Customs and traditions are what bring us together. Many of us will not eat Turkey any day other than Christmas. Yet a traditional Roast Turkey meal is an enduring and iconic part of Christmas day dining for many in the UK and North America.
This year, Waitrose has come out with a Christmas meal calculator. Based on a traditional Turkey roast, the calculator lets you work out exactly the right amount to order based on the quantity of mouths to be fed.They have a party meal planner too, so you can calculate how many canapes and other goodies to buy for other parties over the festive season. Of course if you want some matching wines, the Waitrose calculator will work this out and make some great suggestions too – here are their lovely festive wine picks.
So what did we think of the Waitrose meal planning calculators?
- The tools have a simple slider that you use to adjust your head count for meals.
- It then scales your ingredients up or down.
- If you want to buy stuff you can then click to go into the online ordering system, although of course there is nothing to stop you using this calculator to prepare your shopping list for any store.
- The calculator assumes you will be eating a traditional meal. Those who prefer vegetarian, pescatarian or other meat alternatives will find plenty to suit them at Waitrose and other supermarkets this year, but it is not part of this particular planning tool.
- We think this is a clever and useful tool, though it would be great if it had a closer interface with the online shopping tool. Once you know what you need, you still need to go into the Christmas Food Shop and manually order the items you need individually.
- That said, we all know the festive shopping frenzy that happens over the holiday season. The overbuying and the food waste. If anything can reduce the need for blog posts such as ’21 ways and 21 days to use up your Christmas meal leftovers’ we are right behind it!
A festive meal idea
We were asked to do a trial run of a festive roast. Being part of the ‘A Turkey is mainly for Christmas’ brigade, we chose a smaller bird, braising chicken in a rich stock, serving it up with some of these fritters, aka hash, aka Bubble and Squeak.
If ever a dish could be imagined by its name, that would have to be Bubble and Squeak. A traditional English dish that uses up the remains of roasted vegetables to make crispy fritters. Hash (US) or Stoemp (Flemish) would be a similar concoction. It is most often cabbage and mashed potato, but any combination suits, so we used mashed parsnips and potatoes, some brussel sprouts and leeks.
We spiced up with a little chilli, mustard and cumin. A quick, easy, frugal and healthy recipe that we upgraded from leftover to the main meal. Comfort food in the extreme.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 2 Chicken Legs (skin on)
- 2 Chicken Breasts (skin on)
- 1 shallot chopped finely
- 1 garlic clove peeled and crushed
- 1 carrot chopped finely
- 1 tablespoon tomato puree
- 1 cup red cooking wine (optional)
- 1 litre chicken (or vegetable stock)
- 1 teaspoon herbes de provence
- 1 leek
- 1 Carrot
- 120g (4.2 oz) Brussel Sprout
- 1 garlic clove peeled and crushed
- 1 small red chilli
- 2 teaspoons mustard
- half teaspoon cumin
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon chopped coriander
- 300g (10.6 oz) Mashed Potato
- 150g (5.3 oz) Mashed Parsnip
- Salt and Pepper
- Vegetable oil to
- saute the fritters
- Preheat the oven to 180Deg (160Deg Fan, 350DegF)
- In a oven safe saucepan heat the olive oil and brown the pieces of meat to seal them.
- Place them in a dish whilst you prepare the braising liquid.
- Scrape the shallot, garlic and carrots into the pan and cook over medium heat till the vegetables are softened.
- Add the tomato puree and coat the vegetables.
- If using, add the wine and heat till it reduces down a little and thicken up with the tomato sauce (about 3 to 5 minutes).
- Place the meat back into the saucepan and pour over the stock and herbs.
- Bring the contents to a gentle simmer, then using heat resistant gloves, transfer the pot to the oven, uncovered to allow the meat to cook and the liquid to reduce. Cook for an hour. If the liquid is reduced by more than half, cover the dish for the remaining cooking time.
- Whilst the meat is cooking, chop the leek, carrot and sprouts
- Heat a teaspoon of oil in a frying pan and cook the chopped vegetables over a medium heat
- Once softened add the crushed garlic, chilli, mustard, spices and the coriander.
- In a bowl combine the mashed potato and parsnip and then add the cooked vegetables and stir to combine.
- Shape the mix into fritters chill in the fridge until ready to fry.
- When the meat is cooked, remove the chicken and pulse the stock in a blender to create a gravy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Saute the fritters in a small amount of oil over medium heat until they are brown and crispy
- Serve with cranberries (we pickled some with spices - recipe to follow) or other seasonal condiments.
We hope your festive meal plans are coming along well. Do you have any variations planned?
Linking this up to Credit Crunch Munch hosted by Camilla and Helen and Simple and in Season with Ren Behan. Also linking to No Waste Food challenge (Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary) and Family foodies hosted by Vanesther and Louisa
We were given shopping vouchers from Waitrose and sent some festive decorations to create this post. Our opinions are our own and we were not required to give any particular opinion.