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There have been some intense debating amongst us at Me. He. & Them on whether we should post suggesting recipes for the perfect Christmas dinner. The answer has finally been yes….so here is our Christmas dinner recipes

As the starter: Butternut Squash Soup with Chilli Cran-Apple Relish

  • 1 (2 to 3 pound) butternut squash, peeled and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 crisp apple, finely chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cut squash into 1-inch chunks. In large pot melt butter. Add onion, celery and red pepper; cook until translucent, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add flour, poultry seasoning, to taste, then cook for a minute. Add squash and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until squash is tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Use a hand blender to puree.  Simmer soup for 10 minutes to thicken a bit then add in cream and nutmeg; salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.

While soup cooks, assemble the relish: combine apple, onion, lemon juice, cranberries, chili powder, honey and cinnamon.

Serve soup in shallow bowls with a few spoonfuls of relish.

As the main dish: Stuffed Turkey or Chapon

This year instead of turkey you can try chapon (castrated chicken) it is more juicy than turkey and I guess a bit of a change even though you stay in the poultry sector. The key to succes is slow baking (3 hours at 150 degrees) plus frequent watering (with the baking juice) while baking (don’t skip this part since it is probably the most important one). You can get back the baking juices with boiling water at the end of the baking that will become your sauce for serving.

Stuffing for 3kg chapon

  • 400g of sausage meat
  • 200 g of mushrooms
  • 400g chestnuts (cooked)
  • 2 eggs (yolk)
  • 50g bread crumb
  • 100 to 200ml milk

In a salad bowl, mix the bread, milk and egg yolks. Combine the sausage meat with the mushrooms. Mix all together with roughly crushed chestnuts; you can add rosemary, sage, thyme, salt and pepper according to your taste (Last year I did it without any spices and it turned out really good).

Rub the chapon’s skin with onion; and salt and pepper. Coat the chapon’s insides with the stuffing.

You can serve simply with green beans, chestnuts and mushrooms aside or with the next recipe.

As a side dish: Creamy Parsnip Mash

For a slightly healthier alternative to mashed potatoes. Serves 8.

  • 2 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled and quartered
  • 3 chicken bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, warmed
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives

Place the parsnips in a saucepan with water to cover. Add the bouillon and lemon juice. Simmer for 20 minutes or until very tender; drain. Mash, adding the butter and cream. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, garnished with snipped chives.

As a light and easy desert: Bananas Roties au Rhum

Ingredients:

  • Raisins
  • Bananas
  • Amber rum
  • Sugar
  • Vanilla pods
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Orange juice
  • Star anise
  • Rum raisin ice cream (do not buy cheap one because it can spoil your recipe)

In a pan heat the sugar, deglaze with rum and orange juice. Add the vanilla pod (split into 2), cinammon stick, star anise and raisins. Cut a banana into 2 with the skin on, put it in the pan and heat skin up in the pan until the flesh becomes melty. Serve on a warm plate, with the banana covered with the juice and the spices with the ice cream on the side.

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