Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Menu of Wild Rice Stuffed Squash, Cider Braised Red Cabbage & Gluten and Dairy Free Bread Sauce

I know it is a bit late in the day but I thought I would finally get around to posting about our Christmas dinner dishes. This is more of a theoretical exercise as we are going to my other half's family on Christmas day. So here is my virtual Christmas day menu.  Below are links to recipes I would use followed by my recipes for wild rice stuffing for the squash, braised red cabbage and bread sauce.

Maple Glazed Turkey for the meat eaters
Stuffed Squash for the veggies or Parsnip, Cranberry & Chestnut Loaf
Wild Rice Stuffing
Roasted Root Vegetables
Cider Braised Red Cabbage
Gravy, Cranberry Sauce & Bread Sauce 
Followed by 

Quite a bit of it could be made in advance and reheated on the day for an easy relaxed Christmas morning in the kitchen. The day before I would make the wild rice stuffing up until the point where you put it in the oven, I would also make the red cabbage to be reheated in a crockpot or in a pan the next day. I would also steep the milk with the onion, bay leaves and cloves overnight. A family tradition is to all help to peel and cut up our root vegetables the night before which are then left in cold water overnight until needed the next day. Yes you will lose some of the water soluble vitamins but for one day does it really matter? If you do all this the hopefully, apart from the turkey cooking in the oven, everything else can be done in the hour leading up to serving.

 Merry Christmas everybody!

Wild Rice Stuffing (Serves 6-8)
Vegan, vegetarian, dairy free & gluten free

This recipe can be used to stuff a turkey, stuff squash for a vegetarian dish or cooked in oven and served as a side. If you like a fruity stuffing then add both cranberries and apricots.
2tbs Oil
1 Onion, roughly chopped
2 Sticks of celery, roughly chopped
50g /1.75oz Dried cranberries or apricots
200g/7oz Cooked chestnuts,  roughly chopped
175g/6oz Wild rice and brown basmati rice mix (or 50% of each if making your own mix)
750ml-1litre/26-35floz /3-4cupsVegetable stock
50g/1.75oz Pecans, chopped
1-2tbs Fresh sage, chopped
1tsp Dried thyme
1tbs Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Salt & pepper to taste

  • In a pan gently heat the oil over a low to medium heat and add the chopped onion and celery and fry until starting to to soften, Add the rice, chestnuts, nuts and dried fruit and stir fry for a couple minutes.
  • Add 500ml of vegetable stock and simmer for 15 mins then add the herbs and remaining vegetable stock slowly until the rice is cooked through. Add any additional salt and pepper as required. The mixture should be quite moist but with no obvious free liquid. The stuffing can be made up until this point the day before it is needed. The stuffing can then be cooked in an oven at 180 degrees C/ 350F/gas mark 4 in a lightly greased baking pan until browned on the top. This should take around 30-40mins. Serve warm.

Wild Rice Stuffed Squash 
Vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free
1 Small acorn squash (or similar) per person 
Enough wild rice stuffing to fill each squash cavity, see above (the recipe above will fill around 4-6 squash)
Salt & pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/ 350F/gas mark 4. Slice the top, stalk end, of the squash off and scrape out the seeds and filaments. Take a small amount off the bottom so that they can sit flat on a baking tray. Sprinkle the inside of the squash with a small amount of salt and pepper and oil. Fill with the stuffing mix and roast in the oven until the squash is cooked through . You can check using a sharp knife into the side of the squash. If the stuffing gets overly brown before the squash is cooked then cover with a small section of foil. The squash should take between 45-1h 15mins depending on its size. Serve warm.

Cider Braised Red Cabbage (Serves around 6-8)
Vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free
1 Large red cabbage
1-2tbs Olive oil
1 Onion, sliced
1 Large eating apple or two small apples, cored and chopped into small chunks
1tsp Crushed fresh ginger
4 Whole cloves
1 Cinnamon stick
300ml/13floz Cider or apple juice
Zest and juice of one orange
70g/2.5oz Brown sugar
3tbs Cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
2tbs Redcurrant jelly
Salt & pepper

  • Remove the outer leaves of the cabbage. Quarter it and remove the thick inner stem and then thinly slice. In a pan heat up the oil and add the red cabbage, onion, apples and ginger and saute for a five minutes. Add the cloves, cinnamon, cider, orange zest and juice and simmer for 10 mins. Add the sugar and vinegar and simmer on a low heat until the cabbage is nice and tender and the majority of the liquid has been absorbed. This should take around 30mins. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves, if you can find them. Now add the redcurrant jelly and salt and pepper to taste and heat for a further 2 mins to allow the jelly to melt into the cabbage. Serve warm or make in advance and refrigerate for a couple of days. This dish will also freeze well and then can be heated slowly from frozen.

Bread Sauce (Serves 6-8)
Can be vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and dairy free
If you can have gluten or dairy or both just substitute in full fat milk and fresh white bread crumbs.
1 onion
15 whole cloves
2 Cloves garlic, whole
1 Bay leaf
4 Black peppercorns
500ml/17.5floz/2 cups Unsweetened Hemp/almond or soya milk
175g/6oz Gluten free fresh white bread crumbs (take slices of bread, preferably slightly stale, remove the crusts and whizz in a blender) 
2tsp Dairy free and vegan margarine
3tbs Dairy free cream alternative (optional)
Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
Salt & pepper to taste

  • Peel the onion and cut in half and then stud with the whole cloves. In a pan add the milk, onion, whole garlic cloves, bay leaf and peppercorns and gently heat and simmer for 10mins. Take off the heat and allow the spices and onion to infuse into the milk for as long as you. I like to do this the day before and leave it to infuse overnight. Fifteen minutes before you need the sauce strain the milk to remove all the herbs and spices. Add the bread crumbs and stir, allow to simmer on a low heat for 10 mins until the sauce has thickened. Add more milk if the consistency becomes too thick. Take off the heat and add the margarine, cream, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Stir and allow the margarine to melt and serve. This can be made a couple of days before and heated up when needed with a little extra milk if it is too thick.

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