Neven Maguire has had a very eventful year and it looks like next year will be action packed too with the opening of his cookery school.
He has just written his eleventh cookery book, has filmed his sixth tv series of Home Chef, the series of which went out last month on US tv screens. He has launched a campaign to get parents to cook with their children and another called 1,000 days to ensure children have a good nutritional start.
‘The Nation’s Favourite Food’ by Neven Maguire – 100 Best loved recipes; Tried, Tested and Perfected, is published by Gill & Macmillan, priced at €22.99
See Christmas recipes below from ‘The Nations Favourite Food’
- Turkey Satay Noodles
- Roast Turkey with Herb Stuffing
- Brussels Sprout Crumble
- Crispy Roast Potatoes
- Maple Glazed Ham with Pineapple Salsa
- Auntie Maureen’s Plum Pudding
- MacNean Old Fashioned Mince Meat Pies
Turkey Satay Vegetable Noodles
This recipe is great to use up any leftover turkey from Christmas Day. It packs a powerful flavour
punch and is just the ticket after the excesses of the festive season. Stir-frying is a traditional
Chinese cooking technique that’s very easy to master. To check if the vegetables are cooked,
pierce them with the tip of a knife – they should feel as soft as butter.
275g (10oz) fine egg noodles
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large red pepper, halved, seeded and thinly sliced
225g (8oz) fine green beans, trimmed and halved
175g (6oz) baby corn, halved lengthways
2 garlic cloves, crushed
400g (14oz) can coconut milk
350g (12oz) leftover cooked turkey meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
100g (4oz) crunchy peanut butter
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tsp light muscovado sugar
juice of ½ lime
50g (2oz) cashew nuts, toasted and finely chopped
handful fresh coriander leaves, to garnish
Place the fine egg noodles in a pan of boiling water and cook for 3–4 minutes, until tender, or according to the packet instructions.
Heat a wok until very hot. Add the oil and swirl it around the edges, then tip in the red pepper, green beans, baby corn and garlic and stir-fry for 3–4 minutes, until the vegetables are tender, sprinkling over 1 tablespoon of water if the mixture is getting too dry.
Drain the noodles and add to the wok with the coconut milk, turkey, peanut butter, soy sauce, chilli sauce, sugar and lime juice. Stir-fry for another 2–3 minutes, until all the ingredients are piping hot.
To serve, divide among warmed serving bowls and scatter over the cashew nuts and coriander.
Roast Turkey with Herb Stuffing
If you want to be sure that your turkey is cooked, invest in a meat thermometer and push it into the thickest part of one of the thighs. This will then clearly show you when the turkey is cooked, leaving no doubt in your mind. Ask your butcher for the giblets with your turkey, as they make excellent stock. I always soak mine in cold water overnight to remove any impurities. Place them in a pan with a chopped carrot and onion, 6 whole peppercorns, 2 bay leaves and a sprig of thyme. Pour in 1.2 litres (2 pints) of water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain and use as required.
6kg (13lb) oven-ready turkey, at room temperature
(preferably free range)
100g (4oz) butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp plain flour
3 tbsp ruby red port or red wine
600ml (1 pint) turkey or chicken stock (page 226; see note above)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
small bunch of fresh herbs, to garnish (to include rosemary, sage and thyme)
crispy roast potatoes (page 152), to serve
roasted root vegetables with sesame seeds (page 156), to serve
Brussels sprout crumble (page 159), to serve
75g (3oz) butter
1 large onion, diced
175g (6oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh sage
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).
To make the stuffing, melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, until softened but not coloured. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and tip in the cooked onion and the parsley, sage and thyme. Mix well to combine and season.
To stuff the turkey, start at the neck end, where you’ll find a flap of loose skin. Gently loosen this away from the breast and you’ll be able to make a triangular pocket. Pack the stuffing inside as far as you can go and make a neat round shape on the outside, then tuck the neck flap under the turkey and secure it with a small skewer.
