On the Sauce
At Christmas, expectations are high. Customers want something new whilst also expecting to taste the homely, traditional flavours that they love.
“Creating a Christmas menu that stands out without straying too far from tradition can therefore sometimes be a daunting task. By using bought-in pastes, seasonings and sauces, chefs can easily add a novel twist to classic dishes, enhancing the flavour profile and elevating the taste,” says Andrej Prokes, chef consultant, at NestléProfessional.
Enhance the cranberry
Cranberry sauce is an essential for any Christmas roast menu, which means that every chef will be making it and every diner will already have a benchmark. One way chefs can enhance this classic poultry accompaniment is by using a red and port wine reduction paste. This adds depth of flavour, bringing additional sweetness and acidity, and increasing complexity. Another option is to add fresh ingredients for a homemade feel. Fresh orange zest gives it a kick whilst a tiny hint of chilli will lift the sauce to a whole new tastebud-tingling level. Replace port or red wine in recipes with cherry liqueur for a festive wow factor and for a modern twist, try sloe gin.
Bread is best
Christmas dinner isn’t complete without creamy bread sauce. Make yours stand out on the table by reinventing this classic British sauce by toasting your bread until golden, then adding double cream (or clotted), nutmeg and cloves – use a good-quality loaf and slice thickly rather than a ready-sliced one. You can use gluten-free bread to make it suitable for all customers, or use soya milk or rice milk for those customers following a dairy-free diet.
From a rich turkey and chestnut gravy to a light, clear and delicate jus, whatever your gravy preference this festive season, the quality and amount of gravy is crucial to the enjoyment of a roast dinner. For really savoury gravy, try adding soy sauce and dried mushrooms. A date, red wine and port gravy is the perfect complement to goose, and don’t forget to offer a vegetarian red wine gravy for those not eating meat. Get ahead of the game and make your gravy in advance – freeze if needed.
View the recipe for Wild Mushroom Sauce