Struggling to impress your family (or worse, a loved one’s family) with your culinary skills this Christmas? We’ve got a guide that’ll take you from amateur to professional in no time. We spoke with Edouardo Jordan, chef at Bar Sajor, to get all the tips and secret info needed to make your Christmas memorable. Take a leap to read it.
Illustration: John Adedoyin/Selectism.com
Key components of a christmas dinner?
First of all, the key component to a Christmas dinner is sharing the moment with friends, family and loved ones that you cherish the most. As for the food, I think it’s very important to have a balanced meal consisting of vegetables, grains, fruits and proteins. Achieving this goal is typically a challenge because I find myself indulging in foods I normally don’t eat on a regular. Apple pies, pound cakes, hams with maple glaze, candy yams, cranberry sauce, stuffing and dressing. But when I do have the opportunity to plan Christmas dinner I usually create a menu that touches all food groups.
Use Turkey or choose another animal?
The main protein I usually have on Christmas dinner is a brine ham, which I usually bake and glaze off or smoke. I also enjoy having duck or chicken on the menu as I usually keep turkey for Thanksgiving.
My Christmas dinner is normally a feast and would consist of: Glazed ham, chicken and rice, collard greens, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, candied yams, potato salad, deviled eggs, cornbread dressing and gravy. Dessert to name a few: apple pie, sweet potato pie, lemon pound cake and pineapple upside-down cake.
Anything you think people should use more of in a Christmas dinner?
Coming from the South, I am fairly traditional when it comes to Christmas dinner. I usually use Southern ingredients and make Southern dishes. I think it’s important for those who are creating dishes to tap into their ancestral past and create dishes that come from the soul and speaks of them. These are the dishes that are icebreakers, conversation pieces and give us the opportunity to learn more about our great food history.
Most common mistakes people make when doing a Christmas dinner?
The most common mistake is taking on all the responsibility of cooking the food. I think Christmas dinner gives us the opportunity to taste different foods and try different things. No need to stress out over cooking everything. However, if your friends and family really cannot cook, then yes… take the stress on.
Some of the best ways to make use of Christmas dinner leftovers?
The best way to use leftovers is to get a good loaf of bread and make beautiful sandwiches and salads out of your leftovers. Ham salad sandwich, chicken salad, duck pate. Then all the side dishes can be used as fillers between the bread and the protein. You cannot go wrong with left over Christmas dinner salads and sandwiches. Then, on the second day of leftovers, shepherds pie or pot-pie.
Jason Dike is a London-based writer who’s contributed to the likes of Esquire UK and Men’s Health amongst other publications. He has a highly entertaining (his own words), but sporadically updated (our words) website at jasondike.co.uk and you can follow him on twitter at @jasondike.