Smear the skin of the turkey all over with most of the butter and season generously. Turn the turkey breast side up and tie the tops of the drumsticks with string. Weigh the turkey to calculate the required cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes extra – a 6kg
(13lb) turkey should take about 4 hours 40 minutes to cook.
Lay a large sheet of foil lengthways over a large roasting tin, leaving enough at each end to wrap over the turkey, then lightly butter the foil. Repeat this with another sheet of foil, this time across the tin. Lightly butter the foil once again. Place the stuffed turkey breast side up in the centre of the foil, then wrap loosely to enclose, allowing air to circulate around the turkey.
Place in the oven and cook according to your calculated cooking time, carefully unwrapping and basting every 40 minutes. For the final hour, fold back the foil and use it to cover the ends of the drumsticks to prevent them from burning. Baste well and return to the oven. The turkey should be a rich, dark brown colour. To be sure it’s cooked, insert a fine skewer into the thickest part of the thigh: the juices should run clear, but if they are still pink, return the turkey to the oven and check again every 15 minutes until you are happy that the turkey is cooked right the way through. Remove from the oven and transfer to a warmed serving platter. Cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place for at least 10 minutes, or up to 30 minutes is fine.
Remove the foil from the roasting tin and pour any juices that collected in it into the tin. Place the tin directly on the hob over a gentle heat and skim off any excess fat from the cooking juices.
Stir the flour into the tin’s residue. Cook on the hob for 1–2 minutes, stirring until golden. Pour in the port or red wine, stirring to combine, then gradually add the stock, stirring until smooth after each addition. Bring to the boil and let it bubble for about 10 minutes, until reduced and thickened to a gravy consistency, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.
To serve, garnish the turkey with the bunch of herbs in the cavity and bring to the table. Carve into slices and arrange on warmed serving plates with some of the gravy, the roast potatoes, roasted root vegetables and Brussels sprout crumble.
Brussels Sprout Crumble
If you aren’t a fan of Brussels sprouts, try using thickly sliced leeks with broccoli or cauliflower instead. This will also make a good vegetarian option as part of a Christmas lunch if you leave out the bacon.
675g (1 ½lb) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
25g (1 oz) butter, extra to grease
2 rindless smoked bacon rashers, diced
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
200ml (7fl oz) cream
50ml (2fl oz) milk
good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
40g (1 ½oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
25g (1oz) walnut halves or pieces, chopped
15g (½oz) freshly grated Parmesan
1 tsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).
Half fill a pan with water, season with salt and bring to the boil. Add the Brussels sprouts and simmer for 4–5 minutes, until just tender but not soggy. Drain and refresh under running cold water.
Heat the butter in a pan and sauté the bacon and red onion over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the onion is softened and the bacon has begun to crisp up.
Butter a baking dish and tip in the blanched Brussels sprouts. Scatter over the sautéed bacon and red onion. Mix the cream with the milk and nutmeg in a jug and season to taste, then pour over the sprouts. Mix the breadcrumbs with the walnuts, Parmesan and parsley, then season to taste and sprinkle on top of the sprouts. Place in the oven for 20–25 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown.
To serve, place the Brussels sprout crumble straight on the table or use as required.
Crispy Roast Potatoes
For really crunchy roast potatoes with fluffy middles, choose a floury variety of potato, such as Roosters, and try to make sure that they are all similar in size. Save some fat that’s left over from a roast to use for this dish. It really does make a world of difference, and as all fats freeze very well, there’s no excuse not to have some, especially for special occasions like Christmas Day. To ensure really crispy roast potatoes, drain off any excess fat about 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time. This will help them to go really crispy and golden brown around the edges.
1.5kg (3lb) floury potatoes (such as Roosters), halved
about 100ml (3 ½fl oz) sunflower oil, or dripping,
goose or duck fat (see note above)
6 garlic cloves, slightly smashed (not peeled)
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F/gas mark 7).
Place the potatoes in a pan of cold salted water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8–10 minutes, until the outsides have just softened. Drain and return to the pan for a minute to dry out, shaking vigorously to knock off all the hard edges.
