Christmas Dinner

Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker

Preparing the Turkey.

  • TypTake your turkey out of the fridge a couple of hours before you're going to cook it to get it up to room temperature, remove the giblets and set aside.
  • In a roasting pan, chop a couple of onions, carrots, sticks of celary and half a dozen cloves of garlic. Add the giblets to the roasting tray, crack the neck a few times with a heavy kitchen knife to help release the flavour.
  • Take about half a pack butter, a good pinch of salt and pepper and a few sage leaves, get your hand in and squish this together. This is going to under the skin and over the breast meat to help it baste while cooking.
  • Slide your hand inside the neck and move your fingers under the skin over the breast to open up a pocket between the skin and meat. Once you can get your fingers in there, uses spoon/spatula to ease the skin away from the breast meat so the pocket covers the whole breast.
  • Split the butter into two and spread into the pocket between each breast, pat it down and spread it all over the breasts to get a god covering.
  • Prepare your stuffing and pack it into the neck cavity, once the cavity is full pull the neck skin over and under the stuffing to seal it inside.
  • Scatter some more stuffing inside the main cavity, but do not over fill it as the hot air needs to circulate through the bird to hel cook it evenly.
  • Place some streaky bacon over the top of the breasts, the fat from the bacon, along witht the butter on the breasts will help baste the meat as it cooks.
  • Cover the thichs with foil and it's ready to go in the oven.e text here

Cooking the Turkey.

  • Each oven will vary, whether it's a big oven, small oven, fan oven, electric oven, old oven, new oven... so the cooking times will vary. As a guide, allow 35 minutes per kilo, but you need to keep an eye on it and check its cooked.
  • Turn your oven up full, put the turkey in and turn it straight down to 180o.
  • Baste the turkey every half hour or so with the juices from the tray to keep the meat moist.
  • Remove the foil from the legs for the last 30 minutes to let the skin crisp up.

Prepare the Roast Potatoes.

  • Peel and chop your potatoes, Maris Piper are best for roasting in our opinion.
  • Chop the potatoes in half, and half again, rinse and soak in a bowl of salted water.
  • Boil a large pan of water and add salt.
  • Add the potatoes and par boil until they are starting to break down around the edges.
  • Drain the water off and let the steam dry the potatoes.
  • Give the potatoes a shake to roughen up the edges, this will help them go extra crispy.
  • When ready to roast, heat the roasting tray and then add Goose fat, Olive Oil, Butter, whatever you prefer. Once the fat, oil or butter is nice and hot, take the tray out of the oven and add the potatoes (and any other veg you fancy)
  • Stir the potatoes and make sure they have a good coating all over.
  • Add a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper, a few cloves of crushed garlic and put in the oven for about 30 minutes.
  • Add some chopped herbs, Thyme, Rosemary, and put back into the oven to finish off.

Prepare the Roast Potatoes.

When you think the turkey is cooked, take it out of the oven and check the following:

  1. Lift the turkey up and let the juices from inside the bird drain onto a white plate, it the juices are red, bloody, or slightly pink, it's not cooked. Put it back in the oven and check again in 10/15 minutes.
  2. Take a skewer or knife and push the point into the thickest part of the breast, wait a few seconds and pull it out. If the skewer is really hot to touch, then you know the meat is hot in the centre. Repeat this check in a few places to be sure its hot right through.
  3. Squeeze the meat on the thighs, if it starts to pull away from The bone you know it's well cooked.

Let the Turkey Rest!

  • This is important, the meat will contract and tighten up under heat so you need to let the turkey rest to allow it to relax and become moist and tender.
  • Let the turkey out of the roasting tray and let the juices drain into the tray.
  • Wrap the turkey in a couple of layers of tin foil and then wrap a couple of tea towels over the turkey and set it to one side. The turkey will stay hot for a few hours so don't worry!
  • Allow at least 30 minutes for the meat to rest.
  • Pour yourself a glass of wine, you deserve it!
  • while the turkey is resting, get your roast veg in the oven.

Now for the Gravy...

You've done the hard work, you've got the potential to really impress your guests with the best gravy they Will have ever tasted, so don't go and cheat by using Bisto now...

  • Take the roasting tray, with all it's sticky roasted goodness, onions, carrots, garlic, giblets, turkey juices, butter and bacon fat that's left in the bottom, place the tray on the hob and start heating it up.
  • Spoon of some of the fat that will be on the surface, but not all of it, leave a bit as it adds to the flavour.
  • Sprinkle over a couple of table spoons of flour and stir it in. As the pan comes up to the boil it will start to thicken the sauce.
  • Take a potato masher and squash down all the veg and giblets to release all the flavour, keep squashing the veg down and mixing it together, working those sticky burnt on pieces off of the pan.
  • Add a couple of spoonfuls of cranberry sauce and mash this in with the veg.
  • add some chicken stock, or water and let it simmer, keep stirring and allow it to thicken up.
  • One the gravy has thickened up, take it off the heat and strain through a sieve to remove all the mushed up veg, giblets and garlic.
  • Pour into a gravy boat/jug and you have the easiest but best tasting gravy.

Unwrap the turkey, remove the meat from the bone and slice up.

Plate up your beautifully most and tender turkey, serve witha generous portion of roast veg and lashing of gravy.

Sit back, enjoy and soak up the appreciation as everyone loves your magnificent meal!