Christmas time is about festive cheer, mistletoe, wine, and well, big, table-spanning turkeys perfectly roasted and sat for, what, two to three hours? Yeah, right.
You've probably already Googled what to do with your meat this Christmas, but what about the humble veg? Here, Foodism asked Tredwells Seven Dials chef Chantelle Nicholson to share her top tips, ingredient go-to's and tried-and-tested recipe hacks. Merry Christmas.
How to make the most of your vegetables this Christmas
1. Focus on how good certain veg can be
For me, vegetables and gravy are the best bit about Christmas. The perfect roast potato is simple deliciousness; in fact, a festive meal is generally around 75% vegetables; sprouts, parsnips and potatoes, so it pays to make sure they're done right. Then there are carrots, and we all know a great cauliflower cheese can't be beaten.
2. Prepare your veg in advance
The best thing is that you can prepare all of these in advance; steam the spuds a couple of days before, then lightly steam your sprouts and parsnips ready for roasting.
3. Focus on championing your favourites
Some of my favourite overlooked vegetables are Jerusalem artichokes, celeriac, sprouts, cavolo nero, parsnips and cauliflower. If you approach all of these with the same thought process as you would when cooking meat, the results can be just as tasty. A bit of butter or oil, and a good amount of heat and the natural sugars caramelise and create something truly delicious.
4. Get creative and think outside the box
If you don't eat meat, there are heaps of vegetables you can make as opulent as a meat dish.
For example, a whole roasted and stuffed kabocha squash with yellow split peas, coriander, pomegranate molasses, yoghurt (coconut or Greek) and coriander is a dish that can wow a table. Not up your street? Why not try a whole roasted celeriac, layered with a spiced chestnut purée. That's also a winner.
My favourite personal favourite is roasted Jerusalem artichokes with caramelised purée, lentils, prune and zhoug or, if you haven't tried deep-fried brussels sprouts, you're missing out.