It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The fridge is stocked, the decorations are up and there’s cheer all around, unless you’ve got to cook Christmas lunch. So, who better to offer up some advice than those who have cooked 100s of Christmas dinners? Whilst we can’t loan you a chef for the day, we’ve done the next best thing and consulted the experts, celeb and Peachy chefs, for their top tips this Christmas to sleigh your guests and give them a Christmas lunch they’ll never fir-get. (Sorry)
- Plan ahead to reduce the stress as much as possible, this will give you plenty of time to enjoy the day with loved ones instead of weeping over the stove with a glass of wine.
- Prep all of the vegetables the day before; sprouts, roasted roots, potatoes etc, especially if you are cooking for a dozen or more people.
- So much can be done before in the days leading up to Christmas, the gravy, the vegetables…
Shop the big stuff online and save the fresh stuff to the last minute – Jamie Oliver
- This way you can get the bulk of the shopping out of the way early, avoiding the crowds and the last minute dash but also making sure you have the best of the best.
Get your meat from your local butcher – Trevor Blake, Peach Pubs
- Knowing that your meat has been fed and raised right is important, always try and buy free-range!
‘Rein’-deer it in… – Clive Dixon, Peach Pubs
- Disasters tend to happen when you do too much, the flavours can take attention away from the centre piece. Let it be a centre piece. Pay money for good meat and don’t add too many flavours resulting in a distastes.
Get those drinks in the fridge early – Marco Pierre White
- Make sure you get the white and fizz in the fridge a few days before the big day so that it’s nice and chilled when the time comes.
- Make or buy chicken stock for a show-stopping gravy. – Trevor Blake, Peach Pubs
- Or, follow Jamie Oliver’s recipe.
Cook you turkey low and slow – Heston Blumenthal
- Make sure your turkey won’t become dry, by cooking it for longer than you normally would, but at a lower temperature. Keep your eye on it as the skin will crisp very quickly.
Rest your turkey for the same length of time you cooked it for – James Durrant, Peach Pubs
- This will increase the tenderness, don’t be scared to let it rest for a decent amount of time, the birds are big enough that they will retain the heat.
If you’re doing Turkey, brine that bird! – Clive Dixon, Peach Pubs
- Whip the legs off and do them in a different preparation, concentrate on just cooking the crown, the BBQ is great for this. No legs on the bird means that you can focus and the meat won’t become dry.
Parboil the potatoes in salted water – James Durrant, Peach Pubs
- Very important to parboil your potatoes in heavily salted water, until just under cooked. Then give them a nice shake before putting them in a nice big tray in the oven.
Enlist a sous chef – Trevor Blake, Peach Pubs
- Get some help in the kitchen to keep on top of the washing up and clearing away. Meaning more time to relax after lunch with a sherry in hand.
So, there you have it, all you need to know for a stress-free Christmas lunch from the experts. But most importantly just believe in your ‘elf’ and enjoy it, it’s Christmas after all.