Becky Excell’s gluten free Christmas dinner

Food blogger and Sunday Times best-selling author Becky Excell joins us in the kitchen, armed with recipes that prove a gluten-free Christmas dinner can be easy and delicious!

Bread sauce

Serves: 5-6

Ingredients

leek or 1 small onion, finely chopped tsp black peppercorns50g butter500ml milk2 dry bay leaves3 small slices of gluten-free breadPinch of ground cloves tsp ground nutmegPinch of salt3 tablespoons double (heavy) cream

Procedure

1. Add the leek or onion, peppercorns, butter, milk and bay leaves to a large saucepan and place over low heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, and making sure it doesn’t bubble.

2. Blitz the bread in a food processor to make fine breadcrumbs.

3. Strain the milk mixture through a sieve into a large pitcher and discard the solids. Pour the infused milk back into the empty pan (make sure there are no solids left in there) and put back on the heat.

4. Stir in the breadcrumbs and simmer for 2-3 minutes, until a thick sauce forms. Finally mix in the ground cloves, nutmeg, salt and cream, and serve.


Gingerbread stuffed log

Serves: 9-10

Ingredients

3 tablespoons of butter medium leek or 1 small onion, finely chopped500g minced pork1 tsp salt tsp ground black pepperGrated zest of 1 orange150g applesauce2 slices of gluten-free gingerbread cake6 slices of smoked streaky bacon

Procedure

1. In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat, and then add the leek or onion. Fry until soft, before removing the pan from the heat.

2. Place the pork in a large mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix well with a wooden spoon until smooth. Add the orange zest and apple sauce and mix again. Add the leek/onion mixture to the bowl and mix again.

3. Crumble the gingerbread cake into small pieces in the bowl with your hands, and gently mix until evenly distributed.

If using to stuff turkey: spoon into the neck cavity of the turkey and cook according to the weight of the turkey.

If creating a fill log, continue with the following procedure.

1. Place a large piece of cling film on the work surface, and place the bacon strips on top, side by side and slightly overlapping. Spoon the filling mixture over the bacon into a long log shape (compact with your hands).

2. Lift one side of the cling film and wrap the bacon over the stuffing log. Carefully peel off the cling film, leaving the bacon wrapped in the stuffing, and set the cling film aside again.

3. Repeat on the other side, but this time don’t peel off the cling film – instead, wrap the opposite side of the cling film tightly to seal the log, and seal the ends tightly.

4. To compact the stuffing, gently roll your sealed log on the work surface to form a neat log shape. Refrigerate 10 minutes to harden.

5. Preheat the oven to 160 fan. Line a large baking tray with foil.

6. Place the stuffed log on the prepared baking tray and carefully unwrap, making sure not to lift too much (it is very delicate and breaks easily). The bacon seam should be on the bottom.

7. Cover the tray tightly with foil and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and return to the oven for the last 20 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


Three ingredient Yorkshire puddings

Works: 12

Ingredients

Oil200g cornflour6 eggs300ml milk

Procedure

1. Preheat the oven to 200 fan. Fill each muffin tray hole with just under 1 tablespoon of oil, and place in the oven to heat through – the oil will almost spit out.

2. In a large mixing bowl, put the cornflour, break the eggs and mix.

3. Slowly add all the milk, a little at a time, mixing in between. Pour the batter into a jug.

4. Quickly remove the muffin tin from the oven and fill each hole with the mixture to less than three-quarters full. If they don’t sizzle as you pour in the batter, then the oil isn’t hot enough. Immediately return to the oven.

5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and risen (do not open the oven door to check, or they will deflate immediately!). When fully risen, give them an extra 2 minutes of baking time to make sure they are crisp and not clumpy when you remove them.

