Eat with the Season: December

Red Cabbage
Celery Turkey Pomegranate Red Cabbage Seabass
By CharlotteJones November 26, 2009
The green or yellow varieties of celery are readily available are plentiful in summer, but it's the frost-hardy white celery that is available only in winter.  It’s a particularly useful winter vegetable considering during this season herbs tend to be scarce and is ideal for making delicious home stocks, not to mention a wonderful dipping tool for baked camembert.  Somewhat unconventionally teamed with lamb and rosemary, this dish really celebrates celery…   Ingredients For the marinade 4 cloves garlic salt and freshly ground black pepper leaves from sprig of rosemary, chopped For the stock chicken carcass (or some chicken bones from the butcher) 2 sticks celery, roughly chopped 1 carrot, roughly chopped 1 bulb fennel, roughly chopped 1 large onion, roughly chopped 1 sprig thyme 1 sprig rosemary 1 bay leaf 5 whole black peppercorns For the lamb 1 shoulder of lamb, bone removed 3 tbsp good-quality rapeseed oil or olive oil 2 celery hearts, roughly chopped 4 carrots, cut into batons 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced 4 shallots, sliced 1½ glasses dry white wine 1 sprig thyme 2 bay leaves Method 1. Make the marinade. Crush the garlic with a little salt in a pestle and mortar until you have a smooth paste. Add the rosemary leaves to the garlic and crush a little more. Spread the paste all over the inside of the meat, roll up and tie with kitchen string. Cover and put to one side for a couple of hours. 2. Open out the lamb joint and trim off excess fat and skin. Leave a little as this is what keeps the meat moist through the long cooking process. 3. For the stock, place all the ingredients into a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Over a very low heat, gently bring the water to a simmer, skimming any scum from the top of the liquid as you go. Continue simmering and skimming for 2 hours. Strain the liquid and throw away the vegetables. 4. For the lamb, heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pan. Add the celery, carrots, fennel and shallots. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and sweat them vigorously over quite a high heat, until the vegetables start to take on a bit of colour. 5. Season the lamb. Remove the vegetables from the pan, then sear the lamb over a high heat, colouring it on all sides. 6. Return the vegetables to the pan, turn up the heat until the ingredients start to sizzle, then add the wine (keeping your face and hands out of the way in case the alcohol ignites). When the alcohol has steamed off, add the herbs and just enough of the chicken stock to cover the lamb. Turn the heat down as low as you possibly can, cover with damp parchment paper and a close-fitting lid and cook for at least 3 hours, turning the lamb twice. 7. When the lamb is very tender - it should be falling apart - remove from the pan to a large serving dish. Strain the vegetables from the juice in the pan, reserving the juice as you do. Arrange them around the lamb, cover with kitchen foil and put the dish somewhere warm. 8. Put the juice back into the pan and add the remaining chicken stock. Reduce this liquid over a high heat until it starts to thicken and resemble a thin gravy. Check the gravy for seasoning - it should have a lovely, quite intense flavour. 9. Slice the lamb, taking care to remove all the bits of string. Return it to the serving dish, pour the hot gravy over the meat and vegetables and serve.
How could turkey not make it into December’s seasonal best?  Stuffed with chestnut and bacon stuffing and kept moist during the cooking process with a generous cover of bacon is just one way to enjoy a festive treat.  The question on everyone’s lip, however, is what to do with the leftovers!  Thankfully Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a great recipe, if a somewhat unusual combination to save you some time and money…   Ingredients leftover turkey, chopped new (waxy) potatoes, ideally Pink Fir Apple or Ratte ½-1 small can anchovies, chopped roughly (according to the amount of turkey you have and how much you like anchovies) ½ clove garlic, crushed to a purée with a fork few spring onions, or 1 small red onion, sliced finely olive oil lemon juice fresh parsley Method 1. Mix the anchovies with the garlic, 1 tbsp of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. 2. Toss this mixture with the turkey and onion and leave to macerate while you boil some new potatoes until tender. 3. Slice the potatoes when still warm and toss immediately with the turkey and some chopped fresh parsley leaves. 4. Other possible additions include black olives, capers and sun-dried tomatoes.
