For foodies, the end of the year means one thing: it’s time to feast! Whether it’s end-of-year staff parties, stokvels, Christmas lunch or New Year’s Eve celebrations, the food is always the highlight. We recently took to Instagram to ask TASTE readers what their favourite all-time Christmas dish is and here are the most popular answers:
“Traditional gammon glazed with apricots, pineapple rings and fresh cherries! – @margartcowley
Coming in first place, with a slew of answers, was the all-impressive gammon roast. One reader referred to this as “the king of Christmas food” and we couldn’t agree more.
“Turkey with bread sauce, stuffing, cranberry sauce, roast pots, veggies & gravy” – @sarah.rickets
This bird isn’t just limited to American Thanksgiving menus, it definitely deserves a spot on Christmas menus, too. You can roast it until the skin is crispy and the bird is juicy and succulent, or take things outside and cook your turkey on the braai. Turkeys are big birds so make sure you’ve prepared all the dishes that need to be made in the oven, once the turkey is in the oven it will be unavailable for a few hours.
3. Roast lamb
“Roast lamb, broc and cauliflower bake, roast chicken, gravy, savoury rice, couscous salad, roast veggies” – @luthsfia
For tender fall-off-the-bone roast lamb, food contributor, Hannah Lewry suggestions marinating it in buttermilk. Buttermilk plays a key role in imparting flavour and tenderising the meat. This creates a tender and succulent roast that everyone will want to dig into. Get the recipe for buttermilk-marinated lamb here.
“TRIFLE!!!! (It needs its own emoji)” – @romywilson_ct
Layers of custard, jelly and sponge cake reign supreme as the dessert that defines a season. Trifle tends to be very polarising, but TASTE readers can’t seem to get enough. Keep it simple or dress it up with pavlova and seasonal berries.
“Good old roast potatoes.” – @jodi_le_roux
Christmas isn’t Christmas without crispy, golden roast potatoes. And the best way to get them that way is with loads of duck fat. For a plant-based alternative, swap the duck fat for canola oil. Get the recipe for triple-cooked duck-fat roast potatoes with mint butter here.
“Roast chicken, roast potatoes and green beans with gravy on all of it!” – @nique_ackers
We love this budget-friendly bird because it can go from midweek dinner to a festive showstopper with a few tweaks. Try stuffing a whole chicken with a mix of flaked almonds and rice to help keep it moist while roasting. The skin will be beautifully golden and crispy when removed from the oven. If you’re on a budget this festive season, this is the recipe to make. Get the recipe for roast chicken with almond stuffing here.
“STUFFING! 😍 😍😍” – @estherabboy
Stuffing makes any roast ten times better. This recipe features pork sausages, but feel free to swap the pork for beef, lamb or plant-based sausage depending on your guests’ preferences. This stuffing freezes well, so you can make it in advance. It can be used to stuff turkey or roast chicken or enjoyed as a side.
“Lately seafood braai and all sides, [it’s] too hot for a traditional Xmas spread, we live in SA not Europe.” – @annemikotze
Pick a selection of your favourite seafood: think prawns, whole trout, calamari and snoek. This is the spread to make when you want a more laid-back Christmas lunch. Let the braai do all the work while everyone catches up over drinks, snacks, garlic bread and more. Get the recipe for seafood braai platter here.
9. Mince pies
“Delicious food that we don’t eat during the year like gammon, salmon and mince pies” – @lily.snyman
While most people don’t make mince pies from scratch, these Christmas treats can be turned into an easy dessert. Food director Abigail Donnelly makes an Amaretto zabaglione to dress up Woolies mince pies. This Italian silky custard really makes a difference. If making desserts from scratch isn’t your thing, this is a great hack. Get the recipe for Amaretto zabaglione and mince pies here.
10. Easy fruit cake
“Controversial but I say fruit cake and trifle.” – @mrs.masuku
Traditional fruit Christmas cake tastes at its absolute best if it’s allowed to mature before you eat it. According to pro bakers, November is the best time to make your fruit cake. To intensify the boozy flavour, feed the cake with a tablespoon of brandy once a week or so. It’ll be ready to slice and serve by Christmas but if starting early doesn’t sound appealing (especially in this heat), you can also serve this cake straight after baking. Get the recipe for easy fruit cake here.
“Leftovers turned into bubble and squeak” – @abigailhinchcliffe
TASTE recipe developer and stylist Bianca Strydom shares her Christmas leftovers sandwich that’s inspired by the moist-maker sandwich from the 90s hit TV show, Friends. Add leftover stuffing, gammon, lamb and gravy to a sandwich for the best way to enjoy Christmas leftovers the next day.