To cook the perfect Christmas dinner, you need to do all the basics perfectly.
There’s no need to panic, it’s not that hard…
The staple of any Christmas dinner is the meat. It takes time but the rewards are definitely worth it.
If your going to be traditional, you have to have a turkey on Christmas Day. A good quality turkey should hold its shape when cooked and be juicy all the way through.
Stuff the turkey with lemon halves, thyme, rosemary and garlic to give the turkey an aromatic taste. Season the turkey with salt and pepper and rub it into the bird. If you want a bit of spice, add some paprika or cayenne pepper.
Put 475 ml of stock in with the turkey, (chicken or vegetable would be best), and place the turkey in, breast size up.
Remove the giblets first as you can save them for later.
The average turkey will take 40 minutes per kilo but you can ask for guidance from your butcher if you’re unsure.
Cooking the bird depends on the size and quality of it.
It should be covered in foil to keep the juices in, but the foil should be removed towards the end to ensure the turkey gets browned.
When cooked, the turkey must be left to rest. Carving the turkey too soon means that the bird will lose all the juices and will become dry and all the hard work you did before will be wasted.
Pigs in blankets
This must be on every Christmas dinner menu.
Simply wrap the sausages with bacon and season with salt, pepper and thyme. 30 minutes in the oven later and the perfect accompaniment to the turkey as the thicker texture and poignant flavours go perfectly with the turkey.
(A cranberry sauce wouldn’t go amiss with them either you know!
A nut roast is a quick and easy option for any vegetarian dining with you on Christmas Day.
Line a baking tin with parchment paper.
Fry some onions and celery for 5 minutes and add garlic and mushrooms. After 10 minutes add some chopped peppers and grated carrots.
Add lentils, tomato puree and spices and leave for a minute. Add some vegetable stock and simmer until the liquid has been absorbed and leave to cool.
When cooled, stir in breadcrumbs, nuts, beaten eggs, herbs, salt and pepper. Mix and add to the baking tin.
Cook for 20 minutes at 180c for the most delicious, crusty nut roast.
A good turkey is nothing without the vegetables. They’re easy to get right and so good with the meats.
Potatoes, Parsnips and Carrots
Cut the potatoes and parsnips in half and parboil for 5 minutes.
Heat some goose fat in the roasting tin in the preheated oven and add the veg. Season with salt and pepper and thyme. Toss so that they are coated in the fat. (Don’t use too much fat or they will go soggy.)
Roast until crisp on the outside and fluffy inside.
(For a bit of extra sweetness, drizzle honey over them before they go in the oven.)
These can be simply boiled before adding some magic to them!
When cooked, drain and season with salt and pepper, before melting some butter and scattering some chillies for a bit of bite.
Despite the country hating sprouts, we all eat them on Christmas day because we have to but there is a way to make them special.
Half the sprouts boil in salted water for just 3 minutes.
Add to a hot pan with olive oil for another 3 minutes along with some chestnuts to add some crunch and season when dishing up.
Quick and easy stuffing is a necessity on a day when cooking is at its most stressful.
Fry some onion in butter for 5 minutes and add diced Bramley apples, nuts and breadcrumbs and season.
When cooled cook in a medium temperature oven for 10 minutes or until crispy.
The best flavours for your gravy should have come out of what you’ve already cooked.
Use the juices from the turkey and the water from the beans an
Add the water from the beans into the turkey pan with some gravy granules. And stir over a low heat to get all the flavour left in the pan into the gravy.
The perfect gravy for the perfect Christmas dinner.