Christmas dinner on a budget

With The Bridge House Hotel’s award winning chef Paddy Kennedy.

With The Bridge House Hotel’s award winning chef Paddy Kennedy.

French Onion Soup

Ten Portions


1 Kg Onions sliced peeled and finely sliced

50 g Butter

10 g Thyme leaves

2 Cloves Garlic sliced

25g Flour

2.5 litres Beef stock (Brown) or 2.5litre Water with a beef stock cube

I Ciabatta sliced

25g Grated white cheddar cheese

Olive oil

Sea Salt and Milled pepper


Heat a heavy based pot and add the butter and melt without browning.

Add the onion, garlic and thyme and cook over a steady heat for a couple of minutes until nicely browned add the flour and cook for another two minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.

Add the beef stock or the water and stock cube and bring to the boil and simmer very gently for ten minutes.

Skim off any impurities that rise to the top.

Season the soup with salt and milled pepper.

Place the ciabatta slices on a tray and drizzle with olive oil.

Sprinkle the cheese over and place in a hot over for ten minutes until the bread is hard

To serve pour the soup into bowls and place two croutons on each bowl for garnish.

PK Tips

This is a very simple soup to make and can be made the day before it is required and placed in the fridge when cooled. If using stock cubes check the required quantities on the pack and don’t forget, like salt, you can always add more but you can’t take it out after it’s in.

Stuffed Supreme of Turkey

Ten portions


1Supreme of turkey (Approx. 2.5 KG)


30 g margarine or butter

50 g Onion finely diced

200g Breadcrumbs

20g Chopped mixed herbs (Parsley, thyme, basil and chives)

Salt and milled pepper

25g melted butter

1 Cup of red wine or port


Heat a large heavy based pot and adds the 30g of butter or margarine add the onion and cook gently without browning. Add the mixed herbs and breadcrumbs, season with salt and milled pepper and mix well. Set aside to cool.

Cut an incision on the inner side of the turkey breast and season with salt and pepper.

Place some of the stuffing into the incision and fold over.

Wrap the remaining stuffing in greased foil and heat in the oven for about thirty minutes

Tie with some string to secure.

Brush the skin melted butter and place on a roasting tray.

Turn on the oven and heat to a temperature of165oC.

Place turkey into oven and cook for approximately one hour.

Check turkey breast during cooking and if it is starting to brown too much turn down temperature.

Baste the breast by spooning the cooking juices and fat over the top during cooking.

When cooked remove turkey and place tray on top of stove, add some red wine or port and de-glaze the tray by dissolving all of the cooking sediment.

Stir well until all of the sediment is dissolved

Place some crushed ice into a sieve and place over a glass jug or bow

Pour gravy onto the ice and any of the fat will solidify and the gravy will pass into the bowl.

Place gravy into a pot and correct the consistency, if it is too thin it can be thickened with a little pinch of flour and butter mixed together (Beurre Maine). Simply whisk it into the gravy to thicken. Alternatively thicken with a little pinch of gravy mix stirred in.

Roasted carrots, parsnips and potatoes

Simply peel the carrots, parsnips and potatoes and cut into even sized chunks, season with salt and pepper and a little honey if desired. Place them in with the turkey breast after twenty minutes cooking. When basting the turkey roll the vegetables around with a wooden spoon to prevent them sticking to the tray, Remove them when cooked and place into serving dish.

PK Tips

This recipe is for a basic stuffing, further ingredients can be added to enhance such as sausage meat, chestnuts or lemon juice.

As all appliances differ the cooking time is a guide line. Check that the turkey is cooked by piercing thickest area with a carving fork and the juices released should be clear.

A Food temperature probe is a handy tool to have in the kitchen.

Pierce the turkey with the probe and the core temperature should be over 70c.

Serve with some mashed potatoes with chopped scallions mixed through and Brussels sprouts, boiled and dressed with butter.

Honey and mustard loin of bacon

I kg Bacon loin

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

1 tbsp. Brown sugar

1 tbsp. Honey

1 tbsp. Cider vinegar


Place the bacon in a pot with some cold water and place on heat.

Bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes.

Pour off water and rinse off meat, return to a clean pot and cover again with water.

Bring to the boil and simmer gently for about ninety minutes

Remove from pot and cut off excess fat with a sharp knife

Score the top of the fat side with a knife side to side.

Place the vinegar, honey sugar and mustard in a small bowl and mix together.

Spread evenly over the joint and place in a hot oven for fifteen minutes until the mixture caramelises

PK Tip

Make a lovely parsley sauce by taking a cup full of the cooking juices and a dash of white wine and reducing them in a pot and adding some cream and parsley.

Brandy cream for Christmas pudding

Whisk about 100 ml of cream and add a dash of brandy when lightly whipped .

Serve with warm Christmas pudding

Next week

Tips for cooking the traditional turkey and ham

Fridge safety tips

Something different for St Stephen’s Day