Yotam Ottolenghi’s last-minute Christmas recipes | Food (2024)

Yotam Ottolenghi recipes

Here are three store-cupboard recipes for sausage stuffing, leftover bread pudding and a posh pear and custard dessert


Yotam Ottolenghi

Sat 22 Dec 2018 09.30 GMT

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You can count the hours to Christmas, and if you still haven’t a clue what you’re going to cook, you’re either terrifically free-spirited or fantastically short-sighted. If you’re starting to feel the heat, however, here are a few holiday hacks that will fill bellies without breaking the bank. I’m assuming that, at this late stage, you won’t want to venture too far to source ingredients, and that you’d prefer to keep things pretty simple: old bread, bits of cheese, tinned fruit, the last dregs of a bottle of dessert wine – all can be turned into grub fit for kings.

Kale pesto strata with gruyère and mustard (pictured top)

This savoury bread pudding is best assembled the day before and baked when you’re about an hour away from eating. Feel free to use different cheeses and herbs.

Prep 20 min
Chill 4-24 hr
Cook 1 hr 30 min
Serves 4

500g sourdough loaf, ends removed but crust left intact, then cut into 5mm-thick slices
135ml olive oil, plus extra for greasing
75g kale leaves, roughly torn
40g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
15g oregano leaves
1 red chilli, roughly chopped (deseeded if you prefer less heat)
1 large shallot, peeled and finely chopped (75g net weight)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
Salt and black pepper
50g parmesan, roughly grated
60g gruyère, roughly grated
3 eggs, plus 3 yolks
700ml whole milk
300ml double cream
1½ tbsp dijon mustard
1½ tbsp capers, rinsed or drained, then roughly chopped
1½ tbsp cider vinegar

Heat the oven to 170C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Spread out the slices of bread on two baking trays and bake for 10 minutes, until lightly toasted and dried out, then leave to cool.

Grease a 30cm x 20cm and at least 6cm-deep baking dish with oil.

Put the kale, herbs, chilli, shallot and garlic in a food processor, pulse a couple times until finely chopped, then add 90ml oil, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper, and pulse to a coarse paste. Measure out 75g of this pesto and set aside. Use the rest generously to coat both sides of each slice of bread. Layer the bread slices in the baking dish at an angle, so they overlap a little, and sprinkle the cheeses in between as you go.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, milk, cream, mustard, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Pour over the bread, cover with a piece of greaseproof paper, then weigh down the strata with a heavy baking dish. Refrigerate for at least four hours, and preferably overnight.

Take the strata out of the fridge an hour before baking, and remove the weight and greaseproof paper. Heat the oven to 190C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Cover the strata tightly with foil, bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 25 minutes more, or until deeply golden and bubbling. Leave to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Meanwhile, combine the reserved pesto with the capers, vinegar and remaining three tablespoons of oil. Serve the strata directly from its dish with the pesto alongside.

Fiona Beckett’s wine match
“The classic Italian white, Soave, would work well with this. Pieropan is a respected and widely available producer (my local wine merchant Davis Bell McCraith has it for £14.99) as does the Wine Society if you’re popping by for a final load-up.”

Chorizo and almond stuffing

I’ve used a similar recipe in the past to fill peppers, but this version is just as good on its own. You can make it up to two days ahead, but hold back on adding the cheese, egg and stock until you’re ready to bake. You can replace the almonds with any other nuts you have, and play around with the herbs you use, too.

Prep 20 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
250g cooking chorizo, cut into 1cm dice
1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped into 1cm pieces
1 large garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 tsp smoked paprika
Salt and black pepper
100g sourdough, crust left on
50g flaked almonds, lightly toasted
20g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
20g basil leaves, roughly chopped
100g manchego, cut into 1cm cubes
1 egg, lightly beaten
150ml chicken stock

Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Heat the oil in a large saute pan on a medium-high flame, then fry the onion for seven to eight minutes, stirring frequently, until soft and caramelised. Add the chorizo, green pepper, garlic, paprika, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper, and continue to fry for seven minutes, stirring every once in a while, until the chorizo is cooked and browned. Set aside to cool a little.

Tear up the sourdough, then blitz in a food processor for about a minute, until you have rough crumbs: the largest pieces should be about 1cm. Tip into a bowl with the almonds, chorizo mixture, herbs, manchego and egg, and stir to combine.

Transfer the stuffing mix to a medium baking tray (around 25cm x 20cm), pour over the stock and bake for 15 minutes, until crisp and golden brown on top. Leave to cool slightly before serving.

Fiona Beckett’s wine match
The inclusion of chorizo in a dish generally signals a gutsy Spanish or southern French red. A young fruity rioja like the Marques del Atrio Rioja Gran Selección 13% on offer at Morrisons at £6 would work or, better still, the ripe, supple Domaine Agly Bio Côtes du Roussillon 2017 14% at £10 from the Co-op.”

Spiced cherries and pears with sabayon

Many of you won’t need to look further than your kitchen cupboards to make this. Swap the pears and cherries for any tinned and frozen fruit you have in the house, and use any sweet dessert wine you fancy.

Prep 10 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 6

30g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground star anise
1 pinch flaked sea salt
2 x 420g tins pear halves in syrup, drained and each pear-half cut into 3 wedges (480g net weight)
350g frozen pitted cherries, defrosted and drained of any liquid
1½ tsp orange zest

For the sabayon
4 egg yolks
50g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling (optional)
4 tbsp sweet dessert wine – I used marsala
50ml whipping cream, whipped to medium peaks

Put the butter, sugar, cinnamon, star anise, salt and a tablespoon of water in a large saute pan on a medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes, until the sugar dissolves and the caramel is bubbling. Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the pear wedges and cook, stirring occasionally, for seven minutes, or until the caramel is thick enough to coat the fruit. Stir in the cherries, cook for three minutes more, until just heated through, then keep warm while you make the sabayon.

Half-fill a saucepan with water and bring it to a bare simmer on a medium heat. In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar. Set the bowl over the pan, making sure the base doesn’t touch the water, then whisk continuously, moving the bowl on and off the pan every now and then, until foamy – about four minutes. Add the wine and whisk, again moving the bowl on and off the pan now and then, for eight to 10 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened to a fluffy, custard-like consistency and has a slight shine. Remove from the heat and gently fold through the whipped cream.

Divide the fruit between six bowls. Top with the sabayon cream and orange zest; if you have a blowtorch, sprinkle sugar over the sabayon and brulee until golden. Serve at once.

Fiona Beckett’s wine match
“It seems a waste not to drink the marsala you’ve bought to make this but if there’s not enough to go round a glass of young ruby port like Dow’s Midnight (19% £6.50 for 50cl at Asda would pick up on flavour of the cherries.”


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