This weekend offered the luxury of few plans and plenty of cooking time, so I decided to start my morning by getting ahead with tomorrow's dinner. Claire Macdonald's lamb and chorizo chill is an old favourite, appearing on our 2015 list of 22 family meals on rotation. It's super versatile; special enough to be served up for friends and family, heartily fitting for fireworks and halloween parties and has been prepared for quiet family dinners many times.
Claire Macdonald's chilli features in the autumn section of her 'Simply Seasonal' book. While we are a little out of kilter season wise, the weekend weather forecast is a mix of rain, gusty winds and snow-like showers, so a comforting bowl of chilli is just perfect.
This recipe is still delicious if whipped up, cooked and eaten the same day, but it tastes even better if cooked to the cooling stage and then refrigerated overnight and finished the next day. This was this morning's task.
Once the chilli was in the oven, I started to prepare this evening's wild mushroom, port and thyme turkey wellington. Again, out of season, (this recipe featured in the Christmas 2019 edition of BBC Good Food Magazine). I'd bought a 1.7 kg turkey breast to make this dish for friends over the Christmas holidays but they sadly had to cancel due to poor health. The turkey breast went into the freezer and I've been waiting for an opportunity to dig it back out ever since.
While I had plenty of time to leisurely work through the different stages of this recipe, it does require a level of effort that left me happy to reach for a pack of ready rolled puff pastry. I misjudged what was required pastry wise in relation to the size of my turkey breast and the sheet was too small for the meat. Attempts to roll this out to the right size were futile, so I had to improvise with the pastry encasing and there certainly weren't any trimmings for decoration. It was chilling in the fridge by lunchtime and the mushroom liquor in a pan ready to create gravy later.
The end result was big on taste, but also much bigger than anticipated on the serving plate. After seconds (always a good sign) there was still enough leftover to feed a family of four so I'll be tweaking next week's meal plan and serving up leftovers on Monday.
It's worth noting that the rich, glossy gravy is standout; you'll only need simply prepared vegetables as an accompaniment.
An ideal seasonal dinner party main for meat eaters, this recipe will leave friends and family feeling special. With the added benefit of being able to assemble it up to two days in advance, it's a great option that will take the pressure of entertaining while still delivering impressive results.