Meanwhile, preheat a roasting tin with a 1cm (½in) depth of oil, dripping, duck or goose fat for a few minutes, until just smoking. Roughly prod the outside of the potatoes with a fork and toss them with the garlic and rosemary. Carefully tip them into the hot oil, basting the tops. Roast for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden.
To serve, transfer the crispy roast potatoes with a slotted spoon into a warmed serving bowl. Season with the salt and place them straight on the table or use as required.
Maple Glazed Ham with Pineapple Salsa
A traditional ham is the perfect choice if you’ve got hordes of visitors to feed, so it’s especially good to have over the festive period. A certain crowd pleaser, it tastes equally good served hot or cold. Have you ever wondered what the difference is between ham, bacon and gammon? Bacon is cured pork; gammon is a hind leg cut of bacon; and once gammon is cooked, it’s called ham. Any leftovers from this ham or a turkey can be used in countless other dishes, such as in a creamy filling for vol-au-vents, in risottos or just the ham is excellent for a spaghetti carbonara, so there’s no waste – even the bone will make a wonderful stock. Serves 10–12
5.25kg (11lb) leg of gammon (on the bone and skin on)
4 celery sticks, roughly chopped
2 onions, sliced
1 bunch of fresh thyme
1 tbsp black peppercorns
200ml (7fl oz) Irish whiskey
200ml (7fl oz) maple syrup
2 tbsp redcurrant jelly
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp ground allspice
1 tbsp whole cloves
1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm (½in) dice
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 small red onion, finely chopped
finely grated rind and juice of 1 lime
½ large red chilli, seeded and finely chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh mint
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2 tsp freshly grated root ginger
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Although gammon is less salty nowadays, soaking is still a good idea. Place the gammon in a large pan and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight is best, then drain.
Weigh the gammon joint and calculate the cooking time, allowing 20 minutes per 450g (1lb) plus 20 minutes – a 5.25kg (11lb) joint should take about 4 hours. Place in a large pan, cover with water and bring to the boil, skimming off any scum. Add the celery, onions, thyme and peppercorns and return to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat and simmer until completely tender, occasionally skimming off any scum that rises to the top. If you aren’t sure the gammon is properly cooked, check the bone end – it should come away freely from the gammon joint. Drain and leave until it’s cool enough to handle.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4).
Carefully peel away the skin, leaving the layer of white fat intact. Using a sharp knife, score the fat diagonally to make a diamond pattern, being careful not to cut into the meat. Place the whiskey in a pan with the maple syrup, redcurrant jelly, balsamic vinegar and ground allspice. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. Stud the ham with the cloves and place in a large roasting tin with a little water to prevent the bottom from catching and burning. Brush a layer of the syrup all over the ham, reserving the remainder. Cook for 1 hour, brushing over another layer of the glaze every 15 minutes, until it’s all gone. Remove the cooked ham from the oven, transfer to a serving platter and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the pineapple salsa. Mix the diced pineapple with the sugar. Heat a non-stick frying pan over a high heat, add the pineapple and cook quickly for about 2 minutes to lightly caramelise it. Tip into a bowl and add the onion, lime rind and juice, chilli, herbs and ginger. Season to taste and set aside to allow the flavours to develop.
To serve, carve slices from one side of the ham, cutting diagonally to achieve an even thickness. When you reach the bone, insert the knife at a flatter angle and slice across the top of the bone. Turn over the leg to carve slices from the other sides. Arrange on serving plates with spoonfuls of the pineapple salsa.
