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James Street South Cookery School: Christmas dinner with chef Niall McKenna

Niall's Christmas dinner includes classic turkey and slow-baked ham, roast potatoes and garlic-roasted sprouts
Niall McKenna

WITH only a few days left until the big day, we are ticking off our shopping lists and checking them twice to ensure that we have all of the essentials for the main event.

As we begin prepping dishes, our recipes are simple to make and easy to follow. Turkey, slow-baked ham, garlic roasted sprouts and roast potatoes are long-time favourites, making this a classic Christmas to remember.

Merry Christmas everyone, and we hope you have a fantastic holiday.

CLASSIC TURKEY

(Serves 6)

4kg turkey

1 onion

2 sprig thyme

2 sprig sage

1 bulb garlic

8 rashers bacon

Salt and pepper

Place the turkey in a roasting tin and season with salt and pepper. Cut the onion and the garlic in half and place in the cavity with the thyme and sage.

Place in oven at 200C for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 180C. Lay bacon on top of the turkey and roast for two hours, basting with the juices occasionally. Check that the turkey is cooked by placing the knife between the leg and breast – the juice should run clear. Remove from the oven, cover in tinfoil and allow your bird to rest for 30 minutes.

Cooking times for turkey

Weight Serves Cooking time

4kg 6 15 minutes plus 2 hours

5kg 8 15 minutes plus 2 ½ hours

6kg 10 20 minutes plus 3 hours

7 kg 12 20 minutes plus 3 ½ hours

8kg 14 30 minutes plus 4 hours

SLOW-BAKED HAM

(Serves 8)

1 tbsp black peppercorns

2 onions, sliced

5kg unsmoked ham

10 cloves

Mustard glaze 2 tbsp of Dijon, 2tbsp American mustard, 4 tbsp honey, and 2 tsp ground allspice.

Heat the oven to 180C. Place the peppercorn, onions and cloves in the bottom of a large roasting tray and pour in 2cm of water. Place in tin and sit the ham on top. Bake in oven for two hours. To make the glaze, place all the ingredients into a pan and heat gently; add a splash of water if the glaze becomes too thick and bring to the simmer.

Remove the skin from the ham leaving a decent layer of fat and score the fat in a diamond pattern. Brush with the glaze and reglaze through the cooking process, cook for 15 minutes at 220c. Make sure it doesn't darken too much during the cooking process. The ham will need to be left out for 20 minutes before carving covered in foil.

With the excess skin you can make crackling. Cook in oven at 220C for 15 minutes until is crisp. This can be served with your Brussels sprouts.

GARLIC ROASTED SPROUTS

Brussels sprouts

2 knobs butter

2 garlic cloves sliced

Salt and pepper

Slice the Brussels sprouts finely; heat some butter and garlic in a pan and put in the sprouts. Cook for no more than five minutes and season with salt and pepper.

ROAST POTATOES

Serves 4-6

1kg potatoes

100g goose fat

2 sprig rosemary

4 cloves garlic

Salt and pepper

Peel and half the potatoes and bring to boil in salted water. Once water boiled reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and return to saucepan putting lid on and give the potatoes a good shake, this will ensure the goose fat gets into the potato rather than run off. Heat the goose fat in roasting tin and add in the potatoes once fat smoking, toss the potatoes ensuring that all are coated in fat and add in the cloves of garlic and rosemary. Place roasting tray in oven at 220C for 45 minutes.

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