The Big Meal
Ah Christmas dinner. The best meal of the year.
For the past 3 years i've been cooking the Christmas roast, my mum tries but she's no good in the kitchen, and i'm a trained chef.
So i thought i'd give a detailed post about what i do so others can comment and tell us what you do for the Big Meal.
large roasting tin x 2
rectangular casserole dish
2kg potatoes (Maris Piper)
1 medium swede
1 celery head
2 large red onions
2 bulbs garlic
500g unsalted butter
malden sea salt
12 pork chipolatas
12 rashers smoked streaky bacon
250g goose fat
extra virgin olive oil
I start preparations on Christmas Eve. I get rid of everything that doesn't need to be in the kitchen to make space for everything. I love to stick on some Christmas songs while i'm doing this and maybe have a glass of wine.
I get the turkey out of the fridge ready so the temperature comes up a bit first.
I peel and wash the potatoes and cut them into normal roast potato sized chunks and leave them to soak in water. Once they've soaked i par-boil them in salted water in the stock pot until they're nicely blanched but not cooked through. I then drain them and let them steam off in the colander. They then go into the first of the roasting trays with a handful of unpeeled garlic cloves and some rosemary, a few pinches of sea salt and blck pepper and i then pour the goose fat over and mix it all up with a spoon. This tin can now be foiled ready to go in the fridge.
First thing to do is prepare the veg trivet. I peel and chop roughly 3 large carrots, de-string and chop roughly 3 celery sticks and quarter the onions. They go straight into the roasting tin. I remove the wings from the turkey with my cleaver and they go into the tin as well with a couple of bulbs of garlic.
Now i put the butter (which has been left out to reach room temperature), add a good pinch of salt and pepper, grate half a nutmeg and the zest of an orange and mix it up with a fork. This then goes into an icing bag.
The next step is to separate the skin from the breasts of the turkey using the spatula so the butter can be piped into the gaps and spread all round in between the meat and the skin, this gives a gorgeous juicy meat and crispy skin. Now the turkey is salted and placed in the roasting tin on top of the veg/wings.
Then i take a few springs of thyme, the orange (halved) and whatever other herbs i feel like using on the day, maybe half a lemon, and stuff them in the cavity.
I drizzle some olive oil over the top and cover with foil, this goes in the fridge.
3. Pigs in blankets.
Next up is a personal favourite of mine, chipolatas wrapped in amazing bacon with sage.
First step is to drizzle olive oil into the casserole and throw a load of sage leaves in, mixed them up with the oil to bring out their flavour. Then take a rasher and spread it out with the back of the knife, wrap it around a chipolata placing a couple of sage leaves in as well, repeat it with the rest and place them in the casserole dish, drizzle a bit more oil and cover with foil, also goes in the fridge.
4. Carrots & Swede
All that needs doing on Christmas Eve is to peel the veg and leave in water over night to soak.
That's it for Christmas Eve prep and the main jobs are done for the meal ready.
In the next post i'll move on to Christmas Day.:carve:
1kg Maris Piper potatoes
Batter mix: (flour, milk, egg, water, salt, oil)
50ml whole milk
2l chicken stock
At about 7am get the turkey out of the fridge, leave it out for around an hour to reach room temperature. In the meantime preheat the oven to gas mark 4 (180C).
First things first, once the oven's preheated the turkey goes in.
Then there's not much else for a couple of hours.
Next: (about 2 hours before serving time)
Carrot & Swede.
Drain off the carrot and swede, chop up roughly into fairly large pieces and bring to the boil in salted water without a lid. After about 35-40 minutes it should be ready. Drain off, place into a metal mixing bowl. Add 100g butter, a pinch of salt and black pepper and mash with a masher until it's a nice texture. Foil the top of the bowl and place the bowl on top of a stock pot filled with water and leave on the hob as a bain marie. This will keep it hot but won't ruin it.
Next (about 1 hour to serving time)
Peel and clean 1kg of potatoes, soak and cut into small pieces, bring to boil in salted water, after 35 minutes drain/steam off and add 100g butter, 50ml whole milk and season well. Mash with a masher and foil off ready, keep warm the same as the carrots and swede mash.
Once the turkey's nearly ready, the roast potatoes go in the oven, then the turkey comes out. Put the oven up to full heat.
when the potatoes have been in for 20 minutes te turkey comes out and the pigs in blankets go in.
Put the turkey on a large cutting board, cover with foil and some tea towels, place the roasting tin on the hob. This will make an amazing gravy. Skim off 90% of the fat from the juices in the roasting tin and then heat gently, add 2 tbsps of plain flour and mix with the roasted veg/wings etc. in the tin, then add the stock and leave to reduce on the heat. Once it's reached a nice consistency, remove the veg/wings and strain through a sieve into a large serving jug/gravy boat. (I use a large steel cafetiere)
Take the foil off the pigs in blankets and put them in on the middle shelf of the oven below the potatoes.
Time to carve the turkey.
The Christmas roast is the time to use the best stuff so i like to use the special knife/fork here. I have a 12 year old 10" Wusthof carving knife and matching carving fork, brilliant for the job. It helps if you remove the wishbone first, or better still get the butcher to do it before you buy it.
Now mix up the batter (milk, flour, eggs, water, salt - recipe to follow later) to make yorkshire puddings. Pour some oil in each of the cups of the pudding tray and place in the oven until the oil is smoking, then add the mix, put in the oven for 5-7 minutes until the mix has risen high and turned golden brown.
By now everything should be ready to serve.
**Note there's no stuffing on this because we don't like it in my family, but i will add a recipe for amazing stuffing later.
Also to come are steamed veg with individual flavoured butters, roast spiced butternut squash and some nice dessert ideas.
I typed this up in notepad and missed the starting bit when i copied/pasted :lol:
here it is:
Right, time for the big day.
The great thing about this method is that it leaves loads of time on Christmas Day spare and you don't spend most of the day in the kitchen.
Saucepans x 3
yorkshire pudding tray
good strong carving knife
Since we spend Christmas Eve and other days close by outside of the house at family get togethers, our big meal does not happen on Christmas Day. We have so many leftovers given to us that my wife and kids just nibble all day long on them. However I treat myself to a pot of homemade oyster stew. I just sorta know the ingredients and how much to use. They are:
Half & Half and regular milk
onions & celery chopped and sauteed
cans of shucked oysters in juice
black pepper, cayenne pepper and celery salt to taste
That is good stuff right there and since my family only likes to sample the broth a little, most of it goes in my belly.
I'll probably be doing something similar this year, with maybe a few tweaks so i'll post an updated one soon.
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