An alternative Christmas Day feast – from Leiths and Asda

by Joanna Biddolph - Wednesday December 14, 2011 2:42 am

There are some who will not eat turkey at Christmas, ever. Most of us are tempted to try something different once at least, only to default to turkey because it seems so much more, well, Christmassy. Whichever you are, this menu – a selection of recipes created by Leiths School of Food and Wine specifically for Asda – could be the alternative you seek.

The starter would impress vegetarians. The main course would satisfy the most hot-blooded carnivore. The pud … it’s chocolate and cream – do you need to be persuaded?

Our intrepid reporter, Joanna Biddolph, spent an evening with Leiths and Asda, at Leiths School of Food and Wine in London, cooking these recipes with other food writers. She cooked the venison (and ate that and everything else with shameless greed).

Menu

Warm roast butternut squash and broccoli with feta and croutons

Venison with a red wine sauce, parsnip and crème fraîche purée, stir-fried sprouts with chorizo, and devils on horseback

Yule log

Warm roast butternut squash and broccoli with feta and croutons

Serves 4

This is exceptionally pretty, the deep green of the broccoli contrasting with the orangey flesh of the butternut squash, the splashes of red and creamy white of the feta making it a visual feast. It is also exceptionally delicious with contrasts of textures and taste: a bit of heat, subtle garlic, salty and sweet, crisp and soft, meltingly smooth and crunchy.

1 small (or ½ a large) butternut squash

300g Asda Extra Special tenderstem broccoli

100g Asda Extra Special golden plum tomatoes, halved lengthways

100g Asda Extra Special mini san Marzano tomatoes, halved lengthways

Olive oil

3-4 garlic cloves (to taste), thinly sliced

1 red chilli (to taste), thinly sliced

200g Asda Extra Special feta cheese, crumbled

Pack Asda Extra Special croutons

Salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
  2. Trim the top and bottom from the butternut squash and cut in half lengthways, remove the seeds with a teaspoon and peel. Cut the flesh into 2cm chunks. Place in a bowl, drizzle over a little olive oil, salt and pepper and toss together. Tip into a roasting tin. Place in the oven for 30 minutes or until tender and slightly brown, turning occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, trim the ends of the broccoli. Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Blanch the broccoli for 2-3 minutes, depending on the thickness of the stem, drain well.
  4. Halfway through the cooking time for the butternut squash, add the tomatoes.
  5. Heat three tablespoons of olive oil in a small saucepan on a medium flame. Add the garlic and chilli. Cook for about two minutes or until the garlic turns golden.
  6. Place the broccoli and butternut squash in a large bowl, pour over the hot oil with the chilli and garlic, season with salt and pepper, add the croutons and toss well being careful not to break up the squash.
  7. Arrange the vegetables on individual plates or a large serving platter, break the feta and scatter over the salad

Venison with a red wine sauce, parsnip and crème fraîche purée, stir-fried sprouts with chorizo, and devils on horseback

Serves 4

A strikingly good looking plate of food – and a luxurious alternative for those who want a meaty alternative to the traditional turkey.

Venison

1 Asda Extra Special 8 bone Venison rack

Crust

2 teaspoons Asda Extra Special Tewkesbury mustard

1 teaspoon rosemary, chopped

1 teaspoon thyme, chopped

20g dried breadcrumbs salt and pepper

Red wine sauce

2 shallots, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

40g butter

150ml red wine

300ml Asda Extra Special beef stock

1 tablespoon Asda Extra Special redcurrant sauce

2 teaspoons soft butter

2 teaspoons plain flour

Devils on horseback

8 ready to eat prunes

4 rashers Asda Extra Special rindless streaky bacon

Accompaniments

Parsnip and crème fraîche purée (recipe below)

Stir-fried sprouts with chorizo (recipe below)

Pack of Asda Extra Special root vegetable crisps

Method

Heat the oven to 190°C/ 375°F/Gas 5.

