Life & Style

Clodagh McKenna's Christmas recipes – discover delicious new twists on this classic meal

TV presenter and cookbook author Clodagh McKenna opens her home Broadspear for one very special and seasonal feast

Clodagh McKenna Christmas recipes
(Image credit: Chris Terry)

Recently, chef, award-winning cookbook author and TV presenter Clodagh McKenna hosted us at her home Broadspear to bring us her Christmas recipes. And what a feast it was – wonderful food and beautiful, inspiring Christmas table ideas that we're thrilled to share with you, below.

Clodagh has been lovingly restoring Broadspear for the past two years – including the one acre 18th-century walled vegetable and fruit garden, where she and her partner Harry have set up working bee hives, orchards, wormeries, wild flower meadows, and a cutting flower garden. There are Burford Hens – and pigs are due to arrive soon, too, as part of their plan is to create a sustainable working homestead.  

Now, on to Clodagh McKenna's Christmas recipes – and for more of her Christmas table ideas, go to our dedicated feature.

Clodagh McKenna's Christmas recipes

These Christmas recipes from Clodagh include the basic ingredients for a traditional Christmas lunch – but with her inventive twists to make it that much more magical.

Mulled Marmalade Glazed Turkey

Serves 6 - 8 

Mulled Marmalade Glazed Turkey from Clodagh McKenna's Christmas recipes

(Image credit: Chris Terry)

Ingredients:

  • 1 free range or organic turkey
  • 4-4.5kg 
  • 2 bunches of thyme and sage
  • 70g butter
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Marmalade Glaze:

  • 1 jar marmalade
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled
  • 8 cloves
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 star anise

For the roasting tin:

  • 4 shallots, peeled and halved
  • 6 carrots, peeled and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 4 parsnips, peeled, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 4 beetroot, peeled and quartered
  • 1 whole garlic, halved through the centre
  • 1 small bunch of thyme
  • 1 small bunch of sage

Method:

1. Start by making the marmalade glaze a day before you cook the turkey – we used a bird from Morton's Family Farm. Place the marmalade in a small saucepan over a low heat to melt. Stud the ginger with the cloves and add to the pan along with the cinnamon and star anise. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes then remove from the heat, leave to infuse for at least 2 hours or overnight. Once it has infused gently, warm the marmalade glaze and pass through a sieve to remove the spices and any pieces of orange peel. Set aside.

2. To roast the turkey pre-heat the oven to 230°C/Gas 8. Take the turkey out of the fridge one hour before roasting to allow the meat to relax and come to room temperature, which will make it more tender. Remove the giblets, wash the cavity and dry completely with kitchen paper, then season and place the herbs in the cavity and around the bird.

3. Using the back of a spoon, smear under and on top of the turkey skin with butter and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the turkey in the pre-heated oven. Then reduce the heat to 180°C/Gas 4 after 45 minutes, take the turkey out and baste with the pan juices. Cover loosely with tin foil and return to the oven and cook for a further 3 hours or adjust according to the weight of your turkey. Continue to baste every 45 minutes.

4. Add the vegetables around the turkey in the roasting tin and baste in the juices 45 minutes before the turkey is due to come out of the oven. Brush the turkey all over with the marmalade glaze for the final 5 minutes of roasting.

5. Check to see if the bird is cooked by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh; the juices should run clear. When you have taken the turkey out of the oven, leave it to rest for 30 minutes with a loose tent of tin foil to keep it warm. This will allow the juices to redistribute themselves, giving tastier meat. Brush the turkey with any remaining glaze just before serving.

Orange & Thyme Roast Potatoes

Serves 8

Roast potatoes from Clodagh McKenna's Christmas recipes

(Image credit: Chris Terry)

Ingredients:

  • 1.8kg potatoes (Maris Piper or King Edward), peeled
  • 2 oranges
  • 3 tbsp goose fat
  • 3 tbsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Cut the potatoes in half or in quarters if they are very big – they should all be similar in size. Put them into a saucepan of cold salted water, bring to the boil and cook for eight minutes. Drain.

