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Christmas Lunch

The Yuletide spread

Here’s how to make those classic dishes that must be on the table for a Christmas lunch

Durri Bhalla | Published 25.12.22, 02:57 AM

Pictures courtesy: The author

It’s Christmas Day and among many other customary things that are on our to-do list today, the primary is putting together the Christmas lunch. Let us celebrate Christmas with these traditional and mouth-watering dishes that are usually made for Christmas lunch (or any other time of the year).

Christmas turkey with cranberry sauce, stuffing and gravy

Christmas Turkey

Christmas Turkey

Make your Christmas feast unforgettable with this recipe of roasted turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce and a beautiful luscious gravy. A glaze of maple syrup provides a beautiful flavour and the butter helps to keep the meat moist and succulent. Accompaniments for the turkey are very important. They make all the difference. It is usually served with potatoes, honey-glazed carrots, baked stuffing and, of course, a delicious salad, cranberry sauce and the gravy. I will show you all.


For the butter

  • 500g of butter
  • 2tbsp maple syrup (optional)
  • A pinch of salt

To prepare the turkey

  • 6kg turkey
  • 1 large onion cut into chunks
  • 2 lemons cut into chunks
  • 2-3 Mandarin oranges cut into chunks
  • For the maple glaze (optional, but it tastes real good with a little bit of the glaze)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2tbsp honey
  • Salt
  • Mix all the ingredients for the glaze in a bowl and keep aside
  • ½tsp hot sriracha sauce


Make the butter. Mix all the ingredients for the butter together.

For the turkey

  • The turkey should be at room temperature. Pat the turkey dry with paper towels. Season the inside cavity with salt and pepper. Rub the butter inside the skin and all over outside too. Drizzle olive oil so that the butter does not burn. When spreading the butter inside the skin make sure you do not tear the skin. Then stuff cavity with lemons, oranges and onions. Tie the legs of the turkey. Cover the turkey with aluminium foil.
  • Now place the turkey on a roasting pan. Place in a pre-heated oven and cook for 2 hours at 180°C.
  • Remove the turkey and baste it with all the juices. Now cook the turkey covered for another 45 minutes. Then uncover and brush the turkey with the glaze and cook for 30 minutes till the turkey turns a nice brown colour.
  • Remove the turkey and let it rest for minimum 30 minutes to an hour before carving. Remove all the stuffing from inside the turkey into the roasting pan before letting it rest. Remove the wings and neck to be used for the gravy.

For the gravy

  • The fruits and the vegetables from turkey
  • The juices from the turkey
  • The neck and wings cut out from the turkey
  • 1tbsp flour
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Few sprigs of rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Place the roasting pan on the stove with all its juices and giblets, etc., from the turkey.
  • Add the fruits and vegetables. Mash the vegetables a bit. Pour the wine. Let the wine cook out. Then pour the chicken stock with 1tbsp flour. Cook till required consistency.
  • Strain the gravy into a bowl. Check for seasoning. Add oregano. The gravy should be a nice brown colour and not very runny. The gravy should be cooked on low or medium to low flame.

For the cranberry sauce

  • 2 cups cranberries (dried or fresh)
  • 1 medium orange grated zest
  • Juice of 2 oranges
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • A pinch of clove powder
  • 1 cup sugar (or according to taste)


  • In a sauce pan mix everything together. When it comes to a boil reduce flame to low and partially cover it. Stir occasionally.
  • Cool till the sauce thickens. It usually takes about ½ hour. Check for taste. This makes for two cups.

For the baked stuffing for the turkey

Baked Stuffing

Baked Stuffing

A Christmas turkey is incomplete without a stuffing of some sort. Some fill the stuffing into the cavity of the bird while some bake it and serve with the turkey. Here is the baked version.


  • 8 slices of rustic bread cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 8 thick-cut bacon slices, cut into ¼-inch dices
  • 2tbsp butter
  • 3 leeks, white portion only, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise into ¼-inch thick slices and rinsed well.
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into ¼-inch thick diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth, plus more as needed
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, green bit only


  • Preheat the oven to 190°C.
  • Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.
  • Spread the bread out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly golden. About
  • 10-15 minutes. Keep a sharp watch over so that it does not burn. Set aside.
  • Now in a large fry pan over medium heat, the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crispy and golden, 4-5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon transfer to a paper towel lined bowl. Keep aside.
  • In another large fry pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks, carrots and garlic and saute stirring occasionally until tender (in 5-7 minutes). Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a large bowl, combine the bread, bacon and leek mixture. Add 1 cup stock, milk, thyme, green onions, salt and pepper and stir gently to mix. If the dressing seems dry add more stock as needed.
  • Now transfer the dressing to the prepared baking dish and bake until crispy and golden, in about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Note: If desired, you can pack the dressing loosely in the body and neck cavities of the turkey. Secure the neck flap with a tooth pick. Tie the legs together with butcher string. It will help in holding the stuffing. Add 30 minutes to the total roasting time.

Amazing mashed potatoes


  • 1kg potatoes. You can use a mix of brown and red if you wish.
  • 10-12 garlic cloves minced (you may use less if you want)
  • Lots of butter (as required)
  • Sour cream and milk as required for making a smooth mash
  • 1-2tbsp of chopped chives
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Boil the potatoes and mash them. Add butter, milk, sour cream, chives, salt and pepper. Mash until nice and smooth.

Note: You can adjust the quantity of chives and sour cream according to taste. Use butter generously. Check for seasoning.

Waldorf salad

Waldorf Salad

Waldorf Salad

Waldorf Salad originated in the 1800’s in Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. They are still serving this dish which has stood the test of time and is still popular as it was a 100 years ago. It was invented by the hotel maître d’ Oscar Turkey. Every US president since Herbert Hoover has stayed in the Waldorf Towers and enjoyed this iconic salad. So has the Pope.


