What a truly amazing circle of friends I have. Honestly. It’s been great to get all the tips and questions. The easiest thing to do is to break it down into sections; and today’s is –
and by plan I mean military campaign. Well that’s what it sometimes feels like. And like the best military conquests- it’s best to delegate.
I don’t care what your culinary skills are- you can definitely peel potatoes!
The main item on the agenda, is of course, the turkey! Below is Pat Whelan’s guide to the turkey size you need to feed the family.
Did you know that Turkey only became popular after Charles Dickens upgraded the Cratchit’s goose to a turkey in his 1843 A Christmas Carol?
Turkey Cooking times. These times are based on the turkey being at room temperature before going into the oven, and the oven being at 180oC. But, like Nicki said. Get a meat thermometer. If you are not sure at all, it really is the way to go. A turkey is generally cooked through when a meat thermometer , inserted into the thickest part of the leg reaches 71 to 75C.
Rule of thumb is: if the turkey is over 4kg, calculate 20 mins per kg + 90 mins. If the bird is under 4kg, calculate 20 mins per kg + 70 mins. To test if it’s done, make sure the juices run clear when you pierce the thigh where it meets the body. If not, put it back in the oven for another 20 mins, then test again.
Remember: A free range bird will cook faster than a lean more mass produced bird, as the free range turkey has more fat which conducts heat faster. I don’t recommend stuffing the turkey. Purely for ease of preparation and serving. But if you do wish to stuff the tukey- leave lots of space in the cavity for the air to circulate. And add at least 30 minutes onto the estimated cooking time.
Menu- The plan is for a very simple menu, keep the portions smaller than you think! There will be another post on starters that can be made ahead and also veggies with a bit more of a twist!
Turkey, Roast Ham
Carrots, Sprouts, Red Cabbage, Parsnips, Roast Potatoes
Gravy, Cranberry Sauce, Bread Sauce
The Day Before- or even the day before the day before:
- The Ham can be cooked the day before, and even baked the day before. I always do this as it frees up oven space.
Peel the potatoes and leave covered in water in the fridge. Christmas day is not the time to get poncy about vitamin leakage.
- Peel the carrots (if having), can be put in a freezer bag with a little wine and left in the fridge also.
- Set the table
- Make the bread Sauce
- Make the Cranberry Sauce
- Make red cabbage (if using)
- Take the turkey out of the fridge (This MUST be done Christmas Eve, and leave it in a cool, but not fridge cold place, out of the way of interested children/ animals.
- Make the stuffing
- Whip the cream
09.00hrs Pre heat your oven. When hot, put in your turkey at 200oC. This is for a 6.5kg turkey. (6.5*20+90)
09.30hrs Peel and halve your sprouts
09.45hrs Prepare parsnips for roasting
12.45hrs Put your potatoes for roasting into a pot of cold water, bring to the boil and boil for ten minutes. Drain and with the lid tightly on, shake the pot to “ruffle” the potatoes. Remove the lid and set aside.
12.50hrs Add goose or duck fat to a roasting tray and place in the oven to melt the fat.
13.00hrs Put your parboiled potatoes into the oven in the roasting tray with the hot melted fat. Put your parsnips into another roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and a little maple syrup, toss together and into the oven when you remove the turkey.
13.15hrs Take the turkey out of the oven, remove it to a serving platter. Drain off most of the juices (reserve- just in case!) and make your gravy. Cover the bird loosely with foil.
13.30hrs Make the gravy, put the carrots on to boil. Also steam your sprouts. Put the Christmas Pudding onto steam for 2 hours.
13.45hrs Warm the bread sauce through gently. Reheat the red cabbage, and the stuffing.
Get lots of help to dish everything up.
14.00hrs Sit Down and Eat! Divine!