The pomegranate is probably one of the most historical foods in the world, originating in Asia and mentioned in the Old Testament.  Most recently it has been hailed as yet another superfood there are few people who are yet to try pomegranate juice but it is the seeds itself which are simply the best treat.  The Glam team particularly enjoy this Middle Eastern inspired recipe... Ingredients   For the duck 2 tsp pomegranate molasses (available in large supermarkets and Middle Eastern stores) 1 tbsp runny honey ½ tsp caraway seeds, toasted and ground to a powder in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder 4 duck breasts, skin scored diagonally with a sharp knife For the pilaf 600ml/1pt 1fl oz vegetable stock 250g/9oz coarse bulgar wheat salt and freshly ground black pepper 110g/4oz canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 red onions, thinly sliced 110g/4oz dry sour cherries, roughly chopped 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses small bunch fresh flatleaf parsley, finely chopped small bunch fresh mint, finely chopped 110g/4oz pistachio nuts, shells removed, toasted, chopped 1 pomegranate, seeds only (reserve 2 tbsp seeds for garnish) Method 1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. 2. Place the pomegranate molasses, honey and ground caraway seeds into a small bowl and mix well. Rub the mixture onto the scored skin of the duck breasts. 3. Heat an ovenproof non-stick pan and add the duck breasts, skin-side down and cook for 1-2 minutes to caramelise the skin. 4. Turn the duck breasts over and cook on the other side for 1-2 minutes. 5. Transfer to the oven to cook for 8-11 minutes for medium, or until cooked to your liking. Remove from the oven and set the duck breasts aside to rest for five minutes. 6. For the pilaf, place the vegetable stock into a pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. 7. Add the bulgar wheat and bring back to the boil. Reduce the heat to simmer for 5-8 minutes, or until the bulgar wheat is tender and all the liquid has been absorbed. 8. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then add the chickpeas and mix well. 9. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep non-stick pan until hot. Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes, until softened. 10. Add the cherries and pomegranate molasses, and cook for further 3-5 minutes, until the onions are caramelised and the cherries are beginning to soften down. 11. Add the cherries mixture to the bulgar wheat and chickpea mixture and stir well to combine. 12. Add the chopped parsley and mint, pistachios and pomegranate seeds. 13. To serve, cut each duck breast in half on the diagonal and place onto a plate. Spoon the cooking juices over and a garnish with few pomegranate seeds. Spoon the pilaf into a bowl and serve alongside the duck.
Red cabbage has been cultivated in Britain since the Middle Ages and it is traditionally shredded and pickled.  However, shredding and simple braising with a few key ingredients is a treat not to be missed…   Ingredients 3 tbsp olive oil 1 red onion, chopped 900g/2lb red cabbage, finely shredded 2 eating apples, cored, peeled and sliced 5 tbsp light muscovado sugar 4 tbsp red wine vinegar 3 tbsp red currant jelly ½ tsp ground cinnamon 100g/4oz blanched whole almonds Method 1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except for the almonds. Season with salt and pepper, then cover and cook over a gentle heat for 30-35 minutes until the cabbage is tender. 2. Stir in the almonds just before serving so that they retain their crunch.  
Sea bass has shot to the top of the fish popularity charts, however, it is best in the winter months.  A whole bass may be expensive but it is perfect for a special meal, and even better, can be cooked in any way.   Ingredients For the sea bass 55ml/2fl oz olive oil 1 lime, finely grated zest only 1 tsp roughly chopped fresh chervil 1 tsp roughly chopped fresh dill 1 tsp roughly chopped fresh tarragon 2 medium sea bass fillets, cut into 12 thin slices salt and freshly ground black pepper For the lime syrup 5 limes, zest and juice only 40g/1½oz caster sugar For the apple and lime purée 3 apples, Braeburn or Granny Smith, peeled, cored, cut into small cubes 3 limes, zest and juice only 15g/½oz caster sugar sea salt and black pepper For the lemongrass sauce 500ml/18fl oz fish stock 500ml/18fl oz double cream 6 lemongrass stalks, crushed and finely chopped 2 lemons, juice only salt and freshly ground black pepper Method 1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. 2. Place a baking tray in the oven to heat. 3. Cut four pieces of greaseproof paper, large enough to hold three pieces of sea bass each, and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle a little lime zest onto each of the oiled sheets. 4. Mix the chervil, dill and tarragon together in a small bowl, divide into two sprinkle one half of the herb mixture over the pieces of paper and place three pieces of sea bass on top of each. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 5. For the lime syrup, place the lime zest and juice into a small non-reactive pan over a medium heat. Add 100ml/3½fl oz water and the sugar, bring to the boil and cook to reduce the liquid by two-thirds, to form a thick syrup. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. 6. For the apple and lime purée, place the apples into a pan over a low heat and add the lime zest and juice and the sugar. Cook on a low heat, covered, for 8-10 minutes, or until the apples are softened. 7. Transfer the apple mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth, then pass through a fine sieve. 8. For the lemongrass sauce, place the fish stock into a saucepan over a high heat and boil to reduce the liquid volume by half. 9. Add the double cream and four of the lemongrass stalks and continue to cook to reduce the liquid volume by two-thirds. 10. Place the cream mixture into a clean food processor and add the remaining lemongrass and blend to a smooth purée. Pass the cream and lemongrass sauce through a fine sieve into a small pan. Add a little lemon juice for some sharpness and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. 8. For the sea bass, season the fish and place the pieces of paper with the sea bass on them onto the preheated tray in the oven. Bake for two minutes, or until cooked through. 9. To serve, place a spoonful of apple purée onto each plate and smear it slightly with a spoon. Drizzle a trail of lime syrup alongside. Lift the cooked sea bass off the baking paper and place a portion onto each plate next to the purée. Froth the lemongrass sauce with a hand blender and spoon this around. Garnish with a sprinkle of the remaining fresh herb mixture.
It is the winteriest month of the year and with it comes festivities and big family meals. Everything about this season is geared toward a big roast!
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