Christmas Dinner special



Otherwise known as the cockney critic or Mr Happy Days, Jerry Mullan’s culinary journey has been as diverse as the countries he’s lived and cooked in, whether it was running Charity events at St Paul’s Cathedral or Hog roasts at Hampton Court, he’s always smiling. Currently, Head Chef of an award-winning West London gastropub, his influences and passion are irresistible whether on a plate or being read.

Jerry Mullan

Happy days ladies and gentlemen, and we are back. The world didn’t completely stop.

I don’t know about anyone else but I’ve lost four stones since reopening our restaurant, fair enough I did put on five during the lockdown but hey at least I’m warm in December. Some of us have started doing charity work, others have reconnected with loved ones that we wouldn’t have had before, and some of us even learnt where the kitchen was, or at least the microwave for some. So to celebrate this amazing and historic year, I wanted to share a beautiful Christmas roast. 

This year I have gone for lamb, yes turkey is the traditional way, but to be honest with such an untraditional year, I thought why not, let’s treat ourselves. And yes this might seem time-consuming, but whoever is cooking this year, is making up for the last one, so put your Alexa on and let’s get started 

Ingredients 

  • Lamb Leg
  • 4 Garlic bulbs
  • 3 tbsp Rosemary
  • 3 tbsp thyme 
  • 1/2 veg cube 
  • 1lt of water 

I use lamb leg for a roast, it’s easy enough to cook but most importantly, the juice leftover is going to be our gravy base, and the marrow from the bone is going to really make it something special. 

First, make tiny slits with a knife into the lamb and place half cut bulbs of garlic inside. Season with salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme to form a coat. Mix the stock cube with the hot water, stir and pour into the bottom of your pan. Cover with the lid or foil and wack it in the oven at 185 degrees or gas mark 5. Depending on the size, mine was 1.4 kilo so I put it in for 1hr 40 minutes. I do an hour for the kilo plus 10 minutes for every 100g after. 

Once done, you want to remove it from the tray and put it onto a plate to stop it from cooking. Now the main key behind any red meat is to let it rest. For a lamb chop, this would be ten minutes, for a leg, I would let it rest for an hour. So as good as it looks, slap that hand and don’t be tempted to cut and try a bit just yet. Remove the juice into a container and place it in the freezer for an hour. 

Moving to the spuds, which in my eyes are as important as the lamb if not more.

  • 1 kg of Maris piper potatoes
  • 3 garlic bulbs
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 1 tbsp salt 

As some of you know, I love flavour, and potatoes are flavours best friend. They will absorb almost anything you put into the water. So grab your pan and fill it with cold water, add the rosemary, thyme, garlic and salt and bring to a boil. 

Peel the spuds and cut them into roast potato size and carefully add to the pan. Cook for 30 minutes or until they are nice and soft. Then drain through a colander and toss through to flake them up (it’s not a pancake so no heavy flicking, we want them in one piece). 

Pour the oil onto the bottom of your baking tray first (this will stop them, from sticking), add the potatoes and the using a spoon place the duck fat in dollops on top of the potatoes (by doing this when its cold, the potato will absorb more of that amazing duck fat flavour)

Season slightly and put into the oven for 1 hour 20 minutes on gas mark 5, and flip them with a spatular every 20 minutes, until golden brown texture like sun (great song)

Moving onto the veg, now this may not be your typical broccoli and peas, but this is no typical Christmas

Fennel 

  • 2 whole fennel 
  • 125ml white wine
  • 2 tbsp mint sauce 

For anyone who’s unsure, fennel is part of the onion family with a slight aniseed taste and a nice crunch. It’s an amazing addition to this special roast dinner. 

Cut the green tops off and cut roughly 2mm off at the root end. Once done, cut them into wedges and place them onto an oven tray. Pour the white wine, mint sauce and seasoning over the fennel and cover with foil. Cook on the middle shelf for 20 minutes and then bring out to allow to cool (we will reheat them later with the rest of the veg) 

Carrots

  • 4 large carrots
  • 1 cup Orange juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp sugar

I call these the Ed Sheeran’s of carrots, as we are cooking orange with orange. Place the orange juice, water and sugar into a pan and bring to a boil. peel the carrots, cut in half and cook in the pan for 20 minutes, or until nice and soft. Remove and place them in the tray with the fennel to cool, ready to reheat later 

Squash mash 

  • Juice from the carrots
  • 1/5 veg cube 

Super easy, cut the squash into cubes and with the orange still from the carrot pan, add the stock cube and the squash and cook until soft and mashable. Drain off and with a masher, mash it up (if you haven’t got one a folk will do just as good) and season to taste. You can either reheat in the pan or pass it to chef mic

Crispy kale

  • 1 bag of kale
  • 2 garlic bulbs (crushed)
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil (truffle oil optional)

We have so many different textures on the plate, but what we always miss out on is a crisp rather than a crunch and this is where this beauty comes into play. Now, you can really spruce this up and use truffle oil, or I just used olive oil with this. Simply place in a frying pan with a little oil, crushed garlic and fry the kale off until its as crispy as seaweed (I would leave this until the last five minutes as that;’s all it takes)

Romanesco or the mini Christmas trees

This very exciting veg is part of the cauliflower family. It has a similar flavour to broccoli but the hard texture of cauliflower. Its such a beautiful veg and we have so many other flavours going on, I simply blanch this in some water until soft and then season to taste 

Sausage meatballs 

  • 400g Sausage meat (you can buy sausages and take the meat out of the skin)
  • 1tsp Sage 
  • 1 tsp rosemary 
  • 1/2 tsp Worcester sauce
  • 1.2 tsp dijon mustard

I also did sausage stuffing balls with mine as I’m a massive fan and they are super easy to make. Finely chop the onion and add all ingredients into a bowl and form balls. 

In one tray add the carrots, fennel and stuffing balls and place in the middle of the oven alongside the potatoes for 20 minutes

Gravy 

  • Lamb Juice 
  • 1 tbsp soya
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce 
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 
  • 125ml of red wine 
  • 3 tbsp of gravy granules

In a pan, cook off the soy, vinegar and Worcester until almost all gone and then add the red wine. Reduce the wine by half and after carefully taking the fat layer off the lamb juice, place the stock in with the wine (if you want that extra flavour on the spuds, then add the lamb fat to them as well). Thicken using gravy granules and there you have it ladies and gentlemen your very own Christmas red wine gravy 

Cut the lamb and there we have it, something slightly different but that’s what 2021 has been about. 

I know we are still coming up to tough times, so I hope everyone stays safe and get to see their loved ones this year and have an amazing Christmas and bring on 2022

Mr Happy Days, Jerry Mullan

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