With the Christmas countdown now on, we’re all craving the nostalgic flavours that come with classic festive dishes. These are the best seasonal ingredients to eat this December.
The UK’s best December produce includes a whole host of wonderful, festive ingredients. From Brussels sprouts and parsnips to British apples and tangy cranberries, it’s the time for cooking comforting stews, warming soups and a whole host of Christmas classics.
Here are our favourite recipes that celebrate December’s seasonal produce.
Seasonal vegetable recipes for December
Love them or hate them, they’re a staple at the Christmas dinner table! We’ve got loads of gorgeous Brussels sprouts recipes, sure to convert even the biggest sprout-sceptics. Our crispy squashed sprouts with chorizo and chestnuts are a thing of beauty; but this Middle Eastern-inspired dish is an all-year-round winner, served with a creamy Greek yoghurt and tahini dressing.
MORE: Brussels sprouts recipes
Parsnips are available throughout the year in the UK, but autumn and winter is when this veg really comes into its own. The combination of sweet parsnips and salty pancetta is a match made in heaven in this beautiful tagliatelle dish, and our spiced parsnip soup recipe is punchy yet comforting – a great winter warmer. If you’re looking for perfect simplicity, these classic roasted parsnips with bay and honey are a must as a side for your Christmas dinner.
MORE: Parsnip recipes
Served as a hot side dish or cold in a creamy homemade slaw, red cabbage is one of the best winter veggies out there – it’s budget-friendly, comforting, and downright delicious. Our classic red cabbage recipe with crispy bacon, sweet apple and fennel is also a brilliant wintry accompaniment to roast meats over the festive season. Plus, it also works beautifully with fish tacos and lamb koftas, adding a lovely extra layer of texture and flavour.
With leeks coming into season in November, midwinter is the perfect time of year to stock up on a lovely big batch of our gorgeous leek and potato soup – one of the best freezer-friendly dishes and healthy, too! Our sweet leek carbonara is another knock-out dish that can use up leftover leeks in your fridge, or Jamie’s cheesy leeks à la Oliver will blow your mind as an alternative to cauliflower cheese with a Sunday roast.
MORE: Healthy soup recipes
Seasonal fruit recipes for December
Apples are a staple autumn and winter fruit in the UK. Bake them into classic desserts like our apple crumble or add to savoury dishes like this sausage and apple bake for a lovely burst of sweetness. But it’s this recipe from Jamie’s new cookbook, ONE, that’s taken social media by storm: one-pan toffee apple buns with vanilla and cinnamon – a seriously delicious pud with minimal washing up!
The traditional Christmas cranberry deserves so much more than to be made into a simple sauce for The Big Day! Jamie’s cranberry & chilli jam makes a wonderful gift and goes so well with leftover cold meats or cheese, while these cranberry & white chocolate cookies are a great kid-friendly bake for the school holidays.
Pears, booze and chocolate – a dreamy combination! In just 10 minutes and with 5 ingredients, you’ve got yourself a gorgeous dinner party dessert… although this pear tart tatin is also worth the extra effort. Fancy something more savoury? Cook your pears down and pair with a tangy blue cheese to make a knock-out dish such as our indulgent Stilton & pear gnocchi.
MORE: Easy pear recipes
Still hungry? Visit our Christmas Hub for all the cooking inspiration you need this festive season