Last year my best friend Bob shared his recipe for Mincemeat Vol au Vents and this really simple recipe was a bit of a hit. This year he’s been experimenting with herbs (no, not like that) and he’s come up with some interesting and fast Christmas recipes with sage. I’ll leave you in his capable hands…
We all like to serve up a festive crowd-pleaser at Christmas, from mulled wine to the increasingly infamous mincemeat vol au vent, but there’s a tendency for Christmas recipes to be dominated by sweet and spicy ingredients.
These three fast Christmas recipes will take one of the favourite festive flavours – sage – and take it out of stuffing and into a selection of other Christmassy creations that are equally satisfying.
You can make these quick Christmas creations using freshly chopped sage if you have it to hand, but dried sage from a jar will still give the effect – just leave it a little longer for the dried sage to soften and release its flavour before you use the finished sauce or dressing.
This one is incredibly quick and easy, and a great alternative to leftover stuffing for cold sandwiches – it even works well heaped on to sandwiches or burgers with hot fillings, for a contrast of temperatures when you take a bite.
All you need is a tub of normal coleslaw, and a good quantity of chopped fresh or dried sage, and combine the two. Give it a good stir to get the sage evenly mixed into the coleslaw, and leave it for the flavour to come out. You can adjust the amount of sage depending on personal taste, but the more you use, the more of an impact it makes, and the more of a fresh, herby aftertaste you get when you’ve finished your snack. A good starting point is to use enough sage so that it is visible in the mix, but not enough that your coleslaw is noticeably turning green.
Dried sage in particular shouldn’t affect the shelf life of your coleslaw, so this is one you can make in advance and have ready for those Christmas snacks, and sage slaw works great on everything from ham and pork to chicken and the inevitable leftover turkey.
Using the same principle, but just using mayonnaise instead of coleslaw, combine finely chopped sage into mayo for a hint of that distinctive stuffing flavour.
Again you can use this as a dressing for sandwiches if you don’t want the texture effect of coleslaw, but it’s also a great addition to festive buffet tables or late-night snacks.
Put out a small dish of sage mayo and a big bowl of roast potatoes and other veg – even if it’s all just leftovers from dinner – and you and your guests will be dipping into the sageonnaise all night long.
Last but not least of my fast Christmas recipes, throw a handful of sage into your bubble and squeak just before serving, again to give it that iconic stuffing flavour in amongst all the chopped and mashed vegetables.
Fresh sage should go in right at the last minute as you don’t really want to cook the herbs, but dried sage can probably go in a little earlier as including it in the last few minutes of cooking will help to soften it and bring out more of the flavour.
Serve your bubble and squeak as a side on Christmas meals, or for breakfast with buttered bread and plenty of brown sauce, where the sage will help it to hold its own as a festive breakfast treat.
Sage in Everything!
These three fast Christmas recipes were born out of a simple question: Where can I use more sage at Christmas?
It’s one of the truly iconic flavours of the holidays, and of Sunday roasts all year round, and I wanted to get more of that taste into my daily diet.
The lingering fresh herb flavour of a sage-infused sandwich or snack was an unexpected bonus that proved to be very palate-cleansing, and the enjoyment factor is through the roof.
Like last year’s mincemeat vol au vents recipe, this is the kind of idea you can serve up to guests and have them asking, Why didn’t I think of that?