Chef Adrian's tips for a perfect Christmas dinner
The first thing to remember about cooking Christmas dinner this year is not to stress out, it’s just another Sunday roast.
Why don’t you try get some prep done the day before, like making your soup, having the dessert ready and peeling and chopping all your vegetables? You want to relax and enjoy yourself on Christmas day, so delegate out the different jobs.
10 Tips for cooking your turkey
- Turkey breast can be lean so covering the breast with strips of bacon or prosciutto will help keep the moisture in and add extra flavour.
- It’s really important that you never wash your turkey, as this spreads germs everywhere. You can rub butter over the bird and under the skin to help flavour the turkey and the skin and season it with salt and pepper.
- Be sure that before and after you handle your turkey, you wash your hands with warm soapy water and dry with a clean towel.
- Always baste the turkey during the cooking process, I advise every hour.
- Sit the bird on a bed of vegetables, such as carrots, celery and onion. This creates a wonderful base for making gravy and you can keep the cooking juices from the roasting tin to make your gravy – delicious!
- A turkey will cook more evenly if it is not over stuffed, consider loosely filling the cavity with garlic and thyme, or small wedges of lemon or clementine. Over-stuffing will mean the heat won’t get to the centre and your turkey won’t cook.
- Always allow the turkey to rest before you serve. Do this by covering with tin foil and then with a couple of tea towels. This will ensure the bird can rest without losing too much heat and it also allows all the juice back into the bird for a moist turkey.
- Leftover turkey should be covered and stored in the fridge within two hours of cooking. Before storing it, allow it to cool.
- You can help it cool down by removing all the meat from the carcass and cutting it into smaller pieces. Store in an air tight container in the fridge.
- Remember to use up the carcass, you can make stock for soup.
10 tips for carving your turkey
- Make sure your knife is very sharp.
- Hold the turkey secure with a large fork.
- Cut the skin between the thigh and the breast.
- Bend the thigh outwards, cut through the hip joint, removing whole leg.
- Separate the thigh from the drumstick.
- Cut towards wing, cut through the wing joint.
- Hold the fork against the side of the breast.
- Slice evenly starting at the neck cavity.
- Lift the slices off with the fork and knife.
- Check your turkey is cooked by making sure: there is no pink meat, it is piping hot and the juices run clear. If you have a meat thermometer you can check the meat is safe to eat by inserting a clean thermometer probe into the thickest part of the meat or poultry and checking the temperature at has reached 75ºC.