Dickens Christmas Dinner Menu
I recently watched the movie, “A Christmas Carol” ….and I love looking at all the food on the tables.
Last year, I wanted to make a meal much like that time period.
Check out my menu:
Yep! Ever the romantic!
I have the recipes for my Dickens Christmas Dinner, listed below.
I know, I know…Christmas is over but who says a recipe is ONLY for Christmas?
Yeah, I know.
First I will tell you that dinner was a success and I received raves for all the food.
I understand stuffed apples is often prepared and served at the family meal but since I made apple pie, I did not make stuffed apples.
The first recipe I am listing is for Yorkshire Puddings.
My dear friends, in case you don’t know this…these are NOT puddings as we in America know puddings.
Usually it is one big “pudding” which is more like our popovers, which for me is like an unsweetened cream puff.
I actually had fun making my individual puddings…so different, but very easy to make. I did not make a roast beef on a spit, which allows the drippings to drip down into a pan…into which the “pudding” batter is usually added, making one large pudding. I instead, baked mine much like we would make dinner rolls and instead of meat drippings, I used vegetable oil.(see the recipe for the explanation of the oil) Only four ingredients are needed for these “puddings”. Perhaps the reason they are called puddings is the way they are eaten. In those days, it was considered a first course and gravy was drizzled over each pudding or one could “dip” the pudding/popover directly into the gravy. I would imagine the bakers of the day had to already have the meal completely prepared at this point as usually (for me) the gravy is the last to be made.
Next on my Dickens Christmas Dinner was the meat.
Tiny Tim’s family made roast goose and I read that there was usually a roast beef too (needed for the Yorkshire puddings)
I guess it was much like we have two meats such as Ham and Turkey.
However, I made individual Cornish game hens.
No left overs, but one less item to store in the fridge after dinner.
The recipe I used called for a citrus glaze which was scrumptious.
These game hens are so easy to make. I roasted them for about an hour and then poured the pre-heated glaze over the top and roasted for another 15 minutes. They were moist and tender and delicious! I served with orange slices and lettuce garnish. I just had to put about 1 tablespoon of stuffing in each cavity before tying the legs closed. Hardly worth doing but I wanted to taste the flavor of the hen on the stuffing. You can’t put much into those little cavities. I have also placed the hens on a bed of stuffing, but this time I used an oven rack with drip pan.
Speaking of the stuffing. I made a Sausage Apple Chestnut stuffing that was so good.
The next item was so easy to make. Duchess potatoes.
I like these potatoes because they look a bit fancy but are easy peasy to make.This is simply mashed potatoes made up ahead of time and adding egg yolks, butter, cream, salt and pepper and a bit of nutmeg. Pile or pipe onto a cookie sheet and top with cheese. Yummy! And the recipe came from jolly old England.
The next item from our Dickens Christmas Dinner is the traditional Brussel Sprouts.
And before you say “yuk” as some of my family might say…you have to try them roasted with pancetta (or you can use bacon) and add the chestnuts. I also used a few pecans because I used most of the chestnuts in my stuffing…. but traditionally, The English Christmas Dinner would include Brussel Sprouts. Let me tell you that I could have eaten them all myself. Most receipes will tell you to boil the sprouts for a few minutes before roasting them in the oven, but I didn’t do that. I did it all in a cast iron skillet. see the recipe below for my method.
In addition to Brussel Sprouts, a Dickens type dinner would include parsnips.
OK, folks…I substituted carrots.
They are at least shaped kinda sorta like a parsnip! 🙂
Maple Bacon wrapped bacon carrots and we all loved this combination. Another easy side dish to make.
I took whole carrots and did not peel them as the recipe suggested. Instead I washed them well and I wrapped the bacon around them. The addition of the Maple Syrup at the last 15 minutes was to die for. YUM!
The other recipes can be found in the recipe file. The Apple pie is made with red delicious apples, The Wassail is made with apple cider and red hots and cinnamon. The mini mincemeat pies are easy peasy to make.
I hope you enjoyed your Christmas Day and the food that was prepared with love.
Printable recipes are below.
Happy Holidays from the Captain and Me.
- 4 large eggs
- *1 cup milk (equal quantity of milk to your measured eggs)
- *1 cup flour (equal quantity of all purpose/plain flour to measured eggs)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tbsp lard or beef dripping (I used vegetable oil because I was making game hens as my entree)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Pour the eggs and milk into a large mixing bowl and add the pinch of salt. Whisk thoroughly with an electric hand beater or hand whisk. (Important! Let mixture sit for 10 minutes).
- Gradually sift the same volume of flour (as the eggs) into the milk and egg mixture, again using an electric hand beater or hand-whisk to create a lump free batter resembling thick cream.
- Important! Let this batter rest for a minimum of 30 minutes, longer if possible - can leave up to several hours.
