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How To Cook Christmas Dinner Like A Chef: The Side

December 2018Words by Ms Heather Taylor

Photograph by Ms Heather Taylor

For the next instalment in our series of festive recipes from acclaimed chefs, we’re focusing on an element of the Christmas feast that’s often overlooked. Yes, you might have lovingly brined your turkey on Christmas Eve, or splashed out on a ham from your local butcher, but the vegetables served alongside are just as important. Nobody wants to eat lacklustre steamed sprouts or undercooked parsnips, so this year, show the veg as much consideration as the main event. 

To help take your sides from so-so to being worthy of second helpings, we turned to Mr David Gingell, co-founder of three coveted London restaurants: Westerns Laundry, Primeur, and the newly opened Jolene. The focus at all three, says Mr Gingell, is on, “ingredient-led cooking. Nothing more complicated than that.” From a daily-changing menu scrawled on the blackboard (and shared on the three sites’ Instagram accounts), choose from lamb shoulder with soft polenta and onions at Westerns; curried mussels at Primeur; or handmade pappardelle with duck ragu at Jolene.

Mr Gingell has shared his go-to recipe for honeyed ginger carrots. “For me, the sides you do for Christmas dinner should be as good, if not better, than the protein element,” he says. The carrots are slow-roasted with fragrant coriander seeds, fresh ginger and honey, until they’re soft and tender inside, with their skins burnished golden brown and a sticky glaze. “It’s important at Christmas to go traditional when it comes to flavours,” says Mr Gingell. “You don’t want to start adding ingredients like lemongrass or chilli. Warmer spices, though – such as ginger and coriander seeds – are welcome. They add acidity to the dish, which helps cut through the fattiness of goose or duck.”