Irish chef Mark Moriarty’s top tips for cooking Christmas dinner

Irish chef Mark Moriarty’s top tips for cooking Christmas dinner

Chef Mark Moriarty offers a recipe for the perfect Christmas dinner: keep it simple and stress-free.

Mark is a TV star, former International Young Chef of the Year, author and part of the Michelin-starred team at the Greenhouse restaurant on Dawson Street in Dublin.



The young chef has had a busy year, winning Cookbook of the Year for his recipes in Flavour: Everyday Food Made Exceptional.

He’s looking forward to a break this Christmas. “I’m lucky enough not to work in the restaurant this year, so I have some time to relax and be with family and friends,” he said.

Mark, 31, will spend Christmas Day with his wife, Green Quinn, and her family. Of course he’s on dinner duty.

Mark will do all the cooking on Christmas Day

“There are eight of us on Christmas Day. I’ll be cooking, but I’ll be prepared. Christmas doesn’t have to be complicated. You can do a lot the night before. And I’m not afraid to use the microwave, either.”

Mark says it’s important to take inventory leading up to Christmas.

Make sure you have enough foil to cover the baking sheets, he said. There’s nothing worse than having a mountain of pots and pans waiting for you after dinner.

“I use these little foil trays, put them in the oven, serve the food and throw them in the recycling bin.”

You can prepare side dishes the day before. “I suggest people choose a potato casserole and two sides,” Mark said. “I always make roast potatoes ahead of time.

“I use polenta. I steam it, then add a little bit of the polenta on the outside.

Prepare them in advance, then put them in some hot oil on Christmas Day. “They make the most beautiful, crunchy baked potatoes you can ever imagine,” Mark said.

After meeting friends on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day always starts out cheerfully for Mark.

“We won’t have Christmas dinner until the evening, so it’s nice to have something delicious and filling,” he said.

Mark uses a large non-stick skillet to keep washing to a minimum. For best results, he says: Fry the sausages first, and when they turn brown, add the steaks and cook for two minutes before adding the tomatoes and black and white pudding. The eggs come last.

Mark cooks a traditional breakfast on Christmas morning(Image: RTE)

Christmas dinner starts with something light, like smoked salmon.

Mark isn’t a big fan of turkey personally, but he cooks it out of respect for tradition. “I don’t cook the whole turkey, just the crown, which is the best part,” he said.

“To make it less dry, salt it. Dissolve about 100 grams of salt in a liter of water and put the crown or turkey in it for an hour, before taking it out and cooking it.

“It tastes great, delicious and moist.”

Although turkey tastes delicious once cooked, Mark goes straight for the ham. He said: I like pork but I don’t boil it. I grill it instead.

The pork is cooked in the oven for three hours. He said: Take it out so it can sit for ten minutes, then carefully remove the skin and leave the fat on the pork.

“This is the part you garnish with honey, brown sugar and soy sauce. It can be made in a small bowl before, with a little cornflower, before spreading it on the pork. Some orange zest and thyme make it absolutely sumptuous. Let the pork sit before serving.”

For the sprouts, Mark suggests steaming them and adding some sugar and salt to make them less bitter.

For dessert, Mark prefers sticky pudding. The overnight sticky toffee pudding is a dream and can also be made in advance, the M&S brand ambassador said.

Mark uses dates, muscovado sugar, two eggs, raisins, and lots of butter to make the pudding. The sauce consists of cream, butter and fine sugar.

It is recommended to combine red wine with the meal, but not too much. a lot. “I really like Baileys with snow on Christmas Day after dinner. It’s very festive,” he said.

For leftovers, it’s a good sandwich. Chop the remaining meat, mix it in a bowl with mayonnaise, and add some pickled cucumbers to it.

However, he will have to pack his bags this year, because the next day he will return home to the Kingdom..

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Mark is originally from Kerry and started cooking during his summer holidays when he was 15 years old at the Chart House Restaurant in Dingle, Co Kerry.


For more recipes from Mark, check out his award-winning book: Flavor: Everyday Food Made Extraordinary.

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