DERRY: I often get asked if I hang up my chef’s apron on Christmas Day and take the day off from cooking. The answer is no, because I actually enjoy doing the festive lunch with all the trimmings.
Sallyanne usually mucks in too, but she’s under doctor’s orders to keep her feet up – literally – this year, following a bad infection in her knee. The kids will help, though, with the easier dishes.
For our main course at Christmas this year in Saggart, we’re having goose. It’s a very under-rated poultry dish, but it is a real winner.
The average goose will serve six to eight people.
Be sure that the skin is dry by patting it with a paper towel before cooking. This will help to make it nice and crisp.
During roasting, the goose will release a lot of fat, so place it on a wire rack to catch the delicious juices. They can be removed and cooled after cooking, then refrigerated overnight. Once the fat has set, remove and discard the liquid. The remaining fat can be used for roasting or sauteeing potatoes, or indeed basting chicken.
The goose should cost anywhere from €50 to €70 – quite expensive, but well worth it. Frozen geese are also available from selected supermarkets. Pre-order from your butcher, giving them plenty of notice if you can.
Cook the vegetables while the goose rests. Doing everything in one tray helps with washing up!
In a separate roasting tray, take the juice from the goose after the first 20 minutes of cooking, add some sea salt and baste your potatoes (after par-boiling them for 20 minutes). Roast them for an hour for really crisp potatoes and try to serve them immediately.
The following day, the goose carcass could be broken up and simmered for an hour in a pot of water with onion, carrot and bay leaf. This makes a great base for a broth.
The starter of tempura of prawns is a breeze to prepare. The batter is foolproof, and tiger prawns are available from supermarkets.
You could use frozen prawns, but be sure to defrost them correctly in the refrigerator – never defrost seafood in any other way.
Tempura batter tips (recipe attached)
The batter recipe I’ve given creates a really crisp tempura – try one prawn first to ensure that it’s not too thick, though. If you find that the batter is too thick, thin it by adding more milk.
Dust the prawns well with flour as this will help the batter to stick. Always use a deep-fat fryer with a thermostat.
Have your prawns ready to go and this dish will work a dream as a starter, or canapés. It is so quick to cook – one basket of eight prawns will cook in three minutes.
I’ll be serving the prawns with an avocado and lime purée and a nice crisp salad, but they would also work well with chilli jam or wasabi mayonnaise.
Pudding with a twist (recipe attached)
As for dessert, this year I’m doing a plum pudding parfait with brandy custard. The parfait makes the pudding a little lighter and easier to enjoy at the end of a big meal.
Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a prosperous 2009.
- Roast goose with caramelised parsnips, apple and spiced red cabbage
- Tempura of Tiger Prawns with an Avocado & Lime Purée
- Plum pudding parfait with brandy custard