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Dress up your turkey with Nigella’s recipes

British celebrity cook Nigella Lawson shares recipes to complement the centerpiece of your holiday meal.
/ Source: TODAY

Domestic goddess Nigella Lawson serves up her favorite foods for holiday entertaining in her new book, "Feast: Food to Celebrate Life." She was invited on the "Today" show to share a delicious menu of sides dishes. Here are the recipes:

Gingerbread Stuffing
Serves 8-10

1 pound (3 medium) onions, peeled2 eating apples (11 ounces), peeled and cored4 tablespoons butter1 tablespoon oil1-1/2 pounds baconZest of 2 clementines or 1 orange1-pound loaf of good store-bought gingerbread, crumbled makes 5 cups2 eggs, beatenApproximately 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Finely chop the onions and apples, using a food processor or by hand.  Heat the butter and oil in a large wide saucepan and fry both until soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.

Now very finely chop the bacon in the processor, and add this to the softened onion and apple mixture. Cook everything, stirring frequently, for about 5 more minutes and then add the clementine or orange zest.  If you’re going to make the allspice gravy you’ll need the juice from this fruit for that.

Take the pan off the heat and let it cool a little before mixing in the gingerbread crumbs. You can let this get properly cold now if you want and put it aside. Just before cooking the stuffing, add the beaten eggs and pepper, mix, and use it to stuff the main cavity of your turkey, or cook all of it (or what’s left after stuffing your bird) in a buttered baking dish.  Bake it in a hot oven with your turkey for about the last 45 minutes.  If the stuffing’s going into a very full oven — which it no doubt is as part of a festive meal — it might take longer to cook; alone, 35 minutes should do it.

Let the cooked stuffing sit in its terrine for a good 10 minutes before turning it out and slicing it.

Maple-Roast Parsnips
Serves 8-10

2 pounds parsnips1/2 cup vegetable oil1/3 cup maple syrup


It seems foolish to say “preheat the oven,” when it’s frankly going to be on anyway, but if you were cooking this to go alongside, say, some cold, leftover turkey, when it would be just as good the first time around, then you need a hottish oven, say 400°F, and the parsnips would need around 35 minutes in it.  But if you’ve got the oven on very hot because of the roast potatoes, then you are better off parboiling the parsnips so that they need less time actually in the oven; 15 minutes should be enough to turn them chewy and maple-bronzed.

So, peel the parsnips and halve them crosswise, then halve or quarter each piece lengthwise, so that you have a bundle of spindly shards.  Either blanch these fawn-colored twigs in salted boiling water for 3 or so minutes, or just put them straight into a roasting pan, pour over the oil, smoosh them about then dribble over the maple syrup and roast until tender and stickily brown. Be careful as you taste to test: the sugar content of the parsnips, more even than the syrup, make these blisteringly hot.

Sweet Potatoes With Marshmallows
Serves 8-10

7 pounds sweet potatoes5 to 6 tablespoons vegetable oil1/4 cup lime juice (1 or 2 limes)2 teaspoons ground cinnamon3/4 stick butter1 tablespoon sea salt or 1/2 tablespoon table salt1 10-ounce package mini marshmallows

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Prick or puncture the sweet potatoes with a fork and put them each on a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap them in.  I find these cook best in individual parcels, so just be prepared to make a lot of them: I find the weight above means you’re dealing with 8 or 9 potatoes in one go.

Divide the oil between the foil sheets and then rub or turn the sweet potatoes in it and wrap into baggy but well-sealed parcels.  Put them on a baking sheet or two and roast until the potatoes are soft and cooked through, approximately 1 to 1-1/2 hours.  This way of cooking the potatoes, apart from being very easy, means that you get maximum, un-watered-down flavor.

When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, strip away the skin and fork or squeeze and pick the flesh into a large bowl.  Pour in any syrupy juices from each of the foil parcels.  Add all the other ingredients except for the marshmallows, and mix together to make the mash.

Spoon the sweet-potato mash into an ovenproof dish: I use an old rectangular one of 13-1/2 x 8 inches and about 2-1/2 inches deep, but any you have around that size would be fine.  Smooth the top of the mash and cover with the mini marshmallows.