  • 1 cup walnuts , toast them in a pan and roughly chop them. Cool thoroughly before using them
  • 3tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3tbsp greek yoghurt (or ordinary yoghurt; tie in a muslin cloth and hang for about half an hour for the water to drain out
  • 1tsp honey
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
  • Mix all the above ingredients except for the walnuts and keep aside in the fridge

For the salad

  • 1 cup diced celery. Take 2 ribs of celery, chop them into half first, then each rib cut into strips lengthwise; then dice into small pieces
  • 1 cup grapes cut into halves. You can use red or green grapes.
  • 2 apples cored and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2tbsp parsley chopped finely
  • ½tsp salt


  • In a large bowl add the apples, grapes, celery, walnuts, parsley and salt.
  • Pour the dressing . Gently mix everything together.
  • Serve on a bed of lettuce greens.

For the non-vegetarian version

  • In a small bowl, combine ½tsp each of garlic powder, dried basil, dried thyme, dried oregano and salt and pepper to taste.
  • In a baking dish place 2 chicken breasts. Drizzle little olive oil on top. Rub that in with your hands.
  • Then sprinkle the herb mixture on both sides and again rub with the hands.
  • Bake the chicken in the oven for 25 minutes till tender. Do not overcook it.
  • Cool completely and dice the chicken into bite-size pieces.
  • Mix with the salad.
  • Now you have the famous Chicken Waldorf Salad.

Honey glazed ham

Honey Glazed Ham

Honey Glazed Ham

A Christmas feast in never complete without a honey glazed ham. In 1957, Harry J. Hoenselaar opened the first Honey Baked Store in Detroit, Michigan. They invented the first Honey Glazed Ham and also the spiral cut of the ham with a special machine. Here I will show my version of honey glazed ham with gammon. The cooking time is long, but it’s extremely easy to make.


  • For the ham
  • 2kg gammon (pork) tied with strings to keep the shape
  • Water to cover the whole gammon in a pot
  • 2 carrots chopped
  • 1 leek chopped
  • 2 onions chopped
  • 2tsp crushed peppercorns
  • ½tsp coriander seeds
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½tsp salt


  • Put all the above ingredients in the pot with the gammon.
  • Simmer for 2½ hours removing the scum from the top.
  • The gammon when simmering should always be covered with water.
  • Now remove and place on a baking tray. Cut the strings. With a sharp knife gently criss cross over the skin. Now you stud it with cloves. Then pour the glaze over it. Put it in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • Remove and baste with the glaze again. Now put it back in the oven for 30 minutes at 190°C.
  • You have to baste every 5-7 minutes. That’s the trick.

For the glaze

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 5tbsp Madeira (or its substitute)
  • 2-3tbsp s honey
  • 2tbsp Worcestershire sauce


  • Mix all the above ingredients and cook on medium flame till it becomes dark and not too thick.
  • Cut the ham in slices and serve with the Christmas Turkey. Glazed ham tastes excellent in sandwiches or one can have sliced as it is. You can even dice and put in salads.

Christmas pudding

Christmas Pudding

Christmas Pudding

A Christmas pudding should have 13 ingredients that represent Jesus and the 12 disciples. Christmas pudding is easier to make than the cake because you can make it at once. For the cake-mixing of the ingredients is done at least a month in advance.


  • 15 medium dates pitted and chopped.
  • 1 cup dried apricots chopped
  • ¼ cup currants
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup crystallised ginger chopped
  • A pinch of spice mix
  • 3tbsp rum/bourbon whisky
  • 1 large orange zested and its juice
  • 10tbsp butter melted
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ¾ cup milk
  • ½ juice of lemon
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped walnuts / pecans
  • ½ cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup maple syrup


  • Take a heat-proof bowl which will fit in your large pot or Dutch oven and grease it generously with butter.
  • Combine dates, apricots, currants, raisins, cranberries, ginger, rum /whiskey/ brandy, orange zest and orange juice in a mixing bowl. Toss thoroughly to combine.
  • Now pour the melted butter and stir.
  • Mix in egg, cream and lemon juice.
  • Add walnuts, breadcrumbs, flour, spice mix, and maple syrup. Mix till the batter becomes thick and sticky.
  • Now transfer bowl to the prepared greased bowl. Press the dough down to flatten it with a spatula.
  • Now place a circle of parchment paper over the the top of the dough and press down to seal it.
  • Now stretch 2 pieces of plastic wrap over the bowl.
  • Now place the bowl over a third piece of plastic wrap. Bring the ends up over the bowl and seal tightly.
  • Now cover the bowl with 2 pieces of aluminium foil.
  • Then tie a piece of string around it and secure tightly.
  • Place in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
  • To cook the pudding
  • Place rosemary sprigs in the bottom of your pot.
  • Place the wrapped pudding on it and fill the pot halfway with water.
  • Place over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil.
  • Then reduce the heat to medium and steam , covered, for 4 hours.
  • Check every hour if more water is needed.
  • After 4 hours, carefully lift the pudding out.
  • Snip the string, take out the aluminium foil, remove plastic wrap and peel off the parchment paper.
  • Now place a plate over the bowl and invert the pudding to unmould.
  • Brush maple syrup lightly over the top.
  • Cut and serve immediately with ice cream or heavy cream or as it is. The choice is yours.
  • You can decorate the top with some canned cherries or fresh cranberries.

Durri Bhalla is a cookery expert and author of Indian Bohra Cuisine and Inner Truth To Good Health And Weight Loss.You can find her @durribhallakitchen on Instagram, @Durribhallakitchen on Facebook and Durri Bhalla on YouTube

Last updated on 25.12.22, 10:48 AM

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