Miguel Maestre's secret ingredient for Christmas dinner

When it comes to Christmas dinner, Miguel Maestre says mushrooms are sure to please. Photo: supplied.

When it comes to Christmas dinner, Miguel Maestre says mushrooms are sure to please. Photo: supplied.

Left Christmas dinner to the last minute and, even though the pressure to impress is building, you’re lost as to where to begin? 

What’s more, do you struggle to cook the perfect turkey at the best of times? Or are you still tossing up whether or not to have a very Australian barbecue instead?

Well, according to celebrity chef Miguel Maestre the secret to the perfect festive feast is not in the choice of meat.

The Australian-Spanish chef says the secret ingredient to a perfect Christmas meal is mushrooms. 

Aside from being the perfect addition to any barbecue – whether in a salad or grilled on skewers – he said the ingredient fits perfectly with a traditional Christmas meal as well. 

Maestre said the high water content in the mushrooms means the turkey – a meat which easily dries out – stays succulent throughout the cooking process. 

“So what I do is in the food processor I get a massive amount of mushrooms, with a bit of thyme, garlic and a little bit of butter and what I do with my massive turkey is separate the skin a little bit from the breast, and then fill that up with the mushrooms and butter,” he said. 

“And then for the stuffing I get chorizo, chickpeas and mushrooms.”

According to Miguel Maestre, there's nothing more Australian than a summer BBQ with your mates.Photo: supplied.

According to Miguel Maestre, there's nothing more Australian than a summer BBQ with your mates.Photo: supplied.

The result? A “beautiful, black caramelised” turkey, which is sure to wow even the pickiest of in-laws. 

“When you cut the slice, you can see how succulent and moist the turkey is because of the mushrooms both on the outside and on the inside,” Maestre said. 

It sounds easy coming from a chef; of course he’s going to get the perfect turkey every time. 

But the truth is, Christmases in the Maestre household do not simply feature food from the man himself. 

The Australian Mushrooms ambassador said it’s all about the interactive dinner for him. 

“It’s a great way to get everyone involved,” Maestre said. 

“Instead of it being me being the only one cooking while everyone else is having a great time – which I’m sure happens in everyone’s household – I’ll prepare everything and then everyone helps out. 

“So if I’m doing skewers for example, I’ll prepare them with the mushroom and chorizo, and then when you get there, everyone cooks their own. 

“It’s almost like the food becomes the entertainment.”

Miguel’s Salad of Champignons

Miguel’s Salad of Champignons for Australian Mushrooms. Photo: supplied.

Miguel’s Salad of Champignons for Australian Mushrooms. Photo: supplied.

INGREDIENTS

Portabella Mushrooms are great for grilling on the barbecue. Photo: supplied.

Portabella Mushrooms are great for grilling on the barbecue. Photo: supplied.

  • 5 large Portabella Mushrooms
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 head baby cos, washed, quartered on ice
  • 5 slices Serrano Ham
  • 50g haloumi diced, grilled
  • 2 soft boiled eggs (6 minutes) cut in quarters
  • 5 crispy croutons
  • Handful shaved parmesan

DRESSING

  • 200ml Light Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 anchovy finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 splash Worcestershire sauce, salt & pepper
  • ½ bunch chives finely chopped

DIRECTIONS

  1. Rub Mushrooms with olive oil, salt, pepper and rosemary.
  2. Place Mushrooms on barbecue and grill both sides. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cut lettuce in quarters, wash and refresh with iced water. Set on paper towel to dry.
  4. Place the Serrano ham between two pieces of baking paper. Lay this between two roasting trays and place on the BBQ for 8 minutes. Remove and dry on paper towel.
  5. To make the dressing put all dressing ingredients into a blender and mix until combined.
  6. To plate the salad – submerge each lettuce quarter briefly into a jar filled with the dressing, allow to drip, so they are not totally soaked. Add haloumi, soft boiled eggs, croutons, parmesan, crispy Serrano ham and grilled mushrooms

Video: Australian Mushrooms.

Video: Australian Mushrooms.

Miguel's top Mushie tips

  • Mushrooms are a natural seasoning, which means you don’t need to add lots of salt when you cook with them
  • Cooked mushrooms have a meaty, umami-rich quality that makes any dish taste like it has been simmering for hours.
  • Boost your mincemeat with extra flavour and nutrition by adding some blended mushrooms.