All-In-One Baked Vegetables
These vegetables not only taste delicious but also are the perfect accompaniment not only to your turkey but to any roast, such as a roast rib of beef or even the Slow Roast Leg of Lamb and the best part is that they can be prepared well in advance leaving nothing to do last minute. Expect of course remembering to pop them in the oven! The oven temperature is quite flexible so simply put on the bottom shelf of your oven depending on what you are cooking and adjust the cooking time accordingly. The best part of them is that they will keep warm in the unopened parcel leaving you with one less thing to worry about!
Preheat the oven to 180C (350F), Gas mark 4. Peel the carrots and parsnips then cut into even-sized batons. Cut the celery into similar sized batons. Take a large double sheet of tin foil or parchment paper and pile the vegetable batons in the middle.
Scatter the onion and thyme over the vegetables and dot with the butter, then drizzle over about four tablespoons of water. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then fold in the sides of the parcel to enclose the carrots by bringing up the sides, then folding over and twisting the edges.
Place the foil or parchment bag on a baking sheet and roast for 1 hour until the vegetables are meltingly tender and slightly caramelised. To serve, either open the baked vegetable parcel at the table or carefully pour the vegetables and all of their juices into a nice big warmed dish.
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! There's no big secret to greatness here: you don't need to dust them with semolina (too grainy), or toss them in seasoned flour. Don't boil them to the point of disintegration – there's no need, and half of them will then just fall apart – but do add some of the peelings to the pan when parboiling; believe it or not, they really do improve the flavour (just taste the cooled water for the proof). Toss the potatoes gently while draining, to rough up the edges, rather than going to the bother of scraping them with a fork. All you really need is hot fat, and an even hotter oven. This recipe also works for 900g of parsnips – simply blanch for 3 minutes instead, and cook for about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190C(375F), Gas mark 5. Wash and peel the potatoes, reserving the peel. Cut them in half or 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.
Meanwhile, put four tablespoons of goose fat, or six tablespoons olive oil 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.
Roast for about an hour until golden and crunchy, keeping an eye on them and basting with a little more fat if they begin to look dry. Serve immediately these do not appreciate hanging around!