How to make Christmas side dishes

Video guide to cooking Christmas side dishes

Hi, I'm Sally and I'm going to show you some delicious and very simple Christmas sides. We're going to do parmesan-crusted parsnips, I've got some sausage meat and stuffing balls with apple. Of course we've got to have pigs in blankets, some roasted carrots and I've got some Brussels sprouts with pancetta.

Parmesan-crusted parsnips

To start off with, the parsnips. I've blanched these just for about five minutes and drained them off. I'm going to drizzle over just a little bit of olive oil. And then simply you get some finely grated parmesan and sprinkle it over. Not too much, this is just to give it a nice crispy tasty coating. I'm going to give it a little shake to make sure they're all covered. I've pre-heated the oven to 190 degrees centigrade and these are only going to take 20-25 minutes, so I'll pop them in the oven now.

Roast carrots

OK and next up is the roasted carrots and I'm going to add a little Christmassy twist to this. This is just some parchment paper. I'm going to make a little parcel. A tiny bit of olive oil first and then I've got some tiny baby carrots here that I've cut in half because I want these to cook at the same speed as the parsnips are going to do, so they're all ready together. I'm just going to pop those on to the olive oil, I'll toss them in in a moment. I've also got an orange here and this just gives it a very nice Christmassy twist, so a tiny squeeze of orange juice. Little bit of black pepper and it's always nice to have a bit of salt on the carrots.

Now I'm going to fold these all up and we're going to make a gorgeous little Christmas parcel. It just gives a different flavour and it's a different way of presenting them on Christmas Day as well. Once you've done that, you can actually give them a little shake inside the paper to make sure that everything's covered in the orange juice and the olive oil. Simple as that and these are going to go in the oven too.

Sausage meat stuffing balls

So next we're going to do the sausage meat, stuffing balls with an added extra. These have got grated apple in. You need two medium apples, they're washed and cored and grated. You don't have to peel them though, that's fine. These have discoloured a little bit, absolutely fine, it always happens with apples, it doesn't affect the flavour at all. So into this I've got 450g of great quality pork sausage meat, I'm just going to add that in. And also to this, I'm going to add 25g of breadcrumbs, I've got one medium onion peeled and finely chopped, I've got one clove of garlic and one tablespoon each of parsley and sage and it smells delicious already.

So I'm just going to add all of these ingredients in now. So in goes the chopped herbs and the 25g of breadcrumbs. Finely chopped onion and of course the garlic's on there as well. This is the bit I like. I'm just going to chop this up a little bit with the knife but, do you know what? The best way to do it is just get your hands dirty. They are clean though, obviously. And we're just going to mix this up so that it's all nicely combined. The smell that's coming off is delicious already and this is just so easy to make. It's going to go into the oven, when I've finished, at 190 degrees centigrade. If you make nice little small stuffing balls with this, it'll cook in about 15 or 20 minutes, so again, it'll be perfectly on track for when the parsnips and carrots are done.

OK, so that's all really nicely combined and I'm going to add a little bit of seasoning. Not too much salt. Just quickly wash my hands. Right, so I've got a baking tray here. A nice tip is keep your hands slightly damp because it just makes rolling these little balls up much easier, they don't stick to your hands quite as much. I'm doing these quite small, like a ping pong ball, so that these can cook in 15 or 20 minutes and then they're going to be ready at the same time as the carrots and the parsnips.

If you wanted to, of course, you could just do a whole tray of it, in a whole big block, if you had a little bit longer for them to cook. I'm just going to fill half the tray up because I've still got the pigs in blankets to do and because of lack of space in the oven, with all these things cooking, it's always a good idea to share trays if you can, and this will be the perfect sharing partner. There we go, they're ready to go in, so I'm just going to set those aside for a second and let's get on with my favourite bit, the pigs in blankets.

Pigs in blankets

So here we've got small chipolata sausages, good quality ones, I'll just take these all off. I'm going to show you a little tip. I've got some streaky bacon here, smoked, I can smell it. Now what we need to do is just stretch this out a little bit and that'll help us move it around the sausage. Also when it cooks, it shrinks a bit, so it'll go back to the normal size and it won't strangle your pigs, which is very important.

So with the blunt side of the knife, you just do a gentle stretch along, as you're pulling it out. You can then turn it over and do the other side. You'll feel when its reached its maximum stretch. You get your little sausage and wrap it up. When you lay it on the tray, try and make sure that the join is at the bottom, just because it holds it together a bit better.

Repeat it again with all of them. Might seem a little bit fiddly but it's really worth it. I'm going to pop all of these on the tray and they're going to go in the oven, with everything else that's in the oven. And they'll all be ready at the same time and be absolutely delicious. Think that's great.

Brussels sprouts with pancetta

Right, final piece is the brussel sprouts. These are just chopped in half and blanched them for about 10 minutes in some salted water. They're lovely and tender and tasty already but they're going to be extra delicious when I add them with the pancetta. I've got some cubed pancetta here and I'm just going to fry this off, there's no need to add any more oil to this. And then we'll add the Brussels sprouts to it, heat it through and that will be the final touch. Let's fire this up and get it started.

This'll just take a couple of minutes to brown off. All the gorgeous flavour's going to be released. That's starting to brown really nicely now and I know it's cooked through so I'm just going to add the Brussels sprouts. Now remember, these are cooked, the Brussels sprouts, so we're just going to warm them through. It'll just take a couple of minutes. I'm just going to add a little bit of black pepper. You don't need to add salt to this because obviously the pancetta's got salt in it.

And that has had plenty of time to warm through, I think that's perfect. So I'm just going to set that to one side for a moment, while I go and check that everything else in the oven's cooked.

So everything's out of the oven now, all that remains to do is to add the Brussels sprouts with the pancetta. And this is a beautiful, simple way to make lots of added extra special side dishes for you at Christmas time. I hope you enjoy it.
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