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The Hairy Bikers' Christmas dinner in an hour

Imagine your Christmas, all fitting into one handy tray?

Complete with chicken thighs, pigs in blankets, stuffing and veggies, The Hairy Bikers join us to showcase their simple festive tray bake. Even Ebenezer Scrooge would have a go at this one!

Traybake Christmas dinner

Serves 4


4 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on

Olive oil

1 large onion, sliced into wedges

Sea salt and black pepper

Stuffing balls

15g butter

1 onion, finely chopped

35g dried cranberries

50ml just-boiled water

50g chestnuts, crumbled

75g breadcrumbs

1 tsp dried thyme

1 egg

Pigs in blankets

4 slices of streaky bacon

8 chipolatas


3 floury potatoes, cut into chunks

2 parsnips, cut into chunks

3 carrots, cut into batons

25g lard, dripping or duck fat

To serve

Chicken gravy (recipe below)

Cranberry relish (recipe below)


1. Preheat the oven 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6. 

2. First make the stuffing balls. Melt the butter in a frying pan and add the finely chopped onion. Sauté until very soft and translucent, then remove it from the heat. Put the cranberries in a small bowl, cover with the just-boiled water, then leave to soften and swell. They should absorb all the water but if not, drain them. Put the onions and cranberries in a bowl with the remaining ingredients, then season and mix thoroughly. Shape the mixture into 8 balls. 

3. Next make the pigs in blankets. Cut each piece of bacon in half and stretch each half out with the flat side of a knife. Wrap each stretched half around a chipolata. 

4. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and rub the skins with olive oil. Place the onion wedges in the base of a roasting tin and drizzle with oil. Arrange the chicken thighs, pigs in blankets and stuffing balls on top of the onion. 

5. Now prepare the vegetables. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the potatoes, followed by the parsnips, then the carrots and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain thoroughly. Shake the pan around a bit to fluff up the edges of the potatoes and parsnips. 

6. Put the lard, dripping or duck fat in another roasting tin and place it in the oven. When the fat is smoking hot, remove the tin from the oven and add all the vegetables. Shake the tin to distribute the veg evenly and season with salt and black pepper. 

7. Put both tins in the oven, with the chicken on top and the vegetables below. Roast for 40-45 minutes, checking regularly and turning the tins round to make sure they cook evenly. When everything is piping hot and well browned, remove the tins from the oven. Serve with plenty of gravy and some cranberry relish.

Chicken gravy

Serves 4


25g butter

1 shallot, very finely chopped

1 bay leaf, thyme or tarragon sprig

25g plain flour

100ml white wine

600ml well-flavoured chicken stock

100ml double cream (optional)

Sea salt and black pepper


1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the shallot, bay leaf and either thyme or tarragon. Sauté until the shallot is very soft and translucent, then stir in the flour. Stir until you have a lightly toasted paste or roux - cook it for long enough for the flour to lose its raw aroma. 

2. Turn up the heat and pour in the wine. It should bubble up immediately. Stir vigorously - the roux should thicken and pull away from the base of the pan. Make sure it is smooth, then start adding the chicken stock, gradually to start with. Allow each addition to bubble up, then stir until smooth. Continue until you have added all the stock. The sauce should have the consistency of thin custard. 

3. Season with salt and black pepper and simmer gently for 5 minutes. For a richer sauce, add the cream and simmer gently for another couple of minutes. Remove the herbs just before serving and strain the gravy if you don’t want the texture of the shallots.

Cranberry relish

Serves 4


250g cranberries (fresh of frozen)

100g caster sugar

Juice of 1 orange 

1 tsp orange zest

50ml port (optional)

Pinch of salt


1. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat until the mixture is just boiling and continue to cook until at least half the cranberries have burst. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the relish to cool - the consistency will thicken and become jammy.

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