The ACAI Blog

The BIG Christmas Sandwich with Nicky.Walks

by Isobel Bond on Dec 16, 2021

The BIG Christmas Sandwich with Nicky.Walks


Hiker, ACAI adventurer and sandwich connoisseur, @Nicky.Walks has been kind enough to share her delicious recipe for the BIG festive sandwich.  If you decide to make it, be sure to tag @ACAIOutdoorwear and @Nicky.Walks in your creations.


The BIG festive sandwich!

the big festive sandwich

Roast goose; parsnip and garlic puree; goose skin and pancetta mayo; sage, shallot and apple stuffing; crispy sprout leaves; cherry and red wine sauce. All piled into a fresh ciabatta and topped off with a FIG in a blanket!

Some things to know / cheat steps:

  • There are a lot of components to this sandwich - If it feels too much like hard work, you could pick two or three elements and make a slightly pared down version.
  • I bought a whole goose especially, but it's not a cheap meal! It will work just as well with duck legs or the leftovers from your Christmas day bird. 
  • You could also use your leftover stuffing rather than making more. Or you know, cheat. Supermarkets do really good ready to cook stuffing these days! I won’t tell...
  • Ideally you want a thermometer that you can put in hot oil so you know what temperature the oil is to fry the sprout leaves. If you don’t have one, or would rather skip the frying, just add your favourite salad leaf instead.
  • The below will do for 2 large sandwiches, possibly more dependent on how much filling you like (especially if you’re using a whole goose). But you know I can’t be doing with a puny sandwich!


The bread

  • 2 fresh large ciabattas (or your favourite, good quality bread)
  • 2 cocktail sticks

The bird

  • Whole goose OR 2 duck legs OR the leftover meat from your roast dinner
  • Sprig of rosemary
  • A few bay leaves
  • Any of your favourite festive spices – Cinnamon sticks, ginger, star anise etc
  • Half a clementine
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Sea salt

Parsnip and garlic puree

  • 350g parsnips (2 or 3 dependent on size)
  • 15g unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Pinch of dried nutmeg

The sage, shallot and apple stuffing

  • 125g sourdough or ciabatta, ideally a day old, blitzed into breadcrumbs
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 apple (I prefer a sharper variety like Granny Smiths), peeled, cored and grated.
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage

Cherry and red wine sauce

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 180g fresh cherries, destoned 
  • 80ml red wine
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • A pinch of fresh thyme
  • Half a tbsp of unsalted butter
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Goose / duck skin and pancetta mayonnaise

  • 2 rashers of pancetta
  • Goose / duck skin removed from the bird after cooking
  • 4 tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • Squeeze of lemon juice
  • Black pepper

Crispy fried sprout leaves:

  • 4 large brussel sprouts
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Figs in blankets

  • 1 fresh fig
  • 2 rashers of pancetta
  • 2 sage leaves


The goose

  1. Always try and let your meat or poultry return to room temperature before you cook it for more evenly cooked meat. Take a note of its weight.
  2. Preheat your oven to a toasty 220°C.
  3. Pat down the goose with some kitchen roll to remove excess moisture (helps keep the skin crisp) and then rub a good helping of salt into the skin.
  4. Prick the skin all over, trying not to go through to the meat, and pop it breast side down in to a roasting tin.
  5. Put any of your favourite festive herbs and spices into the cavity (rosemary, sage, bay, cinnamon, ginger, star anise etc), with half a clementine and a few cloves of garlic (you don’t need to take the skins off – Just crush them slightly with the heel of your palm so that they split).
  6. Give it around a 20-minute sizzle in the hot oven then reduce the temperature to 170°C.
  7. The next bit is dependent on the size of your goose - You'll need to cook it for a further 30-minutes per kg of goose.
  8. Baste the bird with the juices in the pan every half hour or so.
  9. Do the prep for the parsnip puree (see below)
  10. Once the juices from the fattest part of the leg run clear (prick with a knife), put the heat back up to 220°C  and turn the bird over to brown off the breast. Twenty minutes or until you're happy with the colour.
  11. Rest the bird for an hour before you start removing any meat.
  12. Remove some of the crispiest bits of skin, to be used in the mayonnaise. You want a few large chunks.
  13. Either carve your meat in big, juicy chunks, or shred it with two forks. Shredding it will make the meat go further.

