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James Street Cookery School: Tasty Christmas dinner sides and crucial turkey times

Brussels sprouts with bacon and chestnuts
Niall McKenna

WE'RE now mere days away, so I thought I would keep it simple with some easy-win side dishes for dinner on Christmas Day – or any day for that matter; they are that good! Have you made out your timetable for the day?

I always try to work backwards and get as much of the prep done the night before with friends, family and a glass of mulled wine. To help the whole process along, I have included cooking times for various sizes of turkey. Just make sure the juices run clear – an undercooked bird wouldn't make for a very merry Christmas.

I would like to wish the readers of The Irish News a great Christmas and an enjoyable festive period full of delicious food and happy memories.

RED CABBAGE

¼ red cabbage, shredded

¼ white cabbage, shredded

2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped

4 tblsp yoghurt

1 tblsp wholegrain mustard

½ lemon, juiced

1 sprig mint, chopped

Start by cleaning and shredding all the cabbage and getting it ready in a bowl. Add the chopped apples. Mix the yoghurt, mustard and lemon juice in a bowl. Place the mix over the cabbage and apple, cover with cling film and refrigerate, preferably overnight. You want the juice to break down the natural fibres of the cabbage. Serve with a scattering of mint leaves.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH BACON AND CHESTNUTS

1 kg Brussels sprouts, cleaned and trimmed

6 rashers of smoked bacon

200g chestnuts, peeled

2 onions, finely chopped

olive oil

small bunch fresh sage, leaves picked from stem

butter to serve

Add the Brussels sprouts to a large pot of water boiling on the hob, with a good pinch of salt. Boil for about five minutes until tender but not soft. Remove from pot.

Place a large frying pan on the hob, chop up the bacon and start frying, adding a drizzle of olive oil; once sizzling, turn down the heat. Chop up the water chestnuts and add to the pan. Once golden, add the onions and sage; reduce the heat and cook until soft.

Add the Brussels sprouts and give the pan a good shake so that they get covered in the onions, bacon and the water chestnuts. Add the butter and mix. You can place in an oven-proof dish in the bottom of the oven until ready to serve.

COOKING TIMES FOR TURKEY

Weight       Serves       Cooking time

4kg            6                15 minutes at 200C plus 2 hours at 180C

5kg            8                15 minutes at 200C plus 2.5 hours at 180C

6kg            10              20 minutes at 200C plus 3 hours at 180C

7kg            12              20 minutes at 200C plus 3.5 hours at 180C

8kg            14              30 minutes at 200C plus 4 hours at 180C

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