24th December 2021 – Side Dishes

  • Golden Crunch Roast Potatoes

While turkey may be the star of the Christmas table, if you get your roast potatoes right, then frankly you could serve chicken nuggets and most people would still be happy as Larry. Let's face it, we are all about the potatoes as a nation! This recipe also works for 900g (2lb)

of parsnips – simply blanch for 3 minutes instead and cook for about 45 minutes. Try to use beef dripping for the best flavour. Check out James Whelan Butchers online for an award-winning dripping that can be delivered straight to your door.

Serves 8 -10

  • 1.5kg (3¼lb) floury potatoes, such as Rooster, Desiree, King Edward or Maris Piper
  • 4 tbsp beef dripping, goose or duck fat (from a jar or left over from a roast)
  • sea salt
  • handful of fresh rosemary sprigs
  • (optional)

1 Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/gas mark 5).

2 Wash and peel the potatoes, reserving the peel. Cut the

potatoes in half or into quarters, depending on their size. Put

them in a large pan of salted boiling water along with the peel

– it’s easiest if you can put this in a muslin infusing bag. Parboil

for 8 minutes.

3 Meanwhile, put the beef dripping, goose or duck fat in a

large roasting tin and put it into the oven to heat. Drain the

potatoes and discard the peel, then put them back in the pan

and shake gently to rough up the edges. Take the roasting tin

out of the oven and put on the hob over a gentle heat. Put the

potatoes in one by one – they should sizzle as they hit the pan

– and baste all over. Season with salt.

4 Roast in the oven for about 1 hour, until golden and crunchy,

keeping an eye on them and basting with a little more fat if

they begin to look dry. Add some fresh rosemary sprigs (if

using) about 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

Serve immediately, as these do not appreciate hanging



  • Roasted Potatoes with Truffle & Parmesan

For a really decadent twist, once the roast potatoes are cooked,

sprinkle them with a couple teaspoons of your favourite truffle

oil, then scatter over freshly grated Parmesan cheese to serve.

  • Brussels Sprouts with Preserved Lemon & Parmesan

Add a deliciously different side dish to your Christmas dinner spread with these moreish Brussels sprouts. Shallow frying your sprouts like this gives them a whole new depth of flavour that’s like the addictive crispy seaweed (basically cabbage) you get in Chinese restaurants. The knack is to sizzle them gently so that by the time the cut side is deep brown, the rest of the vegetable has wilted in the heat. Use only super fresh Brussels sprouts that literally snap when you break them off the stalks.


  • 500g (18oz) Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
  • 25g (1oz) butter, chilled and diced
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 tbsp finely diced preserved lemon
  • 3 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
  • Cheese

1 Peel off the outer leaves from the Brussels sprouts, then slice each one in half.

2 Heat the oil in a large frying pan set over a medium heat. Put the sprouts in the pan, cut side down, and let them sizzle for 10 minutes without disturbing them. After 5 minutes, dot over

the butter and allow it to sizzle and brown – the sprouts need to be really crispy and dark brown. If they are only lightly brown, carry on cooking them for another 5 minutes, then turn over and continue to cook for another few minutes, until just cooked through and tender when pierced with a small sharp knife.

3 Remove the sprouts from the heat and season with salt, then scatter over the preserved lemon and toss until evenly coated. Sprinkle over the Parmesan and toss again before tipping into a warmed serving dish. Serve at once.

  • Braised Red Cabbage with Pomegranate

This is an ideal vegetable to prepare in advance and is excellent with

turkey, ham or goose. It will keep for up to a week in the fridge covered

with cling film in a non-metallic bowl. It also freezes very well – simply pop

into medium-sized freezer bags and leave to thaw out before reheating

gently, either on the hob or in a casserole dish with a lid in the oven.

Serves 8 – 10

  • 4 tbsp duck or goose fat (from a jar
  • or left over from a roast) or 2 tbsp
  • rapeseed oil
  • 1 red cabbage, trimmed, cored and finely shredded
  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large Bramley cooking apple, peeled, cored and grated
  • 100g (4oz) dried cranberries
  • 300ml (½ pint) red wine
  • 300ml (½ pint) pomegranate juice
  • 6 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • good pinch of ground cloves
  • sea salt and freshly ground black
  • pepper
  • pomegranate seeds, to garnish


1 Melt the duck or goose fat in a very large heavy-based pan

set over a medium heat, then tip in the red cabbage and

onions. Sauté over a medium-high heat for about 5 minutes,

until just beginning to soften.

2 Stir in the apple and cranberries, then add the red wine,

pomegranate juice, redcurrant jelly, red wine vinegar and

spices. Season to taste. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally,

then reduce the heat and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring

every 20 minutes, until the cabbage is meltingly tender.

Transfer to a warmed dish and garnish with pomegranate

seeds (if using) to serve.