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CHRISTMAS DINNER MAKE – AHEAD

MAKE – AHEAD CHRISTMAS DINNER

We all know how hectic Christmas can be and especially stressful to the chef in the family. We hope this Christmas dinner make-ahead menu will solve this problem.

Menu for CHRISTMAS DINNER MAKE – AHEAD

  • Chicken Liver Pâté With Cognac
  • Day – Ahead Christmas Turkey With Stuffing And Gravy
  • Potato Casserole With Crumb Topping
  • Country Rutabaga Casserole
  • Brussels Sprouts With Chestnuts
  • Candy Cane Parfait With Chocolate Sauce

CHICKEN LIVER PÂTÉ WITH COGNAC

Chicken Liver Pâté With Cognac
Even children who don’t like liver will eat this pate. Make it quickly and easily in your food processor or blender, or put it through a meat grinder.

  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted Butter 25 mL
  • 1 large Onion, chopped 1
  • 1 small clove Garlic, minced 1
  • 2 lbs. Chicken Livers, trimmed 1 kg
  • Ground Allspice
  • Ground Nutmeg or Mace
  • ¼ tsp. Black Pepper 1 mL
  • Salt
  • ½ cup Cognac 125 mL
  • 2 pkg. (each 250 g) Cream Cheese 2
  • ¼ cup minced fresh Parsley 50 mL
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh Chives 25 mL

METHOD for CHICKEN LIVER PÂTÉ WITH COGNAC:

In a large, heavy metal (not cast – iron) skillet, heat butter over medium heat and sauté onion and garlic until golden but not brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in chicken livers and cook about 10 minutes (they will still be pinkish). Add a little allspice and nutmeg, the pepper, and salt to taste.

Pour Cognac over, and warm gently, without stirring, then light with match to burn off alcohol. When flames have died, spoon 1/3 of the liver mixture into food processor. Add 1/3 of the cheese; puree, using on/off motion, until creamy. Repeat with remaining liver mixture and cream cheese. Using wooden spoon, stir in parsley and chives. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Spoon into attractive crockery terrine, mould or bowl; cover and chill for several hours or days. Serve with toast squares. Makes 12 to 16 servings.

DAY – AHEAD CHRISTMAS TURKEY WITH STUFFING AND GRAVY

DAY – AHEAD CHRISTMAS TURKEY WITH STUFFING AND GRAVY
You can roast the turkey on Christmas Eve without spoiling the pleasure of serving it hot on Christmas day. The turkey is roasted up to within one hour of completion; the stuffing is removed and refrigerated. Then the turkey is stored, covered with wet towels, in refrigerator or a very cool place. The final roasting begins one hour before serving time.

  • 1 Turkey (18 to 22 lb. / 8 to 10 kg) 1
  • Cheesecloth
  • Fresh Lemon Juice

Sausage Stuffing (recipe follows)

  • 2 lb. Farmer’s Sausage or Pork Sausages 1 kg
  • 2 tsp. dried Sage 10 mL
  • 2 tsp. dried Summer Savory 10 mL
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter 25 mL
  • 2 large Onions, chopped 2
  • 2 large stalks Celery with leaves, chopped 2
  • 1/3 cup chopped Fresh Parsley 75 mL
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 cup dried Apricots (optional) 250 mL
  • 1 cup Wheat Germ 250 mL
  • 6 cups toasted Bread Cubes or Crumbs 1.5 L
  • Hot water, Turkey Stock, Dry Sherry or Cognac, Cheesecloth
  • 1 cup melted Butter or Margarine 250 mL

Turkey Gravy (recipe follows)

Make the gravy the day before, after the turkey has been partially roasted and refrigerated.

  • Drippings from roasting pan
  • 6 Tbsp. All – purpose Flour 100 mL
  • Homemade Turkey Stock* or Water
  • Salt and Pepper

METHOD for TURKEY WITH STUFFING AND GRAVY:

Rub turkey inside and out with cheesecloth dipped in lemon juice.

Stuff as directed in stuffing recipe and brush with melted butter. Place on rack in large roasting pan. Cover with 2 sheets of foil arranged to form a loose tent over bird. Roast in 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius) oven, calculating 25 minutes per pound. To cook in advance, deduct 1 hour from cooking time and remove from oven.

Remove stuffing and unmould from cheesecloth into casserole. Let cool and chill.
Leave foil on turkey; transfer to large platter. (Save pan drippings to make gravy). Soak two large towels in cold water; wring and wrap around turkey and platter. Store in refrigerator overnight, keeping towels moist.

Next day, finish roasting the turkey, with foil in place, in 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius) oven for 1 hour or until legs move easily. Makes 14 generous servings.

SAUSAGE STUFFING: Break up sausage or squeeze meat from casing into large greased skillet; cook over medium heat, stirring, until all traces of pink disappear. Stir in sage and savory. Drain and place in large mixing bowl.

Melt butter in another skillet and sauté onions, celery and parsley until golden. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chop apricots if using, and stir into vegetables along with wheat germ.

Add vegetable mixture and bread cubes to sausage meat; stir well; Moisten with enough hot water to make a dry or moist dressing as desired.
Line turkey cavity with double thickness of cheesecloth. Using ice cream scoop, spoon stuffing into cheesecloth lining, allowing room for stuffing to expand during roasting. (Extra stuffing may be baked separately in small covered baking dish.)

