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The English Christmas Roast

Of course we all have seen in different films what’s on the Christmas table in England and also Mr Bean had an unlucky case with a turkey on his head when he was preparing Christmas dinner for his girlfriend. So yes probably I too would say that turkey is the Christmas dinner with all the vegetables and roast potatoes. To my biggest surprise Bill put down something else on the shopping list when we spent Christmas in Budapest for the first time. And it was lamb.

Lamb?, I asked.

Yes, lamb, he said with a poker face.

Alright… well, lamb is quite popular in Hungary… some prefer having something else than fish on Christmas Eve these days…

So here is my shopping list aka the

INGREDIENTS (serves 2)
1kg leg of lamb
2 potatoes
2 parsinps
2 leeks
1 carrot
brussel sprouts
knob of butter
ground nutmeg
ground white pepper
1 tbsp flour
mint sauce (available at Tesco)
gravy (available at Tesco)
goose fat
olive oil

Smear a big piece of foil with the olive oil and sprinkle it with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary. Wrap the leg of lamb in the foil and put it in the oven at 180C fan for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes set the oven to 160C and roast it for 2-3 hours.

Whilst the lamb is in the oven, prepare the leek sauce. Chop the leeks and cook them in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain them and squash the water out of the leeks with your hands.

Melt a knob of butter in a pot, add the flour and whisk it immediately. Leave the flour to fry for a moment and then add some milk whilst whisking the sauce rigorously. Season the sauce (salt, white pepper, nutmeg) and add the leeks. Let it cook for a minute or two and then set it aside, it is ready.

Now prepare the vegetables. Peel the potatoes, parsnips and carrot. Cut the potatoes in big wedges and pre-cook them in salted water. Once a fork goes in the potatoes easily, they are done. Drain the potatoes and leave them to cool.

Chop the carrot and cut the parsnips in longish pieces.

45 minutes before the lamb is ready put goose fat in a pan and put the pre-cooked potatoes and parsnips in it. Cover them with goose fat and put them to the oven to roast.

20 minutes before everything is ready, steam all the vegetables: carrot, peas, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower.

Once the lamb is ready, remove it from the oven and leave it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. This is the time when you can reheat anything that needs reheating because just like every element of the Full English breakfast, all the elements of the Christmas dinner have to be hot as well.

Slice the lamb in thin slices and serve it with the vegetables, potatoes and the leek sauce. As a final step, prepare the gravy which can be home made. We usually use granules which only needs hot water and good stirring. Pour the gravy on the plate and there you go: your Christmas dinner is ready.

There are different dishes for Christmas in England. What goes on the Christmas table depends on the taste of the family. The above dish is what we had and I must say, there were things that were unknown to me such as the leek sauce, the mint sauce o the roasted parsnip which I could not believe could be tasty and since I tried it, I could kill for it.

I do like the English Christmas roast dinner whether it is turkey, beef or lamb and what makes it attractive for me is that it is served with lots of vegetables. If you fancy something else for Christmas, give it a whirl. You will love it.




PS: Why do the English wear paper crowns during Christmas dinner? This tradition originates in wassailing, where the King and Queen lead the march from house to house. They wore crowns during this custom. Read more about wassailing here.



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