If you’re using duck legs:

  • Preheat your oven to 160°C.
  • Pat down the skin of the legs with kitchen roll and prick the skin of each leg.
  • Season with salt and pepper (you don’t need oil), and if you like, add a little of your favourite festive spices - I pop a full star anise on top of each one.
  • Put the legs on to a baking tray and roast for an hour and a half, basting every half hour.
  • Do the prep for the parsnip puree (see below)
  • Let them rest for 10 minutes and then remove the crispiest bits of skin to be used in the mayonnaise. You want a few large chunks.
  • Shred the meat off the bone with two forks.

The parsnip and garlic puree:

  1. Whilst the goose / duck is cooking, prep the parsnips. Peel and cut off the top of the fat end of each parsnip. Chop the parsnips into chunks, discarding the lighter core which runs through each (you’ll see this once you chop the top off), and put in a mixing bowl.
  2. Melt the butter and tip on to the parsnips, tossing to coat them. Arrange them on a baking tray.
  3. Put a couple of cloves of garlic (skins on) onto a piece of tin foil, and seal. Pop this on to the same tray.
  4. Once the goose / duck is out of the oven, lower the temperature to 200°C and roast your parsnips for around 20 minutes, or until nice and golden. Turn once during cooking.
  5. Do the prep for the stuffing (see below)
  6. Put the parsnips in to a food processor (or use a hand blender and a bowl) and squeeze out the roasted garlic from the skins. Add 50ml of water and blend. Keep adding until you get your preferred consistency - Not too runny, thick enough to spread!
  7. Add a little pinch of dried nutmeg (be careful as this can overpower if you add too much) and salt and pepper to taste.

The sage, shallot and apple stuffing:

  1. Once the parsnips are out of the oven, reduce the temperature to 160°C.
  2. Melt 15g butter in a small saucepan over a low heat and add the diced shallot. Fry for a few minutes and then add the chopped sage. Continue frying for another couple of minutes until the shallot is soft. 
  3. To a mixing bowl, add the breadcrumbs, shallots, one egg, the grated apple and nutmeg, and mix together thoroughly. 
  4. Put the mixture in to a small ovenproof dish and brush a light layer of melted butter on to the top.
  5. Bake in the oven until a nice golden brown – about 30 minutes.

The cherry and red wine sauce

  1. Whilst the stuffing is in the oven, make the cherry sauce.
  2. Fry the shallot in the olive oil on a medium heat until soft. 
  3. Add the red wine, destoned cherries, balsamic vinegar and thyme. 
  4. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the cherries have broken down and the liquid has reduced.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste
  6. Add the butter and stir into the sauce as it melts.

The goose / duck skin and pancetta mayo

  1. Fry 2 pieces of pancetta until crisp (you don’t need to add any oil) and drain on some kitchen roll. It should be at the stage when it breaks easily.
  2. Add the skin you removed from your goose / duck to a small food processor, along with the pancetta, mayonnaise and a squeeze of lemon juice.
  3. Season with black pepper to taste.

The crispy sprout leaves

  1. Cut the bottom of each sprout so that the leaves are easier to remove. 
  2. Only use the outer layers of the sprouts, as the others will be too small / difficult to remove. You’ll want to get about 16 leaves in total.
  3. Pop some kitchen roll on to a plate and set aside.
  4. Heat about half an inch of vegetable oil in a pan to 180°C and fry the leaves in two batches. Flip the leaves a few times whilst frying so that they fry evenly and take on a slightly brown colour. They will only take about a minute.
  5. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain them on the kitchen roll.

(These can make a little festive snack too – Add salt and chilli flakes to them as soon as you take them out of the oil, and you won’t stop picking at them!)

The fig in a blanket

  1. With your oven at 180°C, cut the fresh fig in half and wrap each half in a piece of pancetta with a sage leaf poking out of one end.
  2. Pop them on to a baking tray and cook for about 10 minutes, or until you can see that the pancetta is properly cooked. The sage leaf will crisp up a bit.

Building your sandwich:

  • Cut your ciabatta / bread of choice in half.
  • Spread an even layer of the parsnip puree on the bottom half and the pancetta mayonnaise on the top half.
  • Add some stuffing on top of the puree, followed by your goose / duck.
  • Layer on some of the crispy sprout leaves and top with some of the cherry sauce.
  • Pop the lid on the sandwich and use a cocktail stick to attach the fig in a blanket to the top.
  • Eat….

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