When turkey comes out of oven, remove cheesecloth with stuffing. Turn stuffing out into casserole, discarding cheesecloth. Cover and refrigerated. Next day, reheat stuffing covered, in 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius) oven until hot centre. Makes enough for one 22 – lb (10 kg) turkey.

TURKEY GRAVY: Pour drippings from roasting pan into large saucepan; let stand until fat rises to surface. Skim off fat.

Heat drippings; sprinkle flour over and stir in. add turkey stock and cook, stirring, over medium heat until bubbly and slightly thickened. Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Strain through coarse sieve and refrigerate.

Wash roasting pan and line with foil in preparation for the final hour of roasting turkey next day. Any additional pan drippings may be added to prepared gravy.

Heat gravy gently before serving and pour into gravy boat.

*Homemade turkey stock may be made by cooking turkey neck and gizzard in enough seasoned water to cover until tender. Strain and use for gravy.

POTATO CASSEROLE WITH CRUMB TOPPING

Potato Casserole With Crumb Topping
Here’s an easy way to make traditional mashed potatoes ahead of time.

  • Large potatoes (1 per person)
  • Sour cream
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Buttered dry breadcrumbs
  • Grated Cheddar cheese (optional)

METHOD for POTATO CASSEROLE WITH CRUMB TOPPING:

Peel potatoes and cook until tender. Drain and place over low heat, shaking pan gently to dry.

Mash potatoes until smooth, adding enough sour cream (about ½ cup/ 125 mL per 5 or 6 potatoes) to make a creamy consistency. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.

Transfer potatoes to buttered casserole and sprinkle top with buttered crumbs and grated cheese if using. Refrigerate.

Bring room temperature about 30 minutes before reheating. Reheat, uncovered, in 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius) oven for 35 to 40 minutes.

COUNTRY RUTABAGA CASSEROLE

COUNTRY RUTABAGA CASSEROLE
The addition of applesauce makes this dish taste wonderful. I have also made this using squash instead of turnip.

  • 2 medium to large Rutabaga (turnip) 2
  • 1 cup homemade Applesauce or 3 Apples, peeled, cored and chopped 250 mL
  • ½ cup Butter 125 mL
  • Salt and Pepper

METHOD for COUNTRY RUTABAGA CASSEROLE:

Peel rutabaga and slice in food processor or using sharp knife, cut into 1 – inch (2.5 cm) strips. Place in large saucepan and cover with boiling water. Cook until tender. If using fresh apples, add them near end of cooking time.

Drain and mash rutabaga or process in food processor with steel blade in place. Add applesauce, butter and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into buttered casserole and refrigerate.

Bring to room temperature about 30 minutes before baking and reheat, uncovered, in 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius) oven until hot in centre, about 35 minutes. Makes 10 to 14 servings.

BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CHESTNUTS

BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CHESTNUTS
You can use small fresh Brussels sprouts instead of frozen if desired.

  • 3 pkg. (10 oz /228 g) frozen Brussels Sprouts 3
  • ½ lb. cooked shelled Chestnuts* 250g
  • Butter
  • Salt, Pepper and Nutmeg
  • ¼ cup Turkey or Chicken Stock 50 mL
  • ½ cup dry Breadcrumbs 125 mL

METHOD for BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CHESTNUTS:

Place Brussels sprouts in steamer basket over hot water and steam briefly. Drain while still bright green and firm. Plunge immediately into cold water and drain well.

In buttered casserole, place Brussels sprouts in alternate layers with chestnuts, dotting each layer with butter and sprinkling with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Moisten with stock.

Top with layer of breadcrumbs and dot with additional butter. Store, covered, in refrigerator overnight.

Bring to room temperature about 30 minutes before baking and reheat, uncovered, in 325 degrees Fahrenheit (160 degrees Celsius) oven for about 35 minutes.

Makes 10 to 14 servings.

*To cook with chestnuts, make slits in skins with sharp knife. Cover with boiling water and cook until tender. Remove outer shell and inner skins.

CANDY CANE PARFAIT WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE

CANDY CANE PARFAIT WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE
While adults enjoy plum pudding, children often prefer this light and refreshing dessert.

  • 3 medium Candy Canes 3
  • 4 cups Whipping Cream 1 L
  • 1 cup Icing Sugar 250 mL

Crush 1 candy cane and place in top of double boiler along with one cup (250ml) whipping cream; heat over hot water, stirring until melted.

Whip remaining 3 cups (750ml) cream, adding sugar gradually, until thick. Slowly pour melted candy cane mixture into whipping cream, beating gently. Taste and adjust sweetening.

Pour into 9 x 5 inch (2L) loaf pan or ice cube trays and freeze. When parfait is partially frozen, crush remaining candy canes and stir in. Freeze until firm. To serve, scoop into individual serving dishes and spoon Chocolate Sauce over. Makes 6 servings

CHOCOLATE SAUCE (recipe follows)

  • 1 pkg. (6 oz/ 175 g) Semisweet Chocolate Chips 1
  • ¼ cup Water 50 mL
  • ¼ cup granulated Sugar 50 mL
  • ¼ cup light Cream 50 mL

METHOD for CANDY CANE PARFAIT WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE:

In top of double boiler, combine chocolate, water and sugar and heat over hot water, stirring, until smooth. Remove from heat and blend in cream. Transfer to small pitcher. Makes enough sauce for 6 servings.

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