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Top Tips for Cooking the Perfect Christmas Dinner

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Whilst presents and family are all well and good, we all know that the real star of the festive season is Christmas dinner. Sure, you may have roasts throughout the year, but the one at Christmas is extra special and guaranteed to put you in a food coma for the rest of the day at least.

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However, there are some little things you can do to ensure your Christmas dinner is that extra bit better…

  • If you have a frozen turkey, make sure you’ve given it plenty of time to defrost. A 4-5kg frozen turkey will take around 20 hours to defrost at room temperature, whilst a 9-11kg turkey could take as much as 48 hours to defrost.
  • Prepare as much as you can the night before. Leave potatoes to soak in cold water, peel the veg and get out any tools and utensils you know you’re going to need. This will take away a lot of the stress the following day.
  • Do away with starters. You’re going to have plenty of other food, and you don’t want to be too full for dessert.
  • Turkey legs actually take longer to cook than the breast, and this can often lead to either over or underdone parts of the turkey. Try putting a layer of stuffing between the turkey’s skin and breast to make cooking times more even.
  • Make sure your oven is up to scratch. An old oven may have hotspots which can lead to uneven cooking. It’s worth buying quality if you want top quality food, such as these range cookers from HiSpek and you’ll know it will cook the turkey evenly throughout.
  • Remember to leave the turkey to stand after cooking. This will allow the juices to expand through the turkey for maximum flavour. Cover the turkey loosely in foil when it’s standing, although not too tightly or the moisture will be sealed in and the skin will lose its crispness.
  • After parboiling and before roasting, mash the potatoes ever so slightly to increase the surface area for crispy bits. Buy in some goose fat if you want them extra crispy.
  • If you want the best gravy then don’t forget the juices from the turkey in the baking tray. Add that to the stock for the absolute best flavour.
  • Big sprouts can be tricky to cook so opt for small ones, about one inch across. If you want to do something a little different with your sprouts, pan fry them with some pancetta and garlic.
  • Carrots and parsnips are delicious parboiled and then roasted drizzled with honey.
  • If you or your children aren’t big fans of Christmas pudding, then try chocolate steamed pudding instead. It even looks a bit like Christmas pudding but the taste is much less divisive, particularly for the kids.