How to triumph with your trimmings

Sainsbury’s Fresh Produce expert Simon Hinks offers his top tips for success with your sides and trimmings this Christmas.

What can I add to green beans to spruce them up a bit?

“Lightly boiled or steamed green beans are delicious with a generous sprinkle of sea salt. But if you want to add a bit more flavour with minimal effort, try stirring in some freshly grated ginger or sprinkling over some chilli flakes.”

How many different veg dishes should I aim to serve at the Christmas lunch?

“It’s so easy to go overboard with the number of dishes you serve at the Christmas lunch. A bit of variety is great, but it’s better to do a smaller number of dishes really well. To keep it simple, I would suggest going for one boiled dish (such as simple green beans), one steamed dish (on top of the boiling pan) and one roasting in the oven (such as roast potatoes).”

Can I cook the parsnips and roast potatoes in the same pan?

“You certainly can! Parsnips brown quicker due to their higher sugar content so you’ll need to give the potatoes a 20-minute head start. To add extra deliciousness to the parsnips, drizzle them in honey before adding them to the potato pan.”

What sauce/s should I serve with roast beef?

“A simple hot horseradish sauce or a punchy English mustard are both delicious accompaniments to the deep savoury flavours of beef. For a really flavoursome gravy, slowly fry some onion and garlic in butter, add some sliced mushrooms, then some stock and a generous splash of red wine, season, bring to the boil and let it reduce down for a few minutes before serving.”

What can I do with leftover red cabbage?

“Red cabbage freezes really well if you fancy setting some aside for a rainy day Sunday side dish. Alternatively, red cabbage makes a delicious sandwich filling with a slice of Brie. For a warming winter dish, add red cabbage to stews and casseroles alongside any leftover turkey. And, of course, there’s always bubble and squeak – simply fry some onion in butter, add your leftover veg (including cabbage), followed by mashed potato or crushed roast potatoes. Flip it over to brown both sides and serve.”

Can you suggest a simple way to make the sprouts more appealing to the kids?

“If they’re not cooked right, Brussels sprouts can be the least appealing Christmas lunch dish for kids and grown-ups alike– but there’s plenty you can do to make them delicious. Try adding pancetta for a welcome salty kick, and add roughly chopped hazelnuts at the end for some crunch. For the full recipe, see Brussels sprouts with pancetta & hazelnuts.”

What’s a good vegetarian fat to cook roast potatoes in?

“Sunflower oil is the best vegetarian oil for roasting your potatoes in.”

See more: