Christmas dinner should be easy, right? You’ve got the fundamental meat, a mound of potatoes, some vegetables, pigs in blankets, a smattering of gravy and a dollop of cranberry sauce. So why is it all so difficult? In fact, as a popular Sunday lunch dish, why do we struggle so much to get the timing right?
Ovenu shows you how to get it right first time, so your meat is succulent and your potatoes crispy. Imagine that…
Here are some tips that can help with the big Christmas cook.
Prepare and Parboil
Get ahead of the culinary crowd by prepping your vegetables the night before. If you steep them in water overnight they’ll cook faster. Or parboil them so they’re quicker to finish cooking on Christmas Day, freeing up much-needed space on the hob.
Alternatively, if you’d prefer to roast some veg, you can cook it the night before and then simply add it to the turkey’s juices to crisp it up an hour before you serve it.
Prepare and Freeze in Advance
Whilst we’re advocates of cooking from fresh, sometimes you have to cut a few corners to achieve the results you are aiming for. Technically, you are still cooking it all from scratch – just not on the same day.
Make fresh and freeze then take out the night before so it’s ready for the next day. You can even add the juices from the fresh Christmas turkey to mix the flavours together.
Free up some much-needed time by making and shaping the stuffing in advance. Defrost it in the morning and either pop it in the turkey dish to heat it through and allow it to soak up some juices or pop it on a separate oven tray and warm it through.
Cook the turkey the night before. That way you can either let the gravy and heated plate warm the meat or you can steam it to heat it through; this prevents the meat from drying out too.
The Magic of the Microwave
Seems pretty simple, hey? But some of us are fearful of using the microwave for Christmas dinner in case our guests think we’re cheating or haven’t made enough effort. And yet microwaves can be a lifesaver on Christmas Day.
To cook vegetables in the microwave, simply cover them in water and cling film and heat.
The microwave is also great for quickly reheating some food if it has become lukewarm whilst waiting to be served.
If you’re determined to use the oven and hob and nothing else, though, don’t forget that for an oven to work efficiently it must be cleaned thoroughly, otherwise some parts may work better than others and can cause unevenly cooked food.
These little tips and tricks should be enough to maximise the use of your oven, but don’t forget: you could just ask everyone to bring a dish so there’s less pressure!
At the end of the day, above all else, don’t forget to enjoy the process – it is Christmas, after all.