Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Day lunch

There's nothing more satisfying - or necessary - than sitting down with a soothing cup of peppermint tea and putting up your feet after hosting a successful Christmas Day lunch. The food has been devoured, the dishes washed and put away, the wrapping paper tidied up and presents sorted. In my case, I have a lovely stack of glossy new cookbooks to add to my pile. I can't wait to start cooking from them.

We hosted 16 people at our Christmas Day lunch but it was nowhere near as daunting as that sounds. Everyone was delegated to bring something: drinks, nibblies, a salad or two, dessert etc. As hostess, I was providing the ham and the turkey and lots of salad bowls and white platters for presentation.

My family likes a traditional Christmas lunch (by that, I mean the Anglo traditional lunch, with ham, turkey and plum pudding) but we are happy to add our own twists and interpretations. None of us are huge fans of a whole cooked turkey and I didn't want to spend Christmas morning trapped in the kitchen with a hot stove. So I ordered a turkey breast roll from my excellent local butcher (much faster to cook, with lots less angsty) and found a recipe for roast herbed turkey roll in the December 2009 issue of Gourmet Traveller (a magazine that Suzie from Munch+Nibble and I are focusing on this month in the We Made This challenge, where we aim to cook as much as we can from a selected magazine each month).

This is a lovely recipe - very stress-free for Christmas Day, with an excellent end result that belies the minimal effort involved. Combined with ham, roast chicken, a vast array of salads (including seafood, sweet potato, green salad, roast potatoes and a beetroot, walnut and feta salad) and several bottles of Seppelts Sparkling Shiraz, this dish was part of our stunning Christmas feast that satisfied all and meant groaning stomachs could barely accommodate dessert, let alone tea that night.

Roast herbed turkey roll with Meyer lemon mayonnaise

Recipe from the December 2009 issue of Gourmet Traveller

1 turkey breast (about 1.4kg), skin on (note - my turkey breast was 2kg and I did not adjust the recipe but this portion was adequate)
1 cup (loosely packed) each basil, flat-leaf parsley and mint, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Finely grated rind of 1 Meyer lemon (Meyer lemons are slightly sweeter than regular lemons, but it is fine to substitute if you can't find Meyers)
60ml extra-virgin olive oil

Meyer lemon mayonnaise
1 egg yolk
25ml Meyer lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
150ml light olive oil
Finely grated rind of 2 Meyer lemons

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Place turkey breast skin-side down on a work surface and make an incision lengthways along the thickest part of the breast to butterfly. Open flat and season to taste.

Combine herbs, garlic, rind and half the olive oil in a small bowl, season to taste and spread evenly over turkey. Roll into a long cylinder, tucking ends under, then tie securely at intervals with kitchen twine./

Place turkey on a wire rack in a roasting tray, drizzle with remaining oil, season to taste and roast, basting occasionally, until golden and juices run clear when pierced with a skewer (1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes - longer if your turkey breast is larger). Remove from oven, cover loosely with foil and rest for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, for Meyer lemon mayonnaise, combine yolk, juice and mustard in a small bowl, whisk to combine, then add oil in a thin, continuous stream, whisking continuously until incorporated. Add rind, season to taste and set aside.

Serve sliced turkey with mayonnaise to the side.


Suzie said...

We are in the traditional Christmas dinner camp as well. Your Christmas feast sounds wonderful, and I am envious of your turkey breast. It sounds really delicious, especially with lashings of the mayo.

Melinda said...

The mayo was a nice touch. It was a good way to serve turkey - much faster and more flavoursome. I find a whole turkey easily dries out if you don't keep a close eye on it. This was a pretty stress-free dish for a Christmas lunch - highly recommended!