Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for green chilli con carne, spicy potatoes and leftover Christmas loaf (2024)

If Christmas were a one-day affair, perhaps it wouldn’t stir up such a commotion, but, as we all know, it starts somewhere in early November, when the ‘holiday spirit’ is foisted on us from every screen, shop window and side of a bus, so it’s difficult to ignore. The best way to deal with all of this pressure, I find – at least in the kitchen department – is to plan ahead and make sure that what you feed your family and friends before and after the big day is as soothing as can be. My criteria are simple: make it warm, make it hearty and make sure the kids will eat it, too.

Green chilli con carne with warm cornbread

Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for green chilli con carne, spicy potatoes and leftover Christmas loaf (1)

This chilli is simply a matter of getting everything into the pot and leaving it to do its thing while you make the cornbread, which itself involves only a quick blitz and a bake. Christmas Eve dinners such as this are my go-to, because they’re warming and special, but don’t require a lot of time hovering over a stove. Feel free to halve (or eliminate) the number of jalapeños for a kid-friendly version.

Prep 30 min
Cook 1 hr 35 min
Serves 6

For the chilli
3 jalapeños, roughly chopped – if you prefer less heat, remove the pith and seeds
2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
1½ tbsp oregano leaves
6 spring onions, roughly chopped
30g coriander, plus 3 tbsp leaves, finely chopped, to serve
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tbsp honey
60ml olive oil
75g pancetta, cubed
1kg diced pork shoulder, patted dry
1 lime, halved
500ml chicken stock

For the cornbread
300g frozen corn kernels, defrosted
2 eggs
200g quick-cook polenta
50g runny honey
150g Greek-style yoghurt
80g unsalted butter, melted
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 spring onion, roughly chopped
1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda

For the chilli, put the first eight ingredients in a food processor, blitz until finely chopped, then transfer four tablespoons of the mixture to a small bowl.

Put two tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan on a medium-high heat and, once hot, fry the pancetta for a minute or two, until it starts to brown. Add the diced pork and fry, stirring once or twice, for six minutes, until lightly browned all over. Add the blitzed ingredients and a teaspoon and a half of salt, and fry for eight minutes more, stirring every now and then. Add the two lime halves, stock and 150ml water, bring to a simmer, then turn the heat to medium-low, cover and leave to simmer for 70 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the cornbread. Heat the oven to 190C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6, and grease and line a 22cm cake tin. Put all the cornbread ingredients and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt in a blender or food processor, and blitz until everything is well combined. Pour the mix into the prepared tin and bake for 25 minutes, then turn down the heat to 170C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4 and bake for six minutes more.

Add the last two tablespoons of oil to the reserved jalapeño and onion mixture and stir into the chilli with the chopped coriander, then serve direct from the pan with the warm cornbread alongside.

Spicy potatoes with tahini and soy

Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for green chilli con carne, spicy potatoes and leftover Christmas loaf (2)

This is a quick alternative side dish for Christmas day. You’ll be left with a bit more tahini sauce than you need, but the excess is great drizzled over noodles or as a dipping sauce for tofu or chicken skewers. If you use regular harissa instead of rose harissa, halve the amount and add an extra tablespoon of oil.

Prep 15 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4 as a side

800g roasting potatoes, skin left on, cut into 2½-3cm squares
50g rose harissa
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1½ tbsp chives, finely chopped
1½ tsp black or white sesame seeds (and ideally a mixture of both), toasted

For the tahini sauce
60g tahini (mixed very well, to combine the solids and fat)
2 tbsp soy sauce
1½ tbsp mirin
1½ tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp water

Heat the oven to its highest setting, or 240C fan. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, harissa, garlic and oil with three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of pepper. Transfer to a large oven tray lined with greaseproof paper, and spread out as much as possible. Cover tightly with foil, roast for 15 minutes, then remove the foil, turn down the heat to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7 and roast for 20 minutes more, stirring once halfway through, until the potatoes are cooked and nicely browned. Meanwhile, whisk all the sauce ingredients until smooth.

Transfer the potatoes to a shallow serving bowl and drizzle over four tablespoons of the sauce. Finish with the chives and sesame seeds, and serve with extra sauce alongside.

Leftover Christmas loaf with onion gravy

Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for green chilli con carne, spicy potatoes and leftover Christmas loaf (3)

I was very sceptical about throwing all the components of the Christmas meal into a loaf, but my test kitchen colleague Noor Murad has way more imagination than I do, and I’d now happily pay to eat this any day of the year. Use up whatever leftovers you have to hand, but if you want to make this from scratch, 500g potatoes, 300g carrots and 300g sprouts roasted with some olive oil and seasoning should give you more than enough.

Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr 15 min
Set 30 min-plus
Serves 4-6

500g leftover cooked vegetables (potatoes, carrots, sprouts, etc)
200g cooked turkey breast or thigh, chopped into roughly 2cm pieces
220g raw pork sausagemeat
20g parsley, roughly chopped, plus 1 tbsp extra chopped, to serve
1 tbsp thyme leaves, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
100g mature cheddar,roughly grated
2 large eggs
50g dried breadcrumbs
⅛ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tbsp yellow mustard
Salt and black pepper
3½ tbsp olive oil

For the gravy (optional)
40g unsalted butter
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced (200g net weight)
2¼ tbsp plain flour
5 thyme sprigs
750ml chicken or turkey stock
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Heat the oven to 220C (200C fan)/425F/gas 7. Line a standard 20cm x 10cm x 7cm deep loaf tin with a piece of greaseproof paper large enough to cover the base and sides.

Put the vegetables in a large bowl, and use your hands to crush them into a chunky mash. Add all the other ingredients bar the oil, add three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt (or to taste) and plenty of pepper, and mix to combine (again, your hands are the best tool for the job). Transfer to the lined loaf tin, press down to compress, then drizzle over a tablespoon of the oil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden and cooked through, then leave to cool for at least 30 minutes before unmoulding (or refrigerating): the longer you leave it, the easier it will be to cut.

If you’re making the gravy, put the butter in a medium saucepan on a medium-high heat. Once melted, add the onion and saute for eight minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and softened. Stir in the flour and thyme, then add the stock, Worcestershire sauce, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and a generous amount of black pepper, and bring up to a simmer. Turn down the heat to medium and leave to simmer for 20 minutes, until thickened slightly. Discard the thyme sprigs and keep the gravy warm until you’re ready to serve.

With a serrated knife, carefully slice the loaf into 10 2cm-thick slices. Put a tablespoon of oil in a nonstick frying pan and, once hot, fry the slices in three batches for about two to three minutes each, carefully flipping the slices halfway, until golden on both sides. Transfer to a tray and repeat with the remaining loaf slices and oil.

Pour half the gravy on to an long platter with a slight lip. Lay the seared loaf slices along its length, overlapping them slightly, sprinkle with the extra parsley and serve with the remaining gravy.

Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes for green chilli con carne, spicy potatoes and leftover Christmas loaf (2024)
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