Bake in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes, by which time the marshmallows will have colored on top and melted together, like a rippled, bronzed duvet.

Brussels Sprouts With Chestnuts, Pancetta and Parsley
Serves 8-10

10 cups (about 2 pounds) Brussels sprouts8 ounces pancetta, rind removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (to give 1-1/2 cups)1 tablespoon vegetable oil2 tablespoons butter1-1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) vacuum-packed chestnuts1/4 cup MarsalaLarge bunch parsley, chopped to give about 1 cup

Trim the bottoms off each of the sprouts, cutting a cross into each as you go, or at least a slash.  This may not be necessary, but I can’t not do it. Then tip them into a large pan of salted boiling water and cook until tender but still retaining a bit of bite, about 5 minutes or so, depending on size.  Just spoon one out of the water and test (without burning your tongue and thus ruining the whole lunch for yourself) to be sure.

Meanwhile, in a pan large enough to take everything later (or just drain the sprouts and use their pan, once you’ve drained them), cook the pancetta cubes in the oil, with the rind for more salty fat rendering, until they’re bronzed and crisp, but not cooked to the point of having dried out.

Add the butter and the chestnuts and, with a wooden spoon or spatula, press on the chestnuts to break them up a little.  When they’re warmed through, turn the heat up and throw in the Marsala, letting it bubble away, fusing with the pancetta fat and chestnutty butter to form a glorious savory syrup. Add the drained sprouts and turn well, sprinkling in half the parsley as you do so.  Give a good grinding of pepper; you shouldn’t need salt, given the pancetta, but obviously taste to see. Decant to a warmed serving plate and sprinkle over the remaining chopped parsley.

Green Bean and Lemon Casserole
Serves 8-10

2 pounds slender green beans3/4 stick unsalted butterFew drops olive oil1 lemonSea salt and fresh pepper

Bring a big pot of water to the boil while you top and tail (trim) the beans. Once the water has come to the boil, salt it and cook the beans until they have lost their rawness (about 6 minutes after the water comes back to the boil), but retain a bit of crunch.

Strain them, and put the pot back on the stove over a low heat with the butter and olive oil.  While the butter melts, chop up the lemon.  Put it on a chopping board, cut a slice off each end, just enough to remove skin and pith, and then cut downwards, turning the lemon as you go, to peel the fruit fully. Don’t worry if in order to remove all the pith you cut into the fruit a bit: just take the pieces of fruity peel over to the pan and squeeze in any juice you can. Then cut the lemon up on the board: I just slice and let each slice tumble into bits on its own. Add the lemon pieces and all the juice that collects to the melted butter and stir well with a wooden spoon, adding drained beans.

Swirl the pan vigorously and turn the beans in the lemony butter. Add salt to taste and lots of freshly ground pepper. I love white pepper (out of deference to my mother’s taste and practice) or the much-abominated 1980s restaurant-style mixed pepper, but neither is crucial.

Remove to a warmed casserole, making sure you don’t leave any lemony, buttery juices behind.

Redder Than Red Cranberry Sauce
Serves 8-10

12-ounce package cranberries1 cup superfine sugar1/4 cup cherry brandy1/3 cup water

What can I tell you?  Put everything in a pan, bring to a boil and let bubble away for about 15 minutes until you have cranberry sauce. The one thing you should bear in mind, though, is that the pectin-rich nature of the fruit means that it solidifies briskly as it cools, so take the pan off the heat to stop it cooking and reducing when you still think it’s much too liquid.  Once the berries have burst, which should be after about 10 miutes, it should be ready, but you will anyway have to remove a teaspoonful to taste whether it needs more sugar (if you find it too sweet, which is unlikely, just spritz in some lemon) so take two out to check the consistency of the second, cooled, teaspoon.

If you cook this in advance it will chunk up a lot, so just thrash it through with a fork before serving.

Excerpted from “Feast: Food to Celebrate Life,” by Nigella Lawson. Copyright © by Nigella Lawson. Published by Hyperion Books. All rights reserved. No part if this excerpt can be used without permission of the publisher.