The thought of a well planned and trouble free Christmas dinner does sound like heaven and I’m sure it’s something we’d all love to say about the entire Festive period. However, the reality for some is likely to be a very tiring day, desperate to relax after a few weeks of non stop shopping, working, nativity plays and Christmas nights out.
Regardless of all the activities we find ourselves involved in, it is possible to make Christmas dinner a reasonably relaxed affair by simply preparing a few dishes for the freezer in advance.
With my food prep countdown well underway, one of the first dishes I made was a vegetable dish, parsnip and swede mash, great for freezing and can be easily reheated on Christmas Day with the addition of herb flavoured breadcrumbs.
The quantities given will serve approximately 10 people and I divided the dish into two giving me another vegetable perhaps for the New Year dinner. All that needs to be done is to defrost overnight in the fridge and top with the breadcrumbs and reheat in time for dinner.
Parsnip and Swede Mash
700g/1lb 8oz each of Parsnips and swede cut into bit sized pieces
A few sprigs of fresh thyme , leave removed.
150 ml carton soured cream, the half fat will reduce the calories!
6oz fresh breadcrumbs
Few sprigs of thyme, leaves removed
Cook the parsnips and carrots for about 15-20 minutes until tender.
Drain, add the cream and thyme leaves and mash either with a masher or process in a food processor
Season with salt and pepper and transfer to an oven/freezer proof dish.
Freeze and it’s ready for the breadcrumb topping prior to cooking.
Top the parsnips and carrots with the breadcrumbs mixed with the thyme leaves, drizzle with olive or rapeseed oil and bake at 190oC/fan170oC Gas 5 for 25 -30 minutes until piping hot.
The dish also works well with other vegetable combinations such as carrot and sweet potato or celeriac and sweet potato. A combination of parsnip and apple is delicious as an accompaniment to roast pork.
If you’re planning to organise most of your meal on Christmas eve, make and chill in the fridge overnight and add the breadcrumb topping before reheating.