In the words of Bono, Geldof and Ure, (there may have been others) – “It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid”.
There are plenty of things to be afraid of at Christmas time. Here are a few that spring to mind:
1. Running out of Port.
2. Gas leaks.
3. “Christmas Kevin”.
4. The thought that your unholy creation may kill you.
5. Your TV being stuck to the one channel of Christmas Day evening, and that channel being the channel with the Mrs Browns Boys on it.
For reasons of brevity, I shall not concentrate on points 1,2,3 (especially 3) or 5 for the remainder of this festive tale.
A couple of weeks ago, when it had dawned upon me that I was unlikely to see friends and family over the holiday season, as well as the sadness that this inherently brings, it occurred to me that I had an opportunity! Turn that pandemic upside-down and turn it into an opperchancity, said I! Loudly! To no-one. The neighbours shouted back. The neighbours dog did a whine.
You see, I was this year the maker of my own Christmas destiny. In normal times, I travel 200 miles south to visit my family, where the dinner generally consists of a Capon. Now, I gather for many of you reading this, you’ll have not heard of Capon before. Luckily, the definition of Capon from Google is thus:
Despite the unfortunately worded definition from those Oxford dons, it’s a delight!
This Christmas, the Capon is 200 miles away. Time for something else. Now, originally, my thought was to get one of those fancy three bird roasts from the freezer bit in Lidl or Aldi – generally Turkey, Duck and Chicken with a sage and pork stuffing, something like that. However, I then had another thought, and it was this thought: “No”.
Remembering back to the time in the summer when I had the Aldi King Chicken Kebab, which was very nice I might add, I thought I’d give it a go myself. How difficult can it be? Get chicken, season it a bit, put on stick, cook.
Then I remembered the three bird roast idea, and had another idea. What, I pondered, if instead of having three birds, I have one birds and one sheeps instead? That could work, I said aloud. The neighbours were having none of it. “You’re a renegade”, one shouted. “I think my filling’s come loose”, said another.
This was the genesis of the Mixed Kebab Roast. In essence, it would mean I get to eat what I normally like to eat, but in the official capacity of it being a Christmas Dinner and therefore even more amazing. So I set about doing my research. Were there any recipes anywhere? Well, when I looked, I couldn’t find any, but I gave up after the first couple of pages of google, to be honest. Didn’t think it would be worth the effort of trawling the dark web for inspiration, so I figured I’d go to the shops and hope for the best. This is what I came back with:
and, because it’s a roast, it needs stuffing. So, I got these:
So, just so we’re clear on this, I was assembing a mixed lamb and chicken kebab to be stuffed with lemon and coriander houmous and falafel. Totally a normal Christmas thing to do. Yes.
In the end, only one pack of lamb leg steaks were used – as the marinading pot was quite, quite full. To explain the chicken breasts – I would have preferred to have had chicken thighs throughout but having left Tesco with just the one pack, then realising I needed more, breasts is all they had in my very much more local Co-Op, so in they went.
So, step one – marinade the fuckers. In went 8 chicken thigh fillets, 3 lamb leg steaks, and two diced chicken breasts. The marinade itself was a simple middle-eastern affair, with a South African twist*! Two packets of Schwartz brand baharat seasoning and half a jar of Tesco’s own Harissa paste, with a splash of Nando’s Garlic Peri Peri sauce that I had in the cupboard. Bunged in a pyrex casserole dish, left in the fridge overnight to soak, and it looked a bit like this:
Next: the fun part. Putting it all together. Now, I am convinced that what I did here does not constitute cooking. It was more a feat of engineering than food preparation, and while Gordon Ramsey may well scowl, I can’t help but feel that Brunel would have been proud of my meaty lego skills.
First: the foundation:
Chicken and lamb sandwiched together, and held in place with pointy sticks.
Next: the stuffing!
…and finally, a top layer to entomb the chickpea based centre.
Boom. As the curious cluck-baa hybrid grew ever bigger, so too did the technical challenges of holding it all together. Solution! More pointy sticks. This was no longer a kebab, this was now a magic trick where the glamorous assistant in the box was now sadly dead from multiple stab wounds. It was, however, all in one piece. Next steps – clingfilm, and freeze. Here it is, in my freezer, looking cold:
The freezer part was only necessary as I had prepped this last weekend – partly because I had feared a last minute run on the shops in the run-up to Christmas – as events turned out viz. Brexit and CoronaVid19, this was probably wise.
Fast-forward to Christmas Eve – where I released it from it’s cellophane prison, and to defrost in the oven overnight. Christmas day – 200°C in the oven, two hours, and it now looks like this:
However! Still more work needed. This is a roast, so roasts need gravy, right? Well, no. I gave it a brief thought and decided to run with the distinctly less festive and more conventional kebab sauces that you would find in a Turkish restaurant. Half a pot of greek yoghurt, half a bottle of white wine vinegar, 2 scotch bonnets, a tin of tomatoes, lemon and lime juice, 8 cloves of garlic, 2 bottles of spring water and some fresh dill and parsley later, and we have ourselves some sauce:
Again, it’s a roast, so roast potatoes? No. This isn’t haute cuisine, and I decided chips would suffice.
The end result?
Mixed Kebab Roast, Shawarma Police HQ.
£far too much but totally worth it.