Auntie Maureen’s Plum Pudding
Nothing beats the flavour of homemade Christmas pudding. I love it hot or cold, with lashings of cream, but the brandy and rum crème analgaise is even more special. I always look forward to it. A big thank you to Auntie Maureen for sharing her recipe. Makes 2 x 1.2 litre
(2 pint) puddings
50g (2oz) plain flour
½ tsp ground mixed spice
½ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
225g (8oz) sultanas
175g (6oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
175g (6oz) butter, melted, extra for greasing
175g (6oz) light muscovado sugar
175g (6oz) raisins
50g (2oz) currants
50g (2oz) candied mixed peel
50g (2oz) blanched almonds, chopped
½ apple, peeled, cored and diced
½ small carrot, grated
finely grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
300ml (½ pint) stout
fresh redcurrant sprigs, to decorate
icing sugar, for dusting (optional)
brandy and rum crème anglaise
(page 231), to serve
Sift together the flour, mixed spice, cloves and nutmeg. Add the sultanas, breadcrumbs, melted butter, sugar, raisins, currants, mixed peel, almonds, apple, carrot and the lemon rind and juice and mix until well combined. Gradually add the beaten eggs, stirring constantly, followed by the stout. Mix everything thoroughly and cover with a clean tea towel, then leave in a cool place overnight.
Grease 2 x 1.2 litre (2 pint) pudding bowls and fill with the fruit mixture. Cover with a double thickness of greaseproof paper and tin foil, then tie tightly under the rim with string. Store in a cool, dry place for up to 4 months.
To cook, preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F/gas mark 2) and stand each pudding basin in a large cake tin three-quarters full of boiling water. Cook for 6–8 hours (or you can steam them for 6 hours in the usual way). Allow the puddings to cool, then re-cover with clean greaseproof paper. Again, store in a cool, dry place.
On Christmas Day, re-cover with new greaseproof paper and foil. Steam for 2–3 hours, until completely cooked through and tender. Decorate with redcurrant sprigs and a light dusting of icing sugar, if liked.
To serve, cut the plum pudding into slices and arrange on serving plates. Have a separate jug of the brandy and rum crème anglaise so that everyone can help themselves.
MACNEAN OLD-FASHIONED MINCE MEAT PIES
Not surprisingly, my Auntie Maureen is also the champion of this Maguire classic. Before she retired, she was a Domestic Science teacher in Cavan, and I don’t believe she ever had a pupil who didn’t learn how to make her marvellous mince meat pies. Once you’ve made it yourself, you’ll never buy another jar of the stuff again. Why not make twice the amount of mincemeat and put in some sterilised fancy jars, wrap with a red ribbon and give a jar to your friends for a Christmas gift.
Makes about 40
FOR THE SWEET PASTRY:
100g (4oz) butter or margarine
175g (6oz) plain flour
pinch of salt
50g (2oz) caster sugar
1 egg yolk, plus beaten egg to glaze
1/2 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp lemon juice
FOR THE MINCEMEAT:
350g (12oz) eating apples
225g (8oz) butter
225g (8oz) raisins
225g (8oz) sultanas
225g (8oz) currants
100g (4oz) candied citrus peel
175g (6oz) blanched almonds, chopped
175g (6oz) dark muscovado sugar
finely grated rind 1 orange
finely grated rind 1 lemon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
300ml (1/2 pint) whiskey
icing sugar, to dust
To make the mincemeat, peel, core and finely chop apples. Melt the butter in a small pan or in the microwave. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and cover with clean a tea cloth. Leave for 2 days for the flavours to develop, then pack into clean, dry jars. Seal and store in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks before use.
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F), Gas mark 4. To make the pastry, place the butter or margarine, flour, salt and sugar into a food processor and blend for 20 seconds. Add the egg yolk and cream and blend again until the pastry comes together. Do not over-work or the pastry will be tough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for an hour. Roll out half of the pastry thinly on a lightly floured board. Cut out 40 x 6cm (21/2in) rounds with a cutter and use to line tartlet tins. Fill with the mincemeat.
Roll out the remainder of pastry and cut 40 x 7cm (3in) rounds with a cutter to fit the tops. Brush the edges with water and place smaller rounds on top, seal with tips of fingers. Make a small slit in each mince pie. Brush with beaten egg. Bake for 15-16 minutes until cooked through and golden brown. Cool in the tins before lifting out the mince pies. Dust with icing sugar and arrange on a large serving platter to serve.
Click here for Buttermilk Brined Roast Crown of Turkey