A bit on the side

Kent Life - - Cooking With Andy -

Andy has a con­fes­sion: he loves the side dishes al­most more than he loves the roast turkey.

Here are three of his all-time favourites

The side dishes served at Christ­mas lunch are what get ev­ery­one ex­cited. If you think about it, we spend more time and en­ergy on the ac­com­pa­ni­ments than the turkey it­self. Once the turkey is basted and put in the oven, it’s all sys­tems go.

We need to en­sure the pota­toes are per­fectly crunchy on the out­side and fluffy on the in­side. The pigs in blan­kets must be sticky sweet and have good colour, the veg­eta­bles but­tered and al dente, the bread sauce beau­ti­fully creamy and the cran­berry sauce should have the right bal­ance – not too sweet and not too sour.

And of course, the pièce de ré­sis­tance – the gravy. You can have a per­fectly cooked bird but if your gravy isn’t up to par, then it will all be for noth­ing.

The gravy is what brings the whole meal to­gether, like a per­fect sym­phony. The gravy should be thick, yet not too thick, and have a great depth of flavour.

In my house on Christ­mas Day, even be­fore I carve the turkey, the kids are al­ready nib­bling on the pota­toes and our fam­ily favourite – pan-fried sprouts with pancetta. It can be an ef­fort to con­vince them to wait un­til I serve the turkey.

Fol­low my recipes to make the per­fect Christ­mas side dishes. They’re de­li­ciously more-ish and will be the star of the show this fes­tive sea­son. En­joy!

Andy McLeish

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