American Christmas Dinner
At Christmas, most Americans repeat a lot of Thanksgiving favorites: turkey, stuffing or dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberry, mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, green bean casseroles, etc. Often other meats are added to the table such as a ham or even roast beef. You might even see some regional variations such as a dirty rice in Louisiana or tamales in the southwest. In general, Americans have Christmas dinner on Christmas Day, either before or after gifts have been exchanged. People usually decorate the table and use their best table linen, china and silverware to mark the occasion.
1 fresh turkey, 11 pounds or 5 kilos
Bunch of fresh sage
Bunch of fresh thyme
1 medium onion cut in half
250 grams butter, softened
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Wash the turkey inside and out. Remove the giblets as well as any excess fat and leftover feathers. Pat dry with paper towels. Place the turkey in a large roasting tin. Season the inside of the turkey with salt and pepper. Stuff the cavity with half of the sage and thyme and the onion. Loosen the skin with your fingers and place the rest of the sage and thyme underneath. Tuck about half the butter in small bits under the skin. Rub the remaining butter on the outside of the turkey. You can use a pastry brush if you find it easier. Salt and pepper. Tie the legs together and tuck the wing tips under the bird. Place in the oven and roast for about 2 and a half hours. From time to time baste with the juices of the turkey. Check for doneness with a thermometer in the thigh. When it reaches about 75 degrees Celsius. Remove the bird from the oven and let it rest for 20 minutes before carving. Reserve the pan juices for the gravy
1-1.5 liters chicken stock
75 grams of butter
40 grams of flour
Deglaze the pan with Sherry using a wooden spoon to loosen all the browned bits. Pour through a strainer and set aside. Add enough stock to make 1.5 liters total liquid. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Whisking constantly, add pan juice/broth mixture little by little until incorporated. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer until thickened and reduced. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you want to make extra special whisk in a bit of heavy cream at the end or add minced mushrooms and shallots to the roux.
In some parts of the US, the American South stuffing is only stuffing if it goes in the bird. When baked in a dish, it is called dressing.
250 grams of butter plus more for the dish
2 loaves of stale white bread, crusts removed and cut into cubes
500 grams good quality pork sausage, bulk or removed from casings
2 large onions, peeled and chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
Bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
Bunch of fresh sage, chopped
Bunch of fresh thyme, chopped
2 fuji apples, peeled, cored and chopped
2 eggs, beaten
1 liter chicken broth
Spread the bread cubes in a single layer on baking trays and dry in the oven at low heat (135 degrees.) Set aside and let cool. In a large skillet, sauté the pork sausage until cooked thru. Break it up into very small piece. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add about half the butter to the skillet and saute the onions and celery until soft and just beginning to brown. Remove and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs along with the chicken broth. Add the cooked sausage and vegetables, the apple and the chopped herbs. Mix well. Gently fold in the bread cubes until combined. Set aside and let cool. When you are ready to bake preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Butter a large baking tray. Add the dressing to the tray. Dot with the remaining butter and cover tightly with foil. Bake at 180 until the center of the dressing reaches about 65 degrees. This should take about 45 minutes or so. Remove the foil and bake uncovered until the top is browned and crisp about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Roasted sweet potatoes
8 large sweet potatoes
Maple syrup and butter to serve.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Scrub sweet potatoes and pat dry. Prick them with a fork and rub them with a bit of vegetable oil. Wrap individually in foil. Roast them until tender. Depending on the size this could take 45-60 minutes. You can pop them in the oven during the last hour of the turkey. To serve, split lengthwise. Add a pat of butter, a drizzle of maple syrup and sprinkle with salt.