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Andy McLeish's 3 perfect Christmas sides

PUBLISHED: 13:03 10 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:25 19 June 2019

Roasted potatoes © Alex Bayev

Roasted potatoes © Alex Bayev

©Alex Bayev - stock.adobe.com

Andy has a confession: he loves the side dishes almost more than he loves the roast turkey. Here are three of his all-time favourites

The side dishes served at Christmas lunch are what get everyone excited. If you think about it, we spend more time and energy on the accompaniments than the turkey itself. Once the turkey is basted and put in the oven, it's all systems go.

We need to ensure the potatoes are perfectly crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The pigs in blankets must be sticky sweet and have good colour, the vegetables buttered and al dente, the bread sauce beautifully creamy and the cranberry sauce should have the right balance - not too sweet and not too sour.

And of course, the pièce de résistance - the gravy. You can have a perfectly cooked bird but if your gravy isn't up to par, then it will all be for nothing.

The gravy is what brings the whole meal together, like a perfect symphony. The gravy should be thick, yet not too thick, and have a great depth of flavour.

In my house on Christmas Day, even before I carve the turkey, the kids are already nibbling on the potatoes and our family favourite - pan-fried sprouts with pancetta. It can be an effort to convince them to wait until I serve the turkey.

Follow my recipes to make the perfect Christmas side dishes. They're deliciously more-ish and will be the star of the show this festive season. Enjoy!

- Roast spiced potimarron with pomegranate and mustard vinaigrette

- Thyme and lemon roast potatoes

- Cranberry and port sauce

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Andy McLeish is chef-patron of multi-award-winning Kent restaurant Chapter One

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