Early Christmas Dinner

  • Recipe(s): The best roast turkey (page 194) & Creamy butternut squash (page 350)
  • Prep: Moderate & Easy
  • Taste: Good & Good

We have been waiting for this time of the year to make the turkey recipe from, ‘Cook with Jamie…’ We were going to save it for right around Christmas but thought that most people get inundated with turkey at that time, so we made it a few weeks ahead of the holiday, a prelude to the Season. We sent the invite out to my brother and sister-in-law, they accepted and the other night (December 6, 2014) we made a full turkey dinner.

If you have ever made a turkey dinner before you know how much prep is involved. Not only do you have to prep the bird but you also have to make the stuffing that goes along with it. Well, this recipe was no different. In fact, there was actually more prep involved in this recipe than with others I’ve cooked. In addition to stuffing the bird, you also poke your pancetta-wrapped rosemary sprigs into the legs and thighs, which isn’t the easiest thing to do. Things are made all that much more difficult when you’ve attended a rockin’ holiday party the night before..!

The cooked turkey was good. The turkey itself was really no different from others I’ve had in my life but the stuffing was definitely unique. I’m used to stuffing that is heavy on bread but this one took it the other way and was heavy on pork sausage, which I’d never had in stuffing before. This alone made the stuffing quite different but the ingredient that really upped the anti was the dried apricot. These added a real sweetness that I’d never experienced in stuffing but was quite nice. This, combined with the saltiness of the pancetta (in the stuffing) and other spices, created a very different, yet tasty stuffing which helped to elevate the rest of the meal.

I did zero prep on the squash and also didn’t eat any of the finished product, so I am going off of what my partner told me about the recipe. The prep was rated on the high end of easy, not because of the skill required but rather because of the time required. You have to peel the squash, which isn’t the easiest task. Then you have to pick the thyme leaves, which has been one of our least favourite things this year. We love fresh herbs in our food but picking the leaves is always a pain. Anyway, then you mix the remaining ingredients together, which involved red chilies, light cream, grated nutmeg, chardonnay (yay!) and parmesan. So, while this recipe is rated easy, it is close to being moderate.

The cooked dish was good. It had all of the classic flavours for the holiday season; thyme, nutmeg, and sweet squash. It was a great addition to a turkey dinner. Not only did it taste good (so I’m told) there was also a lot of it. The recipe said it was enough for 4 people but we had 4 people and I think we only made it through half. It could have fed at least 6 big eaters, probably 8. Generally we’ve found this cookbook to be accurate with its estimates of how many people the recipe will serve (especially since we’ve experienced many recipes from other sources that really underestimate) but this one didn’t work that way – though maybe the squash in BC are bigger than they are in England. Anyway, as it is a fairly easy dish overall to construct, this is something that we would make again for a group.


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