Vegetables and sides

From classic Yorkshire puddings to Ken Hom's stir-fried vegetables, there's plenty of ideas here to go with your main course.

Stuffed roasted peppers
Yorkshire puddings
Chestnut and mushroom stuffing
Stir-fried mixed vegetables by Ken Hom
Roasted Provençal vegetables by Michael Caines
Minted new potatoes by Michael Caines

Stuffed roasted peppers

Roasted peppers

Ingredients

4 large red peppers (One pepper serves two people as a first course)
500 g cherry tomatoes, or you can use large tomatoes and cut them into quarters
2 garlic cloves (optional)
1 tin anchovy fillets (optional)

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees (fan) or Gas mark 5.
2. Cut the peppers lengthways through the green stalk (this will keep them whole during cooking). Carefully cut out any white membrane and seeds without cutting through the pepper. Cut the cherry tomatoes in half or just pierce each one if they are very small. Chop the garlic finely.
3. Use a shallow ovenproof dish that will hold all the pepper halves in one layer. Lay the peppers cut side up and season each one with a little black pepper. Divide the chopped garlic between the peppers and spread on the base of the pepper. Lay one anchovy fillet with the garlic. Fill each pepper half completely with the tomatoes. Drape another one or two anchovy fillets over the top of each pepper and use the oil from the anchovies to drizzle over each one. If you aren’t using anchovies then just use a dessertspoon full of olive oil or a knob of butter on each, with a sprinkling of salt.
4. Pop into the pre-heated oven for approximately 45 minutes until the peppers are nice and soft and the edges are a little blackened and crispy.  
5. Remove the peppers and serve warm with some lovely bread to mop up all the juices.

Yorkshire puddings

There are two simple tricks to making light, fluffy yet crispy Yorkshire puddings. First of all, let the batter sit for at least half an hour, and get the pan as hot as possible.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

225 g plain flour
4 eggs
300 ml milk (whole milk is tastiest)
1 teaspoon salt
Roast drippings (or you can use vegetable or sunflower oil)

Method

1. Sift flour and salt in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the eggs, half the milk and whisk.
2. Continue to add the rest of the milk, pouring slowly. Continue to whisk until you have the consistency of single cream.
3. Add a quick splash of hot water. Put the batter to rest in the fridge while you prepare the rest of your roast.
4. Place the Yorkshire pudding tray in the oven when you put in the meat, so it can get good and hot.
5. About half an hour before you're ready to serve, add some roast dripping to each hollow in the Yorkshire pudding tray.
6. Pour in your batter to just below the top of each hollow.
7. Place the tray back in the oven while everything finishes roasting. The Yorkshires will rise up, crispy and soft. Be careful not to open the oven door or they will collapse!
8. Serve your roast, with a dribble of gravy in the hearts of your Yorkshires.

Some Yorkshires I made earlier....

Yorkshire puddings are essential to a Great British Sunday Lunch. But, if you can't face waiting for your Yorkshires to rise on the day, why not pre-make and freeze them? Use our special Yorkshire pudding recipe, or your own, and allow the Yorkshires to cool on a wire rack.
Once cooled, put them in a container or freezer bag and pop them straight into the freezer, where they'll keep for up to a month. To re-heat, simply put the puddings on a baking sheet and cook for eight minutes, until hot and crisp.

Chestnut and mushroom stuffing

Chestnut and mushroom stuffing is often found on Christmas dinner tables as it goes well with turkey. But, this tasty alternative to more starchy stuffing is a rich addition to any poultry roast.

Prep time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

30 g wild mushrooms (porcini work well, or you could mix up different types)
270 g ciabatta
25 g butter, and extra for greasing
1 tbsp olive oil
200 g shallots
3 cloves crushed garlic
25 g chopped herbs (try parsley, thyme, sage, rosemary – or you could match your herb to your joint of meat)
300 g cooked and peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
60 g good quality Italian hard cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
230 g pancetta, diced (optional)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Soften the mushrooms in 350 ml boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and chop into smaller pieces. Keep the water to one side.
2. Tear the ciabatta into small pieces and soak in a bowl with the mushroom liquid until the bread has softened and absorbed the flavour, for about five minutes.
3. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a sauté pan and add the pancetta (if using). Cook until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes, then transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel.
4. In the same pan, saute the shallots and garlic in the remaining butter and oil until soft and fragrant. Stir in the herbs, chestnuts, cheese, egg and pancetta until combined.
5. Season well then tip into a greased ovenproof dish. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes until the stuffing is heated through and golden on top.

