How to cook the perfect Christmas Dinner!
Humbly this is how I plan my Christmas, but in the past when I’ve mentioned my tips to friends, family or colleagues many have been greeted with a smile or a thanks, some have been repeated year on year and so I thought why not share them with you!? Let me know if any helped!! Or even better share any tips of your own, especially the handed down ones from family members past.
PLAN – It’s so simple, almost too obvious we often just brush it to one side, but a good menu plan for the few days before and couple after will set you up, save you money AND prevent a disorganised headache! The shopping list will flow, the ‘’cook for the freezer’’ to do list will develop naturally, the prep a few days earlier will become a pleasure and you’ll go to battle with a smile…in fact it won’t be a battle!
DELEGATE – Everyone likes to help and contribute and so dish out those jobs. Or just prep together, chatting and catching up over the peeling of spuds, parsnips, carrots, bussells and the job will be done, you’ll hardly even notice it! AND By the way delegating includes the clearing up!
FREEZE – An absolute must to keep you sane! Stuffing, Bread sauce, made but not cooked mince pies, (cooking from frozen on Christmas days makes the house smell wonderful and you will look like the kitchen hero!) Chocolate fondant is a great dessert that cooks from frozen perfectly.
GRAVY – Usually a drama, too much hot oil in a large shallow dish whilst the consumption of champagne is well underway! Just make it a day or so before ( or buy it) and add the turkey juices to finish it off!
COOK AHEAD – Braised cabbage improves with a day or 2 in the fridge, a great one to get out of the way early. Cranberry sauce, wrap the pigs in blankets and devils on horseback.
BREAKFAST – Eat a hearty breakfast! In our house Christmas dinner is usually about 3.30/4pm. 2 meals on the 25th is plenty but I do need a hearty proper breakfast. Make time for it , everything else is in hand.
TURKEY – If you leave the legs untrussed the bird cooks more evenly, the bones in the leg help to transport the heat into the brown meat, cooking time is reduced, and the breast stays moist. Resting, people get scared that resting will make the meat cold, in fact the bird keeps cooking and the internal temp will raise another 5oc. The resting makes it easier to carve and nicer to eat. Just cover the bird loosely with foil and a tea towel. A 3/4kilo bird will enjoy a 40/50 min rest – no problem and free’s up the oven for the roasties ( which could have been part roasted already, leaving this last blast just to crisp up)
ROAST POTATOES – these HAVE to be golden and crispy. These can be par cooked first thing. Always use a Maris Piper spud. Peel and boil till nearly falling apart and allow to completely cool; do this the day before. Christmas Day, arrange the potatoes evenly in a shallow roasting dish and heat some oil in a sauce pan till smoking and then pour over the potatoes. (be very careful ) The spuds will sizzle as the hot oil hits them; the crispness has begun. Roast in the oven till golden!
I promise it is all achievable!! Let me know how you get on and if you’ve any tips of your own? #ejcatering #ejschristmastips