- Place a pea-sized piece of lard, dripping or ½ tsp vegetable oil into your chosen Yorkshire pudding tin, (I used a regular 12 hole muffin tin) and carefully place in the oven until the fat is smoking.
- Whisk the batter adding 2 tbsps of cold water, then fill each muffin hole up to about 1/3 to the top and return the muffin tin quickly to the oven.
- Let the "puddings" bake until golden brown, approx 20 minutes. Repeat the last step again until all the batter is used up.
- Yorkshire Puddings do not reheat well as they become brittle and dry.
- *I followed the instructions by measuring out the quantity of "liquid" in each egg and matching it with the flour and the milk. It varied per egg.
- ****In Yorkshire, the pudding is traditionally served with gravy as a starter dish followed by the meat and vegetables. More often smaller puddings cooked in muffin tins are served alongside meat and vegetables.
- 4 Cornish game hens
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- *1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- Zest of orange (optional)
- Tie legs of each hen together; turn wing tips under backs. Place on a greased rack in a roasting pan. Brush with butter; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 1 hour.
- In a saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Spoon over hens. Bake 15 minutes longer or until a meat thermometer reads 180°.
- *You can use wine, Madeira or Sherry in place of the chicken broth if desired.
- I also stuffed my hens with a sausage apple chestnut stuffing, putting the excess in a baking dish to bake for about 30 minutes.
- 2 pounds russet potatoes
- 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- **1/4-1/2 cup finely shredded Swiss cheese, grated on the small holes of a box grater (about 1 ounce)
- Heat the oven to 400°F Line baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cook potatoes as you would for making mashed potatoes and then mash
- While the potatoes are still warm, mix in the egg yolks 1 at a time making sure each yolk is completely incorporated before adding the next. Add the butter, cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth.
- *Transfer to a large piping bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star piping tip and pipe into round mounds onto your baking sheet. Sprinkle with the cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes until the tops of the potatoes are light golden brown
- *If you do not want to use a piping bag, you can "heap" your potatoes in a mound with a large spoon.
- **If you want to use pepper jack cheese, please do so...that is the way the Captain and I like ours.
- 5 cups torn pieces of day-old bread, lightly oven toasted
- 4 ounces cooked sausage, crumbled
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh sage leaves
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaf
- 1 large apple, peeled, cored and diced
- 4 ounces presoaked dried cranberries
- 1 package or jar of peeled whole roasted chestnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1-3 cups of chicken broth or stock
- In cast iron skillet, cook the sausage breaking it apart as you cook
- Remove and place sausage on paper towel
- Add butter to the sausage drippings and saute the onions and celery, add the sage, thyme and rosemary (you can use the dried herbs if desired)
- Place bread and cooked sausage into a large bowl.
- In a large skillet saute the onions, the celery, the sage, the thyme, and the rosemary. Add the chestnuts, apple and cranberries stirring well.
- Add the vegetable mixture to the bread and sausage, tossing the mixture well, add salt and pepper to taste and add as much broth to soften and let the stuffing cool.
- Mix in eggs and add more broth if needed.
- Makes enough to stuff a 10 pound turkey with extra to bake on the side in a casserole dish.
- Or bake covered in a well buttered 15 X 10 X 2-inch glass baking dish at 350 degrees for 30 minutes then remove foil for 15 minutes to crisp the top and sides
- Sometimes I use the eggs and sometimes I don't. I have not noticed a big difference in the stuffing.
- The stuffing may be made 1 day in advance and kept covered and chilled. (To prevent bacterial growth do not stuff poultry in advance.).
- 18 Brussels Sprouts, halved lengthwise
- 1/2 cup of diced Pancetta (or you can use bacon, cut into 1/4-inch slices)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6-8 peeled whole chestnuts, thinly sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 cup Chicken broth
- Brown the Pancetta or bacon in 2 tablespoons of the butter (or olive oil if desired, remove to drain)
- Toss the sprouts in the fat/oil and brown on both sides
- Place lid on the pan and let the sprouts steam a bit
- Add the Pancetta, chestnuts, salt and pepper, and the remaining butter
- Cook until tender and serve.
- I don't like boiling the sprouts first as some recipes suggest. I get more flavor browning in heavy skillet.
- 8 whole carrots, scrubbed, tops removed if desired
- 8 slices of bacon
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- Cooking spray or olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
- Aluminum foil sprayed with non stick spray
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Peel carrots if desired and wrap the slice of bacon tightly around the carrot
- Place on foil lined baking pan and spray with olive oil or your preferred cooking spray
- Bake 20 minutes and then brush with maple syrup and bake another 10 minutes until carrots are tender
- Place on serving dish and sprinkle with salt if desired.
- I did not add any salt and my carrots were great.