Hubby wanted me to prepare a traditional Christmas meal this year and having never done that before, I was considerably terrified. Thanks to internet and my lovely friends, I got loads of helpful tips and it all turned out to be great😍 I made a roast chicken with stuffing and gravy(I wasn’t brave enough to try cooking a turkey on my first attempt), Rosemary & garlic potatoes, with a slice of Rum cake for dessert (previous recipe on this blog)! For the very first time, there was a conventional Christmas dinner at this Indian household this year.
Now my hubby dearest is a hard-core non-veg loving punjabi guy, i.e he can eat anything you put in front of him. I am different. Chicken and fish is what I usually agree to eat, from the non-vegetarian range. So, making a stuffing of pork or beef was out of question! Thus, I styled my own version of the stuffing made of chicken liver. It’s not conventional but worked great for us. I have shared the same here. I served it on the side instead of stuffing it inside the bird. It’s in no way an authentic Christmas dinner stuffing, so you can go right ahead and skip this to make the more traditional one with your meal.
We had a lovely candle-lit Christmas dinner together, hubby and me, and I assure you that these recipes are surely a winner combo together. Give them a go and enjoy!!
For the chicken and gravy:
1 whole chicken (I always use organic)
2 medium-sized red onions
2 sticks butter at room temperature
2 sticks celery
1 bulb garlic
1 bunch of rosemary and parsley each
2-3 tbsn of red wine
Salt and pepper to taste
1-2 cups of chicken stock
1 tbsn cornflour
For the potatoes:
1 kg baby potatoes
2-3 tbsn olive oil
1 tbsn grated fresh garlic
Rosemary and parsley herbs
Salt and pepper to taste
For the chicken liver stuffing:
400 grams of chicken liver
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
1/2 tsp meat masala
-Remove the chicken from the fridge 45 minutes before you cook it, to let it come up to room temperature.
-Preheat the oven to 200 degree C.
-Wash the vegetables. Peel the carrots and onions. If needed, chop them roughly into big chunks. No need to chop them finely at all. Break the garlic bulb into cloves, leaving them unpeeled.
-Scatter all the veggies, a few garlic cloves and your herbs into a large roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. These will be used to make the gravy. Set aside.
–For the potatoes, I would strongly recommend par-boiling the potatoes beforehand rather than baking them raw. I have seen that the flavor is much better if you par-boil them a bit before popping into the oven. So, take your par-boiled potatoes in a seperate baking tray (leave the skin on) and put in all the ingredients mentioned for the potatoes in the ingredients list, with them. Mix everything together well and season according to your taste. Set aside.
–For the liver stuffing, combine all the listed ingredients in a disposable baking foil tray and gently mix everything together. You can also add chopped red onion to this. Also, instead of baking this, you can simply roast it all together on the hob. I let it bake along with my chicken and potatoes, with amazing results. Set aside.
-In a bowl, take the soft butter, some chopped parsley, about a tbsn of fresh, grated garlic and season with salt and pepper. This would be the coating for the chicken. Mix well. The amount of butter totally depends on you. The more you use, moister will be your chicken.
-Loosen the skin of your chicken carefully with a spoon or butter-knife and taking a ball of flavored butter in your hand, place it inside the skin. Then, gently press it in all the directions from outside the skin. You don’t need to be too precise as the butter will melt and spread everywhere on its own anyway. Coat the chicken all over on top of the skin as well, with the leftover butter mixture.
-Prick the lemon in some places, using a knife. Put it inside the chicken’s cavity, with the bunch of leftover herbs.
-Tie the legs of chicken with a strong string.
-Place the chicken on top of the bed of vegetables, on the baking tray. Cover it loosely with a layer of tin foil.
-Place the tray in the oven in the middle rack. Also, pop your potatoes tray and liver stuffing tray side by side, on the lower shelf at the same time. Turn the heat down to 170 degrees C and put everything to bake on the normal convection mode.
-Liver will be done in around 30-40 mins. Keep checking frequently and take it out once it seems done. Chop the cooked liver pieces to resemble the traditional stuffing. This is ready!
-Cook the chicken for around 1.5 hours. Cooking time may vary according to the weight of the chicken and the different oven brands. Thus, make sure you check your chicken and potatoes every 15 minutes after the first 45 mins. My potatoes took the same time as my chicken did.
-Baste the chicken halfway through cooking with the liquid in the tray or with butter, for avoiding it from getting dry. Shake the potatoes as well every now and then. I also used the beautiful liquid oozed out by the liver stuffing to baste my chicken. It contributed dramatically to the overall taste and flavor.
-Once the chicken seems to be almost cooked, remove the foil, increase the temperature to 200 and change the mode to grill. This is to get that crisp brown exterior on the outside. Grill for around 30 mins or till your chicken gets brown all over. It will also crisp up your potatoes.
-When the chicken and potatoes seem ready, take the trays out of the oven. Transfer the chicken to a board to rest for 15 minutes atleast. Leave aside while you make your gravy.
For the gravy,
-Put the tray containing veggies and chicken liquid, back on the hob over a medium-high heat. You can also transfer to a different sauce-pan. Use a potato masher to mash all the roasted veggies to a pulp while on heat. They will already be very soft and will instantly melt away into the hot liquid.
-Next, add the wine and let it cook for a couple of minutes before you add your chicken stock too. Bring everything in the pan to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes at least, covered.
-If the resulting gravy is too thin, you can thicken it up by using cornflour. Dissolve around 1 tbsn of cornflour in 1/4 cup of water and pour into the gravy. It will instantly thicken up. Adjust the seasoning according to your taste preferences. Keep to cool.
-Once cooled, pour the gravy through a sieve into a clean bowl. Discard any veg or meat mash left behind. This will give you a beautiful, smooth gravy.
-There will be quite a thick layer of fat on top of your gravy. Take a spoon and collect it into a glass. You can preserve this for months and use it in a variety of dishes.
-Your gravy is now ready to serve.
Your Christmas dinner is ready. The festival has gone but it doesn’t have to be Christmas to enjoy good food with family and friends. You can very well, make this for the next Sunday family lunch. Combine with the Rum cake recipe (previous post) and enjoy the very same combo displayed in the above pic. You will not be disappointed!
Happy Holidays guys! 🙂