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.