Food & Drink

Recipes: Niall McKenna's contemporary twist on trad Christmas dishes – roast potatoes, stuffing and Brussels sprouts

Brussels Sprouts and Orange Salad
Brussels Sprouts and Orange Salad

First-time entertainers at Christmas should be thinking about all of the sides that will make your Christmas meal sing, and trying to perfect them – like the roast potatoes, the Brussels sprouts and the stuffing.

The unsung heroes of Christmas dinner. Try to make some of these this weekend in preparation for perfection on the big day. This week’s recipes are contemporary versions of traditional dishes.

For all those entertaining for the first time this year, we have a short series of cookery classes taking place this month, focused solely on Christmas dinner.

Why not give them a go? Check them out at or follow us on Instagram

Niall McKenna's roast potatoes
Niall McKenna's roast potatoes

Roast Potatoes


(Serves 6)

2kg Maris Piper potatoes peeled and cut into even-sized chunks

Sea salt

5 tbsp light rapeseed oil

20g unsalted butter, diced

10g thyme leaves chopped and destalked


Begin by preheating the oven to 200C, placing the potatoes into a large saucepan of water and adding a good pinch of salt. Bring the water to the boil, cooking the potatoes for 10-15 minutes until you can push a knife through the centre without much resistance.

Drain the potatoes through a colander and ruffle them around slightly but being careful not to break them up.

Using a heavy, cast-iron oven tray, pour in the rapeseed oil, using enough to cover the base of the tray. Place into the oven to heat it up for five minutes.

Then remove the tray and carefully tip in the blanched potatoes, placing into the oven and leaving to roast for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, remove and turn the potatoes over to place back into the oven, continuing to turn every 10-20 minutes until crisp and golden on all sides. This usually takes around 60 minutes.

Lastly, when the potatoes are ready, remove from the oven and season with salt, butter and thyme, ready to serve.

Read more:

  • Make it chicken tonight with these two delicious recipes from Niall McKenna
  • James St Recipes: Start your Christmas prep with Niall McKenna's chocolate roulade and orange and lemon drizzle cake
  •   Christmas Recipes: Niall McKenna's Christmas pudding and cranberry sauce

Brussels Sprout and Orange Salad


(Serves 4)

For the salad:

300g Brussels sprouts

2 tbsp olive oil

300g kale, internal vein removed

1 green chilli, finely sliced

3 oranges

75g of hazelnuts

For the dressing:

1 tbsp orange zest, grated

4 tbsp orange juice

1 tsp honey

3 tbsp rape seed oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper


Begin by quartering the Brussels sprouts, removing the outer leaves.

Place the oil into a frying pan on a medium heat, frying off the sprouts for about five minutes until they begin to brown at the edges. Remove from the pan and leave to the side to cool. Wipe the pan dry as you can use it again.

Next, roughly chop up the kale leaves, placing them into a large bowl with the fried Brussels sprouts. Then add in the chopped chilli.

To prepare the orange slices, remove the segments from the skin – the easiest way to do this is to slice from top to bottom until you can see the segments, then place on the work top, removing the segments from the skin and slicing the skin.

Then place the segments into the salad bowl along with the greens, kale and Brussels sprouts.

Next, place the frying pan back onto a medium heat, not adding oil as you want to toast the hazelnuts on a dry pan. Toast them lightly, moving them around the pan for a couple of minutes until there is an aroma of toasted hazelnuts and they become a little browned.

Remove from the pan and place onto a plate to cool down before roughly chopping them to add to the salad.

For the dressing, add the orange zest, juice and honey together, whisking briskly, and adding in all the oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Add the dressing to the salad, ready to serve.

Cranberries, Sage and Onion Stuffing
Cranberries, Sage and Onion Stuffing

Cranberries, Sage and Onion Stuffing


(Serves 6-8 with leftovers)

4 onions, finely diced

10 fresh sage leaves

50g butter

250g breadcrumbs

250g sausage meat (optional)

250g cranberries

100ml milk

2 cloves garlic

Salt and pepper


Begin by finely chopping the onion and garlic, frying them in butter on a medium heat until soft for approximately 10 minutes.

Next add in the sausage meat, cooking for 10 minutes, until thoroughly cooked. Then add the breadcrumbs, cranberries and milk. I recommend using a blender to mix this up, before adding in the sage, salt and pepper.

Set the stuffing mixture onto a sheet of parchment paper that is laid on top of tinfoil. Then roll the mixture into a sausage-like shape and twist the ends, so it resembles a Christmas cracker (6ins long by 4ins wide). Then place onto a greased tray to put into the oven at 180C for 30 minutes.


Waterman House Cookery School,

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