Beginner's Guide to Cooking Christmas Dinner!

Posted 18 Dec 2020

Christmas Dinner Recipe 

Covid or not, some traditions shall never be broken. One of them? Christmas dinner. Whether you're feeding the five thousand or making a hearty meal for one, we have you Christmas dinner beginners covered. Because trust me, if there's one meal a year you don't want to screw up... it's this one. 

For a visual cook-along, head to our TikTok or Instagram page, where you'll find us squish all the essentials in to just a few minutes. 

Call us anything, but don't call us time-wasters! 

Prepping the Turkey

Ingredients:

1 x 7 kg higher-welfare turkey 

1 bunch of fresh rosemary (30g)

1 bunch of fresh sage (30g)

250 g stuffing

250 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Gravy Granules    

Method:    

Check the main turkey cavity for the bag of giblets. Remove and tip them into your roasting tray, discarding the bag. The added flavour they’ll give your gravy will be incredible – trust me.

Peel the onions, wash the carrots and roughly chop, then add to the tray with the unpeeled garlic cloves.

Place herbs in the turkey cavity – not filling it too full allows hot air to circulate, cooking the bird from the inside out and from the outside in.

Place the stuffing in the neck cavity, then pull the skin back over it and tuck it under the bird. 

Scrunch & warm the butter in your hands, then spread all over the bird. The butter will melt off as it cooks, adding to the flavour of the gravy.

Generously sprinkle the turkey with salt and pepper, pick over the remaining herb leaves and pat them on to the butter.

Cover the turkey snugly with tin foil and place it on top of the trivet in the tray. You can now either leave it for 1 hour until the bird comes up to room temperature, ready to cook, or pop it into the fridge or another cold place until you need it.

Have a clear down, and your prep is done. 

Tips

The first step is key – you must let your bird come up to room temperature after being in the fridge. It’ll give you more reliable cooking times, as well as juicier, more tender meat, as the bird isn’t shocked when it hits the heat of the oven.

Cooking the Turkey

(Cooks in 3 hours 30 mins: 35-40 mins per kilo for a standard bird)

Preheat the oven to 180ºC

The simplest way to check it’s cooked is to stick a knife into the thickest part of the thigh – if the juices run clear, it’s done. If you’re worried, use a meat thermometer. You want to reach an internal temperature of 70ºC for a supermarket higher-welfare or standard bird.

Use tongs to lift up your bird so all the juices run from the cavity into the tray, then transfer the turkey to a platter, cover with a double layer of tin foil and a clean tea towel, and leave to rest for up to 2 hours while you crack on.

Use your tray of veg and juices to make your gravy. Place the turkey tray over a medium heat on the hob.

Stir the flour into the tray, mashing up all the veg and scraping up all the sticky bits from the base. Pour in up to 2L of boiling kettle water and simmer until the gravy is the consistency of your liking, then stir in the cranberry sauce.

Strain the gravy through a sieve, pushing all the goodness through with the back of a spoon, then season to perfection.

Keep warm over the lowest heat until needed, adding any extra resting juices from the turkey before serving.

Tips

Don’t be under the illusion that when you remove the turkey from the oven it stops cooking. The residual heat will continue to cook the bird, giving the juices time to travel back throughout the meat, meaning a juicier bird all round. Piping hot meat is not a clever thing – warm, juicy meat, hot gravy and hot plates is the holy grail.


Brilliant Brussels

Ingredients:

2 onions, peeled and chopped

½ a bunch of fresh sage (15g)

6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

olive oil

1 kg Brussels sprouts, trimmed & peeled (larger ones halved)

2 large knobs of unsalted butter         

(Cooks in 55 mins)

Method:

Place a large pan on a high heat. Slice the bacon into chunky strips and put in the pan with a drizzle of oil, then immediately turn the heat down to medium. Fry for a few minutes, or until lightly golden, then crumble in the chestnuts.

Fry for about 5 minutes, or until deep golden, then add the onions. Turn the heat down to low and cook slowly for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Place the Brussels in a saucepan over a high heat for a couple of minutes, then, once the pan is nice and hot, cover with boiling salted water.

Boil for 5 minutes, or until just tender but with a little bite. Taste to check – they should be slightly undercooked.

Drain the Brussels, then stir through the mixture, scraping up any lovely sticky bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the butter and season to perfection, then serve right away, or cover and store in the fridge, reheating in the pan when needed.


Roasted Root Veg

Ingredients:

3 kg Maris Piper potatoes

16 carrots

12 parsnips

1 bulb of garlic

½ a bunch of fresh rosemary (15g)    

Method:     

Preheat the oven to 190°C

Peel the potatoes, then scrub, top and tail the carrots and parsnips, cutting any larger ones in half lengthways.

Cook in a large pan (or two) of boiling salted water for 8 minutes, then drain in a colander and leave to steam dry.

Pick out the carrots and parsnips and put to one side, then give the colander a few light shakes to chuff up the potato edges.

Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil (or turkey fat) to two large roasting trays and season each with sea salt and black pepper.

Squash the garlic bulb, then divide the cloves between the trays, along with the rosemary sprigs.

Roast for 40 minutes, then remove from the oven and lightly squash with a fish slice to burst the skins. Place back in the oven for a further 20 minutes, or until golden and crisp.


Mash Potatoes

Ingredients:

8 to 10 medium russet potatoes- peeled, cut into quarters

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons butter, if desired

Dash pepper

¼ cup hot milk

Method:

Place potatoes in large saucepan; add enough water to cover. Add 3/4 teaspoon of the salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover loosely and boil gently for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes break apart easily when pierced with fork. Drain well.

Return potatoes to saucepan; shake saucepan gently over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes to evaporate any excess moisture.

Mash potatoes with potato masher until no lumps remain. Add butter, pepper and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; continue mashing, gradually adding enough milk to make potatoes smooth and creamy.


Pigs in Blankets

Ingredients:

8 rashers smoked streaky bacon

16 chipolatas

Method:

Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Cut the bacon rashers in half. Wrap a piece of bacon around each of the chipolatas.

Place on a baking tray and cook for 30-35 mins until golden.


And voila! You will now be asked to cook Christmas dinner every year from now on. Sorry, we probably should've warned you about that...

You can find the full recipes below:

Prepping the Turkey

Cooking the Turkey

Brussel Sprouts

Veggie Stuffing

Roasted Root Veg

Mashed Potatoes

Pigs in Blankets

Posted 18 Dec 2020