Christmas. A time for overindulgence in food, family connection leading to family squabbles, and finally, vows to never see your family again.
…I kid! Since moving to Sydney a few years ago, I now find myself really cherishing the time I get to spend with my family. Every minute you spend back at the family home becomes increasingly precious, because no matter how many phone calls or FaceTime connections you make, it’s never quite the same.
While our original plans had been to spend Christmas Day in Sydney with K’s family before driving to Melbourne on Boxing Day, we changed our minds when my father was unexpectedly called back to Hong Kong just before Christmas when my uncle passed away. Not wanting my brother to have to spend the holidays alone, we drove down early and spent the holiday together as a family with my cousins.
We hosted Christmas lunch, and decided to follow a sample Christmas menu offered on Taste.com.au. First up – Green Beans with Cherry Vinaigrette Dressing. This was a great hit with everyone, as the sweet cherries combined with the tart lemon vinaigrette really helped to enhance the fresh crunchy beans. Note – this dish doesn’t reheat that well for leftovers the next day, so it’s best to make a smaller amount and eat it all on the same day!
Next – Charred Capsicum and Zucchini with Goat’s Cheese. This one doesn’t look quite as pretty as in the picture as we ended up using a serving bowl that was probably too small for its purpose, so the presentation wasn’t ideal. It also made it a bit harder for people to dig through to the base to get the goat’s cheese dressing. I recommend serving this dish in a larger, flat serving platter rather than in a bowl. Note – the goat’s cheese cream is delicious, and I would happily just have that on toast with a crack of black pepper!
Crispy Parmesan Potatoes also made it onto the menu. We enhanced the recipe with some duck fat that we had rendered off our next dish, which really made the cheesy roast potatoes super rich and crispy. I’d definitely make this dish again!
The piece de resistance – a Turducken! We didn’t follow a recipe for this and pretty much made it up. Taking the easy way out, we chose to only use the breast meat from each bird (chicken, duck, turkey), rather than the whole body which would have been too hard to manage. At the same time, because we were concerned about only using the leaner breast meat which might dry out in the oven, we decided to wrap the whole thing in fatty bacon, to help keep the meat moist.
And it worked! The turducken was delightfully moist and tender, and the roulade-style shape that we opted for stayed together even after we cut the string that had been holding it together. The half jar of leftover pesto that we added to the centre of the roulade at the very last minute was a stroke of genius as well. Many thanks to my amazing husband K who took primary responsibility for this dish as I tend to get a bit squeamish about touching raw meat!
My brother’s a keen amateur baker/dessert maker, and he took responsibility for making these Christmas Pudding Truffles. Without any glace cherries on hand as recommended by the recipe, he used some fresh cherries instead to top the truffles which I think worked really well! These are very rich though – one would be more than sufficient for most people….okay, maybe two!
It’s months ago now, but how was your Christmas? Did you spend it with your family?
Recipe: Bacon-wrapped Turducken Roulade
- One chicken breast
- One duck breast
- One turkey breast
- One small jar of pesto sauce
- One packet of long middle bacon
- Melted butter for basting
- Kitchen string for wrapping
- Flatten and tenderise each piece of poultry breast. I do it by using the back of a meat cleaver.
- Cut out lengths of string and lay it out across your chopping board.
- Lay out strips of bacon length-wise along your chopping board, going the same way as your lengths of string.
- Lay out the flattened turkey breast on top of the bacon strips. Baste with a thin layer of butter.
- Lay out the flattened duck breast on top of the turkey breast. Baste with a thin layer of butter.
- Lay out the flattened chicken breast on top of the duck breast. Spread the pesto over the chicken breast.
- Wrap up everything carefully, ensuring that the turkey entirely covers the duck and chicken breast, and that the bacon is sufficiently wrapped around the turkey.
- Tie up your lengths of string to ensure that everything is held together tightly. Baste with butter.
- Cook for two hours at 200 degrees, or until cooked through. Check regularly.
- Rest for at least half an hour before carving up the turducken for a delicious Christmas lunch.