December: A time to reconnect with friends and family, a time to celebrate the end of the year and look forward to the new one. It’s a time to reflect and be thankful for everything we have. It’s a time for love and laughter, but most importantly, it’s a time for food.
All of the delicious treats and meals that we associate with this time of the year are, for me, what make Christmas so special. The taste of warmed brie and cranberry, and the smell of mince pies or gingerbread men baking away, always takes me back to the festive period.
With that in mind, my favourite way to kickstart Christmas is to indulge in a delicious Christmas Sandwich. It’s the perfect treat for a cold Sunday afternoon in early December. For me, it almost serves as a warm-up for the main event, Christmas dinner, that we all get to enjoy later on in the month.
When it comes to preparing my Christmas inspired sandwich, I take things very seriously. Remember, this is a once-a-year kind of thing, so it has to be perfect.
Start with the bread. You want a thick and sturdy loaf, that will be able to hold all of the fillings together and soak up gravy and cranberry sauce, without breaking. Cut your chosen bread into two thick slices and then generously spread your butter along the bread, making sure you’ve gone right to the edges.
Choosing your fillings is something that only you can decide. Think back to last year’s Christmas dinner. Which bits of the meal can you still taste on the tip of your tongue? Which bits were the highlight of your meal? It’s these elements that will make up the filling of your Christmas Sandwich.
For me, the trimmings of a Christmas dinner are what make it so enjoyable, which is why my sandwich will mainly consist of things like pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce, stuffing and, of course, the turkey.
I’ll start by layering the meat, or a vegetarian alternative, into the sandwich. Personally, I start with the turkey because it forms a strong base to the sandwich and gives it more sturdiness. Then I put my pigs in blankets down the middle, and place them lying face-down, on top of the turkey. The smell of each ingredient is sometimes too difficult to resist, so don’t worry if you find yourself tucking into some of the leftovers as you build your ultimate Christmas sandwich.
Having filled the sandwich with meat, it’s time to add the rest. I place large slices of French brie on top of the still warm sausage and leave it a moment to melt into the sandwich. Then, it’s time for the cranberry sauce. Add as much or as little as you want onto the stack of delicious Christmas fillings and watch as your sandwich starts to take shape.
Finally, I add a layer of homemade stuffing and slather the whole thing in steaming hot, thick gravy, before serving alongside a bed of fresh vegetables. Is your tummy rumbling, or is it just me?
Now it’s time to tuck in. The first bite is always the best, so savour the taste and enjoy it whilst it lasts. The gravy should pour out of the bread and fall down onto your vegetables. The different tastes of sweet cranberry sauce, and flavoursome stuffing will all come together and take you back to the 25th December, just like that.
It’s now, and only now, that Christmas can truly begin.