Christmas sides with a twist
We know Christmas dinner preparations can get hectic for all families whether big or small, and that can take some of the fun out of the mix. So here are a few specially crafted Christmas side recipes, with a flavourful twist, to make your own magical feast that much easier, courtesy of The Best Dressed Chicken and the fantastic four of the 12 Chefs of Christmas. Bon appetit!
Chef Haleem Card's Raw Broccoli Salad
As expected, the main course will consume most of your time and energy, so an effortless side dish is a must. A quick and easy side that's a common staple at any table, for any dinner is a salad. If you're looking into doing a side salad as your 'easy way out'," but you prefer one that's not so ordinary, Chef Card's Raw Broccoli Salad is a simple alternate to a regular mixed green salad.
3 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1/4 cup mayonnaise
A drizzle of olive oil
1/2 cup roughly chopped dried cranberries
1/2 cup shaved or sliced almonds (or any nut or texture element of your choice) (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Place all wet ingredients, including the oil, and stir vigorously until incorporated.
2. In another bowl, put the broccoli and cranberries in together, stir well and then
pour over the dressing.
3 Serve in a cold bowl and sprinkle nuts on top.
Chef Ravi Anne's Leafy Potato, Yam and Carrot Casserole
1 pound sweet potato
1 pound carrot
1 pound yam (skins left on)
1 large onion, peeled
3 tbs melted butter
3 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Fine sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
1. Slice the potatoes, carrots, onions and yams thinly and as uniformly as possible. Prepare the grill for indirect grilling at 450 degrees F. If desired, prepare wood chips for smoking during the final 30 minutes of cooking, (recommended).
2. Whisk together the melted butter and olive oil, and pour about 1/4 of it into an 8 inch round, grill-safe baking dish or cast iron skillet. Spread evenly on the bottom and season liberally with salt and pepper.
3. Arrange the slices of potatoes, carrots and yams in the dish, starting around the perimeter. After every 3 or so slices, add a slice of onion. It is better to add the onion as you go. Once the dish is filled with tightly arranged slices, brush the remaining butter and oil mixture over the top and season liberally with salt and pepper.
4. Cover the dish with foil and place in the indirect zone of the grill. Roast, covered, for 45 minutes.
5. Rotate the dish halfway through for even roasting. Remove the foil cover and continue roasting for 30 minutes until the edges of the potatoes, carrots and yams become brown and crispy. Remove from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Chef Charissa Henry's Butternut Squash Risotto
6-8 cups chicken broth/stock
5 tbs unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cups butternut squash, peeled and finely diced
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbs chopped scallion
Salt to taste
1. Heat broth in medium-sized saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large saucepan; add onion and butternut squash. Cook over medium heat until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.
2. Add rice to onion and squash. Cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine. Cook, stirring constantly until wine has been absorbed by the rice or evaporated. Add a few ladles of broth, just enough to barely cover the rice. Cook over medium heat until broth has been absorbed. Continue cooking and stirring rice, adding a little bit of broth at a time, cooking and stirring until it is absorbed, and the rice is tender but still firm to the bite, about 15-20 minutes.
3. During the last minutes of cooking, add remaining tablespoon of butter, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, and scallions. At this point the rice should have a creamy consistency. Add salt to taste. Serve with remaining grated Parmesan cheese.
Chef Simone Walker-Bennett's Creamy Green Beans
2 pounds string beans
3 tbs vegetable oil
1 litre coconut milk
2 tsp cornstarch
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 sprig thyme
1 tbs basil
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Dissolve the cornstarch in coconut milk.
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saute pan and add the chopped onion, minced garlic, and coconut milk. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally until it thickens.
3. Add string beans, thyme, basil and salt to taste.
4. Simmer for 10 minutes until beans are tender.
5 Fold in grated Parmesan cheese.
6 Remove from heat, serve and enjoy!