Caprese has to be the perfect Christmas snack to munch up on while waiting for the chicken to finish roasting.

• 4 tomatoes diced

• ½ cup fresh basil chopped

• 200g fresh mozzarella / bocconcini cheese diced

• 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

• 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

• 1 tsp mixed dried herbs

• 1 tsp chilli flakes

Toss everything together in a bowl till each tomato and cheese piece is covered in the dressing. Keep aside for 30 minutes for the flavours to infuse.

• 1 French baguette

• 2 -3 tbsp of olive oil

Cut the French baguette into ¾ inch slices. Drizzle with the olive oil and toast off either in the oven (for 10-12 minutes at 180°C) or on a flat pan (for 2-3 minutes on each side) till golden and crisp on each side.

Top the bread generously with the caprese topping and enjoy immediately to savour the crispiness of the bread along with all the flavours of the caprese salad. 

Stuffed roast chicken 

Serves 4

Almost every single Christmas in the last two decades, I have made this very delicious stuffed chicken roast on Christmas eve. It is the absolute showstopper that will have your guests asking more more! The best part (apart from the delicious chicken and the yum stuffing) is turning the pan juices into a delicious gravy to mop up with the breads.

You will need one whole chicken (Preferably with skin) weighing around 1.2 to 1.5kg. Soak the chicken in salted water overnight in the fridge. (Trust me, this truly does tenderise the chicken). Before marinating, drain off the water and pat the chicken dry.

Marination

• 2 tbsp chopped parsley

• 1 tsp dried herbs

• 1 tsp chilli flakes

• 1 tbsp chopped garlic

• 4 tbsp salted butter melted

Mix the marination and then rub over the chicken, making sure to cover each and every part. I also like to put some marinade inside of the chicken skin as well, so the flavours penetrate the bird better. Leave it to rest for an hour.

Stuffing recipe

•1 tbsp refined oil

• 2 tbsp butter

• 1 big onion chopped finely

• 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste

• 1 tsp mixed dried herbs

• 1 apple diced

• 1 tsp chilli flakes

• ½ cup of chopped dried fruits

• 1 cup of diced sausages

• 2 tbsp chopped parsley

• 4 pieces of bread cut into ½ inch cubes

• Salt to taste

In a pan, heat the oil and the butter together. Add in the chopped onion and saute until golden. Add in the ginger garlic paste, sausages, mixed herbs, chilli flakes, diced apple and dry fruits and cook for another 10 minutes till everything starts getting caramelised. Now add in the diced bread along with half a cup of water, salt to taste and cook till everything comes together for around five to seven minutes. Add in the chopped parsley and remove from the heat. Leave to cool before stuffing the chicken.

Bringing it all together

Set aside two-third of the stuffing for eating off the table directly. Stuff the remaining one-third in the chicken cavity and seal off with a toothpick. Line the roasting tray with a few onion slices, a couple of slices of orange and 5-6 garlic cloves and place the chicken on top. Roast in a preheated oven at 200°C for around 20 minutes, before basting with the pan juices. Roast for further 30-40 minutes (basting another couple of times if you wish) till the chicken is golden on top and the juices, when pierced, come out clean. Let it rest covered for 10 minutes and our piece-de-resistance is ready to be tucked into.

The gravy

If you ask me, it is absolute sacrilege to throw away the caramelised goodness remaining in the roasting pan. That buttery goodness with all the flavours of the chicken is absolute liquid gold.

Scrape out everything remaining on the pan into a sauce pan, discarding the orange slices. Bring to heat. Deglaze with half a cup of white wine or chicken/ vegetable stock. Add in half a teaspoon of coffee powder, and around another 1 cup of stock or water and simmer. Salt as needed. Add in 2 tsp of cornflour dissolved in 1 tbsp water to the gravy to thicken. Sieve and pour the liquid gold into the gravy boat ready to dress the chicken.

Mulled Wine 

Serves 3-4

Now, you need something to drink along with the bruschetta. Something that will warm the cockles of your heart in these cold winter nights (or afternoons for that matter). Something that is as awesome as mulled wine. Beautifully citrusy, and spiced with mellow notes of cinnamon and star anise, mulled wine is winter and Christmas personified for me.

• 750ml bottle of good dry red wine

• 1 whole orange sliced

• 2- 3 whole cinnamon sticks

• 6-7 cloves

• 2-3 star anise

• 5 tbsp of honey (even our famous nolen gur tastes beautiful)

• 90ml of brandy or rum

In a saucepan, add everything together and simmer for 10-15 minutes for all the flavours to infuse. In a glass, put an orange slice and a cinnamon stick. Ladle in the mulled wine slowly and serve warm.

Yorkshire pudding

Makes 12 muffin size

Now that we have gravy, we need something to mop it up with. And what better than Yorkshire pudding? These crunchy on top and velvety on the inside bread is the perfect accompaniment to any roast.

• 200g flour

• 4 eggs

• 200 ml milk

Mix everything into a smooth batter and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 220°C for 20 minutes. In a muffin tray drizzle half teaspoon oil in each cavity and put it in the hot oven for 12-15 minutes, till almost smoking.

Carefully take out the muffin tray and pour in the cold yorkies batter till half way of the cavities. You will see it sizzle. Immediately put the muffin tray inside the hot oven and cook at 220°C for 12-15 minutes, till golden and risen.

Christmas strawberry trifle

 

Makes 6 glasses

Now to end a meal as fabulous as this, you need something even better — a Christmas trifle!

• ½ cup finely chopped strawberries

• ½ packet of instant strawberry jelly mix

Spread the chopped strawberry in a 6 inch square tray. Follow the instructions on the packet to make jelly and pour over the chopped strawberry and leave to set till firm. Using a knife, cut into half inch cubes.

• 1 cup of milk

• 1 cup of fresh cream

• ¼ cup of sugar

• 1 tsp of vanilla essence

• 2 tsp of cornflour mixed in 1 tbsp of water

In a saucepan, bring the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla to boil. Add in the cornflour dissolved in 1 tbsp of water and let it simmer till the custard thickens. Remove from heat, pour into a bowl and cover with cling film to let it cool.

• 300g of sponge cake cut into 1 inch cubes

• ½ cup orange juice (or orange- based liquor)

• Soak the sponge with the orange juice and keep aside.

• 1 cup freshly chopped strawberries

• 150g of whipped cream

• Sliced strawberries to garnish

• 6 sprigs of mint leaves to garnish

In a champagne glass, add 2 tbsp of the jelly. top generously with 2-3 tbsp of fresh chopped strawberries. Then top with 10-12 pieces of sponge cake and add 1 tbsp of the strawberry jelly on top. Now layer with 2-3 tbsp of custard and pipe on the whipped cream.

Garnish with strawberry slices and a sprig of mint. Chill in the fridge for two hours before serving.

Source: telegraphindia.com

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