6. Serve immediately.


Great turkey daddies

Serves: 10-12

Ingredients

1 turkey, 5.5-6.5kg, ideally Norfolk Black or Bronze300g gluten-free pork stuffing (like my gingerbread stuffing above)2 sprigs of fresh rosemary2 sprigs of fresh thyme2 large dried bay leaves2 clementines, divided1 lemon For the lemon butter80g ( cup) butter, softened1 tsp minced garlic paste or 2 tbsp garlic-infused oilZest and juice of 1 lemonA generous pinch each of salt and ground black pepper

Procedure

Before Christmas:

1. If your turkey is frozen, place it in the refrigerator 4 days before Christmas on the bottom shelf in an appropriately sized container. For a larger turkey, allow 10-12 hours of defrosting in the refrigerator per kilogram/2 pounds, as a general rule.

2. Take the turkey out of the fridge on Christmas Eve to make sure it’s at room temperature the next day. Cooking a turkey cold in the fridge means the outside is done and will start to dry out before the inside is safe to eat, so make sure that doesn’t happen!

On Christmas day:

1. Remove the filling from the refrigerator about an hour before use to allow it to come to room temperature.

2. Preheat the oven to 200C fan / 220C / 425F.

3. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the lemon butter.

4. Remove the bag of giblets from inside the turkey. Pull the skin at the end of the turkey’s neck back to reveal the cavity and loosely spoon in the stuffing, don’t overdo it. Pull the neck skin back and secure with a small cocktail stick. Turn the turkey so that the body cavity is facing you, then place the rosemary, thyme and bay leaves, the clementine halves and the whole lemon inside.

5. Line the base and sides of a large roasting tin (just enough to fit the turkey!) with foil and place the turkey breast side up. Rub all over with lemon butter. Gently cover the entire turkey with foil, making sure it is tented enough to cover the turkey without the foil actually touching it. 8 Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, then lower the temperature to 150C fan / 170C / 340F and roast for a further 3-3-12 hours, depending on the size of the turkey. Remove the foil covering the turkey and increase the heat to 180C fan / 200C / 400F and cook for a further 30-40 minutes until nicely golden, basting every 10-15 minutes.

6. Use a digital cooking thermometer to check the turkey breast and thigh (as well as the stuffing in the neck cavity) to make sure it’s done; 70C / 160F is ideal. Alternatively, pierce the thigh with a skewer to ensure the juices run clear.

7. Transfer the turkey to a large board or serving plate, cover with plenty of foil and let rest for 1-2 hours. This resting time can make the difference between all the juices remaining in your turkey or watching it all leak out if carved too soon. Reserve the juices in the bottom of the roasting tin, transfer to a pitcher and use them to make my homemade gluten-free turkey gravy (recipe above).

8. Once rested, carve with a freshly sharpened knife.


Super crispy roasted potatoes

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

1 kg Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and chopped into 4cm chunksVegetable oil or goose fatSmall handful of fresh rosemary or thyme (optional)salt

Procedure

1. Preheat the oven to 200 fan/220.

2. Bring a large saucepan of boiling salted water to the boil, then add the potatoes. Boil for about 10 minutes, starting at the point where the water is bubbling, until the pieces are soft on the outside but still firm in the middle.

3. Once the potatoes are boiling, place a large roasting tray in the oven with plenty of oil or goose fat.

4. Drain the potatoes and transfer back to the pan, then pop the lid on. Shake the pan a few times to dry out the outside, which helps to get a crispy exterior when grilled.

5. Put the potatoes on the hot tray in oil or fat, make sure they are in one layer, they should sizzle. Quickly turn all the potatoes on the baking tray so that the oil or fat covers all sides, or pour a little extra oil on top.

6. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, then return the potatoes, sprinkle with fresh rosemary or thyme, if using, and pop them in the oven for a further 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden.

7. Season with a little salt and serve.


Homemade turkey gravy

Makes: 500ml

Ingredients

400-450ml turkey drippings from roasting tin4 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch) or gluten-free plain flour225ml gluten-free chicken stockSalt and ground black pepper, to taste

Procedure

1. Use a spoon to skim most of the fat from the top of the reserved juices from the drippings in the pitcher, leaving about 5 tablespoons worth of fat. Transfer the remaining juices to a small saucepan. Place the saucepan over low heat, add the flour and stir until dissolved.

2. Add the stock, stir and simmer for 5-10 minutes until it becomes a thick gravy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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