2. Peel nice long strips from the two oranges, using a vegetable peeler.

3. Place the goose fat in a roasting tin over a hot hob. When the goose fat is hot, stir in the orange peel, thyme leaves and the cloves of garlic.

4. Next add the potatoes and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Toss in the fat and cook in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. While the potatoes are roasting, baste in the goose fat every 10 minutes.

Brussels Sprout and Cabbage Slaw

Serves 6

Brussels Sprout and Cabbage Slaw from Clodagh McKenna's Christmas recipes

(Image credit: Chris Terry)

Ingredients:

  • 200g Brussels sprouts
  • 1⁄2 small red cabbage
  • 100g cavolo nero
  • 2 clementines, segmented and roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 100ml crème fraîche
  • 100ml mayonnaise
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate seeds
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds

Method:

1. Thinly slice the Brussels sprouts and red cabbage and combine in a large bowl. Cut the thick stems off the cavolo nero, shred the leaves and add to the bowl.

2. Add the chopped clementine segments, chili flakes, chopped parsley and chopped mint and mix. Add the crème fraîche and mayonnaise, mix well and season to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl and scatter over the pomegranate seeds and pumpkin seeds.

Hazelnut and Butternut Star

Serves 6

Hazelnut and butter star from Clodagh McKenna's Christmas recipes

(Image credit: Chris Terry)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 500g ready-made shortcrust pastry
  • 1 tbsp sage, roughly chopped100g ricotta
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 50g hazelnuts, lightly toasted
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate seeds

Method:

1. To make this wonderful starter, preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Peel the squash and remove the seeds. Cut the flesh into 2cm chunks. Place in a roasting tin, drizzle over the olive oil, season and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until just cooked. Leave to cool.

2. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to 4-5mm thick. Cut out the shape of a five-point star and place on a lined baking sheet. Prick the star all over using a fork.

3. Using the excess pastry, cut out shapes using a 2cm fluted cutter. Brush the edge of the star with a little water and arrange the pastry shapes in overlapping lines around the edge of the star to form a border. Chill for 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, place half of the roasted butternut squash in a mixing bowl and mash with a fork. Add the sage and ricotta and gently mix. Season to taste.

5. Spread the squash and ricotta mix over the star, keeping it inside the border. Dot the remaining pieces of squash all over the mix. Brush the border with the beaten egg and sprinkle the hazelnuts over the pastry.

6. Place a baking tray in the oven to heat up. Slide the star and baking paper onto the hot baking tray and bake for 30 minutes until the pastry is golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Garnish with pomegranate seeds.

Marsala and Star Anise Poached Pears

Serves 4

Marsala and Star Anise Poached Pears from Clodagh McKenna's Christmas recipes

(Image credit: Chris Terry)

Ingredients:

  • 250ml dry Marsala wine
  • 100g sugar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 pears, peeled with the stem still attached
  • 200ml mascarpone, to serve

Method:

1. Place the Marsala wine, sugar, honey, star anise, cloves, cinnamon and lemon juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and place the pears in the pan, standing upright. Cover the pan and cook for 15 minutes.

2. Baste the pears with the liquid a couple of times during the cooking, until the pears can easily be pierced with a fork.

3. Scoop the pears onto serving dishes, pour the syrup on top and serve with a dollop of mascarpone.

Her latest book, Clodagh’s Weeknight Kitchen, is a bible for Monday to Friday cooking. Packed full of Clodagh’s favorite go-to dishes to will shake up and refresh your weeknight meals, it can help you elevate the simple into something special every night of the week. It is available in the UK and Ireland now, and in Canada and the USA early in 2021.

Beautiful and carefully selected products for living by Clodagh McKenna are featured in this shoot and available on her website.

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