Bud­get-beater Christ­mas lunch

Public Sector Manager - - Food And Wine -

Christ­mas is all about wind­ing down the year, fam­i­lies com­ing to­gether, cel­e­brat­ing joy and, of course, food. But mak­ing a hearty Christ­mas din­ner doesn't have to break the bank. Here are a few great recipes that re­main fes­tive, but on a bud­get.We sug­gest scal­ing down on the main dishes and bulk­ing up the side dishes and sal­ads to en­sure you spend less, but give your guests more va­ri­ety at the ta­ble.

Main:

Roast chicken and figs

In­gre­di­ents:

• 8 por­tions bone-in, skin-on

chicken pieces

• 4 tbsp olive oil

• 4 tsp kosher salt

• 1 tsp pep­per

• 4 tbsp bal­samic vine­gar

• Fresh figs sliced in half

Method:

Heat the olive oil in a large ca­st­iron skil­let over medium heat. Re­move from heat and then care­fully place the chicken pieces in the skil­let, skin-side down.

Place the skil­let in­side the oven. When you open the oven door, the tem­per­a­ture should fall quite a bit. You want the over­all tem­per­a­ture to hover around 200 de­grees.

Roast chicken for 30 min­utes, ro­tat­ing the skil­let mid­way through. Re­move the chicken and add the figs to the skil­let. Re­turn the skil­let to the oven for just four min­utes so

the figs start to caramelise.

Re­move the skil­let and let the chicken and figs rest. Sea­son with an ex­tra pinch of salt and serve.

Sides:

• Creamy spinach pasta

• Pasta of your choice

• 1 chopped onion

• 4 cloves of gar­lic, minced

• 1 tomato, finely chopped

• A bag of spinach leaves

• Chilli

• Soy sauce

• Co­conut milk

• Salt and pep­per

Method:

Start by cook­ing the onions over a medium to low heat un­til they turn translu­cent. Add the gar­lic and toma­toes and cook for about two min­utes be­fore adding the co­conut milk, chilli and soy sauce. Let it sim­mer for a cou­ple of min­utes while the pasta is cook­ing.

Add the spinach and cook un­til it is wilted and then add the pasta, mix and serve. Sea­son with salt and pep­per to taste.

Roasted pota­toes In­gre­di­ents:

• 1kg baby pota­toes, washed

and halved

• 1/4 cup ex­tra vir­gin olive oil

• 4 whole cloves gar­lic, peeled

• 2 tbsp fresh minced pars­ley or dill

• 1/2 tsp salt plus ad­di­tional flaky

salt for fin­ish­ing

Method:

Pre­heat the oven to 180 de­grees. In a large bowl, com­bine the gar­lic cloves, pota­toes, salt and olive oil. Toss well to coat. Pour onto a bak­ing sheet or large casse­role dish and roast for 30 min­utes. Flip pota­toes only once, half­way through cook­ing. The pota­toes are done when they are golden and ten­der. Scat­ter with pars­ley, add steamed broc­coli, chopped red cab­bage and salt to serve.

Roasted corn with herbed but­ter In­gre­di­ents:

• 1/2 cup (1 stick) un­salted but­ter, room tem­per­a­ture

• 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ten­der herbs (such as cilantro, chives and/or flat-leaf pars­ley)

• 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

• 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pep­per

• Cayenne pep­per

• 8 ears corn, shucked

• 1 tbsp veg­etable oil

Method:

Pre­pare the grill for medium-high heat (160–200 de­grees) or al­ter­na­tively cook on a braai. Mix but­ter, herbs, salt, pep­per and a pinch of cayenne pep­per in a small bowl. Set the herb but­ter aside.

Brush corn with oil and grill for five to eight min­utes, turn­ing of­ten, un­til it is ten­der and charred in spots.

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