It might be too early to get put the sprouts on for Christmas dinner but preparing a few other dishes in advance is my way of getting ahead, and it does make for a more relaxed time in the kitchen on the day itself. With 15 people coming for dinner this year, I need to make sure most of the prep is done at least 2 weeks before.
Stuffing is made, sausages will be wrapped in bacon, stock for gravy and cranberry sauce are all made in advance and frozen. This parsnip and carrot mash is a dish I make every year and again, it’s done in advance as it freezes well. On Christmas day, the breadcrumb topping is added and it’s easily reheated.
The quantities given will serve approximately 10 people and I usually divide between ovenproof dishes, use one for Christmas dinner and the other for another meal over the festive period. It also helps cut down on food waste and one dish is usually enough when there are other vegetable dishes being served.
Parsnip and carrot Mash
700g/1lb 8oz each of Parsnips and carrot 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!
15ml rapeseed or olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
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. The dish can be frozen at this stage.
Heat the butter and oil in frying pan, add the onion and cook until soft. Take the pan off the heat and mix in the breadcrumbs and thyme leaves
Top the parsnips and carrots with the breadcrumb mixture, 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. Or try parsnip and apple as an accompaniment to roast pork.