Top tip

Throw in some pancetta if you want added texture and saltiness.

Stir-fried mixed vegetables by Ken Hom

Serves 4

Ingredients

225 g (8oz) Chinese leaves
225 g (8oz) Chinese greens, such as Chinese flowering cabbage or pak choy, or spinach
225 g (8oz) asparagus
225 g (8oz) carrots
1½ tbsp ground nut oil
2 tbsp coarsely chopped shallots
2 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
2 tsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
2 tsp sesame oil salt

Method

Step one:
Cut the Chinese leaves into 4cm (1½in) strips then cut the greens and asparagus into 4cm (1½in) pieces. Cut the carrots on the diagonal into slices 5mm (¼in) thick.

Step two:
Heat a wok over a high heat. Add the ground nut oil and, when it is very hot and slightly smoking, add the shallots, garlic, ginger and 2 teaspoons of salt and stir-fry for 1 minute. Then add the carrots and asparagus and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add 1–2 tablespoons of water, cover and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes.

Step three:
Add the Chinese leaves and greens, together with the sugar and rice wine or sherry. Stir-fry for 3 minutes or until the greens are thoroughly wilted. Then add the sesame oil and serve at once.

Ken's tips for perfect stir-fried vegetables

The art of stir-frying vegetables is knowing when to add them to the wok. Put the tougher, more textured ones in the wok first to give them a head start. The amount of water you need to add depends on how much natural water is in the vegetables you are using. Ensure you add only the minimum amount (no more than 1–2 tablespoons) if you are using the wok covered, otherwise the vegetables become soggy.

Roasted Provençal vegetables by Michael Caines

Ingredients

2 courgettes, cut into a large dice (2cm sq)
1 red, 1 yellow and 1 green pepper, cut into a large dice
2 red onions, cut into a dice
1 large aubergine, cut into a large dice
200 g cherry tomatoes on the vine, cut in half length ways
2 heads of garlic, separated into cloves and peeled (optional to peel)
150 ml extra virgin olive oil
60 ml balsamic vinegar
Few sprigs of fresh thyme
Chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper

Method

1. Place the cut vegetables into a large roasting tray with the thyme and dribble with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2. Place into the oven approximately 30 minutes before the chicken is cooked and roast.
3. Once cooked remove from the oven and add the chopped basil and balsamic vinegar and stir in gently.

Minted new potatoes by Michael Caines

Ingredients

600 g new potatoes
100 g unsalted butter
2 litres water to cover
1 tsp chicken bouillon
2 heads of garlic, cut in half
2 large bay leaves
1 large sprig of mint
1 sprig of thyme
50 g chopped fresh mint
40 g salt
Salt and pepper to season

Method

Scrub the new potatoes well with a brush and wash well. Place into a saucepan and cover with the water, add the chicken bouillon, salt, thyme, mint, bay leaves and garlic and bring to the boil.
Once cooked, strain from the water and put back into the sauce pan, add the chopped mint leafs and butter and season with salt and pepper serve into a large bowl.

Cooking tips – vegetables

Vegetables are just as important to a Great British Sunday Lunch as a big joint of beef. Make sure yours stand out with these simple tips.

1. Serve a selection of vegetables grown above the ground and root vegetables. You can save yourself time by preparing them the night before.
2. Once chopped up put them in pans of water to keep them fresh. Above the ground vegetables generally take less time to cook, as they tenderise quickly. Asparagus, mangetout and green beans all cook quickly, saving you time, but chopping up more traditional vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower will shorten the cooking time.
3. Add flavour to staple vegetables to bring them to life. A bit of mint in your peas works wonders. Cooking carrots in orange juice and butter makes their flavour come alive. And grating Parmesan over parsnips before roasting will bring out their sweetness. The tastier your vegetables are, the less you'll have to re-use as leftovers for the rest of the week!