In this instalment we will be looking at Sauces that can be made in preparation for Christmas Dinner. In part 1 we covered the Christmas pudding; mine is now cooked and maturing in the cupboard ready for Christmas Day.
To go with Christmas Pudding you need a good sauce or butter, I personally love Brandy Sauce not to say that I am not partial to a bit of Brandy or Rum Butter. Brandy Sauce is very simple to make and this version is based on the French Classic Béchamel Sauce.
45-55g Caster Sugar – depending on how sweet you like your sauce
3-6 tbsp Brandy – depending on how boozy you like your sauce, i go for the full 6 tbsp
In a heavy based thick bottomed pan place the milk and the sugar and slowly bring to a simmer.
In a separate pan on a low heat, melt the butter, once the butter has melted and the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and flour have incorporated to make a thick paste.
Now slowly add a little of the hot milk to the paste a spoon full at a time, add a spoon then mix in thoroughly, then add a spoon more and mix until combined, repeat this until all the milk is mixed in to make a velvty sauce, you must mix a little at a time and it must be fully combined before you add more otherwise your sauce will be lumpy.
Now taste the sauce and add as much or as little brandy as you like, you may also add more sugar at this point if the sauce is not sweet enough for your taste.
Brandy/Rum Butter – This is really very simple to make and goes well with your Christmas Pudding, very simply cream equal amounts of Butter and Icing Sugar together and then add as much Rum or Brandy as you like. Once made place back into the fridge until needed.
This sauce is the traditional accompaniment to a turkey dinner, yes you can buy it in a jar ready done but it will not compare to the taste of a homemade Cranberry Sauce, the beauty of this recipe is that you can make it up a week in advance, jar it and fridge it until you need it.
1 x Orange zest and juice
100ml Orange juice
175g Caster sugar
5 tbsp Port
400g Cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 x Granny Smith Apple, peeled, cored & finely chopped
Finely grate the zest from the orange and squeeze the juice. Dissolve the sugar in a medium pan with 4 tbsp port and the orange juice.
Stir in the cranberries, apple and orange zest. Cook uncovered for 8-10 minutes (slightly longer if the cranberries are frozen) until the fruit is soft and the juices are slightly thickened.
Stir in the remaining 1 tbsp port.
This is also a roast poultry favourite, it is simple to do and uses up any bread that you have, it is delicious and takes only a few minutes to make.
1 x pint Milk
1 x onion, peeled, left whole studded with 3 cloves
15g Unsalted Butter
40g Fresh Breadcrumbs – do not use dried it will not be very nice
Pinch Cayenne Pepper
Place the milk into a thick bottomed heavy pan and add the studded onion, slowly bring up to a simmer, gently simmer the milk for 10 – 15 minutes so that the flavour infuses into the milk.
Remove the onion and discard, now add the breadcrumbs and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
Season with the cayenne and salt and check, if you are not serving straight away melt the butter and pour on top of the sauce to help prevent a skin from forming, when ready to serve mix the butter in thoroughly, if you are going to use the sauce straight away then simple mix the butter in at the end.
For this rich gravy I use a double stock almost triple stock method to get a real good turkey/poultry flavour, firstly make up 1 quantity of Brown Chicken Stock or take it out of the freezer if you have some ready made up. Then use the following recipe.
1 Kg Turkey Bones or Chicken Carcasses
1.5 ltr Brown Chicken Stock
2 x Onions
2 x Carrots
2 x Celery sticks
1 x Bay Leaf
Roast the bones in the oven until golden brown, place the bones into a large pan with the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and skim the top of the stock removing any excess fat, scum or froth.
Gently fry the vegetables in a little oil until golden brown and then add to the skimmed stock, now simmer for 1 hour, skimming as needed.
Strain off the stock and give another skim, place the strained stock into a sauce pan if using straight away, if not then now is the time to cool and place in the fridge ready for the Christmas Day either way follow the remainder of the recipe once the turkey is out of the oven.
Remove the turkey out of the roasting tray, place the roasting tin on a low heat and allow the sediment to settle, now very carefully skim off any fat and reserve. Now add the previously made stock and bring to boil, scraping the bottom of the roasting tin with a wooden spoon, deglazing the tin. In your pan which had the stock in add 2 tbsp of the strained fat and 2 tbsp flour and mix well, add a little stock at a time until you get a nice smooth paste, then gradually strain the remaining stock back into the sauce pan, bring to the boil and season as necessary.