Christ­mas cooked in san­dals

Our hot sum­mer days are not suit­able for huge, sit-down meals of gammon and turkey and trim­mings – take them out to the braai fes­tive­feasts

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODGRUB - TONY JACK­MAN

FRESH from a late Novem­ber in Eng­land, where Christ­mas per­vades every­thing, ev­ery­where, and em­bark­ing from the plane straight into a Cape heat­wave, it felt strange to be con­tem­plat­ing a sunny SA Christ­mas and al­most im­pos­si­ble to imag­ine eat­ing the en­tire turkey and trim­mings in such hot weather.

But it’s pos­si­ble to do the tra­di­tional Christ­mas while en­joy­ing the sun­shine as well. A turkey can be done in a potjie, if you’re pre­pared to forgo the crisp, golden skin of the oven-roasted ver­sion, and as for gammon and its tra­di­tional coat of pineap­ple and cher­ries, there’s no rea­son why that can­not be de­con­structed and re­assem­bled on a skewer.

The turkey potjie recipe here was in­spired by the late Lan­nice Sny­man, who chanced upon the recipe by ac­ci­dent when, dur­ing a sea­side fam­ily hol­i­day long ago, the gas oven blew up just as she was about to pop the turkey in. Un­daunted – as ever – Lan­nice crammed the trussed bird into a potjie that was slightly too small for it, threw in some aro­mat­ics, and a cou­ple of hours later the Sny­man clan had a new favourite recipe that they used again, many times. The ver­sion here is loosely based on Lan­nice’s recipe, with some adap­ta­tions.

So here’s a hot and chilled-out way of en­joy­ing your Christ­mas Day lunch in shorts and san­dals, beer or mulled wine in hand and tongs at the ready.

Turkey in a Potjie 1 x 3kg turkey 1 onion, quar­tered 3 gar­lic cloves, crushed 3 ripe oranges, quar­tered peeled zest of 1 orange in one or two strips 300ml red wine 100ml port or sweet sherry 100ml chicken stock 1 cinnamon stick 6 cloves 2 bay leaves a piece of mace, or 1tsp grated nut­meg salt and pep­per to taste 3tbs but­ter If the turkey is frozen, thaw it slowly in the fridge for a whole day, then un­wrap, re­move giblets, rinse and pat dry. Sea­son in­side with salt and pep­per. Stud the quar­tered onion with the cloves and place in the cav­ity with the quar­tered oranges. Melt but­ter in the bot­tom of a heated potjie over hot coals, add the gar­lic, cinnamon stick, mace and bay leaves, and brown the whole bird on all sides. Heat to­gether the chicken stock, wine and port or sherry in a saucepan un­til just hot, then pour over the bird. Add the orange peel (but no pith). Cover and cook over mod­er­ate coals (just enough to pro­vide a gen­tle bub­ble) for about two to twoand-a-half hours. As Lan­nice says, the turkey is done when “the legs wob­ble fran­ti­cally when you wig­gle them”. Use a la­dle to re­move as much of the col­lected liq­uids as pos­si­ble to a saucepan and re­duce this down on the stove un­til it is of a per­fect con­sis­tency for a sauce to go with your turkey. You might want to swig back a glass or two of hot mulled wine while the potjie is cook­ing. Serve it with foil-braaied pota­toes and braised beet­root. ( Make the beet­root ear­lier and re­heat quickly when the turkey is ready to serve.)

Braised beet­root with pecans 1 red onion, finely sliced 4 small beet­root, quar­tered 1 cup pecans 1tsp mus­tard seeds 1tsp jeera (cumin) seeds 1tbs honey 1tbs mus­tard 1tbs but­ter or ghee (clar­i­fied but­ter) salt and pep­per to taste Blanche the quar­tered beet­root in salted boil­ing water for 3 to 5 min­utes, re­fresh un­der icy water and drain. Braise the seeds gen­tly in but­ter or ghee. Add the sliced red onion and sauté un­til soft. Add the beet­root and sauté, stir­ring, for about 10 min­utes over a mod­er­ate heat un­til just ten­der. Add the mus­tard and honey, sea­son to taste with salt and pep­per. Toast the pecans in a dry pan un­til they crisp up and turn golden. Toss with the beet­root. Gammon ke­babs with a hon­ey­mus­tard glaze 1kg “ready to eat” beech-smoked gammon 4 or 5 fresh cher­ries per skewer I jar maraschino cher­ries 1 small­ish pineap­ple

Glaze 100g de­marara su­gar 100ml honey 2tbs mus­tard Com­bine ingredients in a saucepan and cook over a low heat un­til the su­gar is melted, stir­ring to com­bine the mus­tard with honey and su­gar.

Us­ing a sharp knife, cut a cross in the top of each fresh cherry and care­fully re­move the stone. Peel the pineap­ple and cut into thin tri­an­gu­lar slices. Make sure you buy the “ready to eat” gammon prod­uct.

Cube the gammon. Soak skew­ers (if wooden or wood-han­dled) in cold water for half an hour. Skewer the ingredients, al­ter­nat­ing with pineap­ple and cher­ries.

Brush over the glaze. Braai over hot coals, turn­ing fre­quently, un­til the glaze turns a pale gold – about 8 min­utes a side. That’s all it takes.

More fes­tive nosh next week.

PIC­TURES: TONY JACK­MAN

SUM­MER TWIST: Gammon ke­babs with a honey-mus­tard glaze.

POT LUCK: Christ­mas turkey potjie, a sum­mer take on a win­ter fes­tive favourite.

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