  1. Prepare the venison: Spread the mustard over the top of the venison. Mix together all the remaining ingredients and press onto the mustard. Place in a roasting tin and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes for rare, longer if you like your venison well done. Rest for 30 minutes before serving.
  2. Meanwhile make the sauce: Cook the shallots and garlic gently in the butter for 5-10 minutes. Add the wine and reduce it until it is syrupy. Add the stock, bring to the boil and reduce by half. Add the redcurrant sauce and any juices that have come from the meat whilst it is resting. Mix together the butter and flour to make a paste and whisk this into the sauce to thicken it; allow it to boil before serving. Keep warm.
  3. Prepare the bacon trimmings: Stretch the bacon with the back of a knife to make it longer and thinner. Cut each rasher in half and wrap each half around a prune. Secure the bacon in place with a cocktail stick. Cook in the oven for eight minutes, just before serving.
  4. Prepare the parsnip puree (recipe below).
  5. Prepare the stir-fried sprouts and chorizo (recipe below).
  6. To serve: Carve the rack of venison. Add some of the parsnip puree to each plate. Arrange two slices of venison on top. Add the sprouts with chorizo, the bacon and prunes and decorate with a few vegetable crisps. Serve the sauce separately.

Stir-Fried Sprouts with Chorizo

Serves 4

250g Brussels sprouts, trimmed

50g Asda Extra Special Spanish Chorizo Casero, cut into 0.5cm thin strips

1 tsp sunflower oil

Juice of one lemon

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. First shred the sprouts: Either cut each sprout in half lengthways then thinly slice each half lengthways or shred them in a food processor.
  2. Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan or wok until hot but not smoking. Add the chorizo and stir-fry for two minutes; it will begin to release its rich-coloured oil. Remove the chorizo from the pan.
  3. Add the shredded sprouts to the pan and turn over in the oil, cooking for one minute, then add three tablespoons of water. Immediately cover the pan with a lid and cook for a further one to two minutes, depending on how finely they have been shredded and how crunchy you like them.
  4. Add the chorizo and toss the mixture gently. Taste and season with salt and pepper, and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve piping hot.

Parsnip and crème fraîche purée

Serves 4

450g/1lb floury potatoes, peeled and quartered

450g/1lb parsnips, peeled

200g Asda Extra Special crème fraîche

1 clove of garlic, crushed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Boil the potatoes in salted water for five minutes. Add the parsnips and simmer with the potatoes until both are tender. 
  2. Push the parsnips and potatoes through a sieve or mouli. 
  3. Return the mixture to the dry saucepan and heat carefully, stirring, to allow them to steam-dry. 
  4. In a separate saucepan, bring the crème fraîche to the boil with the garlic and simmer gently for five minutes until reduced by half. Pour the cream into the parsnip and potato purée and beat together until smooth and glossy. Season with salt and pepper.

Yule log

Serves 6

225g/8oz Asda Extra Special dark chocolate, roughly chopped

85ml/3fl oz water

1 tsp strong instant coffee powder

5 eggs

140g/5oz caster sugar

200ml/1/3 pint of double cream

Icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.

  1. Line a large roasting pan with silicone paper. 
  2. Put the chocolate, water and coffee into a heavy saucepan and melt over a low heat. Separate the eggs and beat the yolks and the caster sugar until pale and mousse-like. With clean beaters, whisk the whites until stiff but not dry. 
  3. Add the melted chocolate to the egg and sugar mixture. 
  4. With a large metal spoon, stir a small amount of the whisked egg whites thoroughly into the chocolate mixture, to loosen it. Fold the remaining whites in gently. 
  5. Spread the mixture evenly on the baking parchment. 
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes until the top is slightly browned and firm to touch. 
  7. Slide the cake and parchment out of the roasting pan on to a wire rack. Cover immediately with a damp tea-towel (to prevent the cake from cracking) and leave to cool. 
  8. Place a piece of greaseproof paper just larger than the cake on the work surface. Sieve over an even layer of icing sugar. 
  9. Quickly turn the cake onto the paper then peel away the baking parchment. Trim the edges. 
  10. Whip the cream and spread it evenly over the cake. Roll up like a Swiss roll, removing the parchment as you go (as the cake is very moist, it is inclined to break up as you roll it; it doesn’t matter; just stick it together with the cream or leave it looking rustic. 
  11. Put the roll on to a serving dish.
  12. Just before serving, sift a little icing sugar over the top. 

Christmas tips

As a Yule log, its tendency to crack is a positive advantage: the firm skin cracks very like the bark of a tree. Sprigs of holly or marzipan toadstools help to give it a festive look. The dusting of icing sugar will look like snow.

Asda Extra Special range

Leiths School of Food and Wine

 

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