Tips for the big day
The last thing we all want to be doing on Christmas day is running around in the kitchen or eating raw turkey! The best tip of all is to make a plan and get your timings right, but we also wanted to share a few other tips with you.
However, it is worth remembering that you are feeding your friends and family and they will be grateful for your effort. Also, make sure you have fun – no point slaving in the kitchen all on your own and missing all the merriment and drinking!
Tips for a succulent turkey
Try pushing stuffing between the skin and the meat of the breast. This way the breast meat will take longer to cook and remain moist.
If you don’t fancy the stuffing, rub the breast area of the bird with butter and wrap with streaky bacon. Again, this will slow down the cooking process.
If you are stuffing your bird, make sure that you weigh it after you have stuffed it before you calculate the cooking time. To cook your bird, make sure you bring it to room temperature before it goes into the oven. Turn the oven to maximum temperature for the first 40 minutes and then roast for 20 minutes per 500g plus adding an extra 20 minutes. Don’t forget to rest it for as long as you can!
You can’t have a turkey at Christmas without the classic sausage meat stuffing. You can either stuff the bird itself or just roll into balls and serve long side the bird. Try adding some dried cranberries, pistachios and nutmeg this year.
Try a different flavour for your bread sauce – infuse the milk with onion, thyme and nutmeg or try star anise and cloves for a really festive aroma.
Roast vegetables are delicious, especially if you just throw them in with the bird with about 40 minutes to go, so they can soak up the cooking juices (no need to peel them either).
To make the perfect roasties, preheat the oven to 180C and pop a tray with a generous dollop of goose fat in. Parboil your potatoes for 10 minutes, drain in a colander and shake vigorously to roughen the edges. When the oil is very hot, pop the potatoes in and shake to cover in the hot oil. Return to the oven for at least an hour.
To get ahead, blanch your vegetables the day before by simmering in salted water until they are starting to soften, then plunge into ice cold water to cool down rapidly. Then keep in a cool place in oven trays or dishes and bake once the roast meat is resting. Drizzle them with oil, honey, add spices or butter before they go into the oven. Once they come out, add herbs, nuts, dried fruit or even cheese (like feta to carrots) and serve.
I love a goose at Christmas! There is so much flavour and it is much more difficult to dry the bird out because of the fat content under the skin. Roast it for 30 minutes per 1 kilogram (can be longer if you want the meat to start falling off the bone).
Before you pop the bird into the oven, try rubbing it with a selection of festive spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Oil the skin of the bird, rub the spices and salt in and roast. Make sure you roast the bird on a rack, placed within a larger tray, so you can harvest all the delicious goose fat. You can store this in jars and keep in the fridge.
Try serving the goose with rich gravy, green beans and caramelised (or just plain) potatoes. To caramelise your potatoes, peel and boil them until cooked. Melt equal amounts of unsalted butter and sugar in a pan on medium heat, chuck the potatoes in, season with salt and cook until the potatoes are coated in the caramel.
Enjoy and Merry Christmas!