How to Perfect Your Christmas Dinner
There’s no denying it, the highlight of Christmas is the food. There’s no better excuse to stuff yourselves silly and cram as much food as you can onto your plate.
So, to help you, Tesco have come up with a few helpful tips and recipes to make your Christmas dinner perfect this year.
1. Get Ahead!
Take the pressure off on Christmas morning by prepping your veggies ahead of time. Peel and chop the potatoes, leaving them overnight in a saucepan of water in the fridge. Slice your veggies and store in plastic containers in the fridge so they’re ready and waiting when you come to cook the next day. Make the most of your freezer with this make-ahead creamy mash with chives and tasty caramelised onions.
2. The Centrepiece
Whether you’re going classic with a Roast Turkey, or prefer to put a spin on your Christmas dinner, to get the best results, make sure you treat your centrepiece with care and attention. If you’re having meat, always bring it out to room temperature before putting it into a preheated oven, as this will ensure an even cook. If you’re opting for a roast chicken this year, get the perfect crispy chicken skin by patting the skin dry before cooking, rubbing with salt to draw out moisture and avoiding basting during cooking.
If you’re not sure how to cook your Roast Turkey to perfection, no matter! Tesco have the perfect recipe for you.
For the turkey:
5kg Tesco fresh turkey
50g butter, at room temperature
1 lemon, quartered
5 rosemary sprigs
3 large onions, finely sliced
For the stuffing:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions peeled and chopped
125g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped in a food processor
100g dried cranberries
rind of 2 oranges and juice of 1 orange
freshly ground black pepper
For the gravy:
250g onions, peeled and coarsely sliced
pinch cumin seeds
1 tbsp organic cocoa powder
2 tbsp clear honey
1 tbsp plain flour
250ml red wine, preferably Merlot
1 turkey or vegetable stock cube, made up to 300ml
- Preheat the oven to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C. Rub the turkey all over with butter and sprinkle with sea salt. Place the lemon pieces and rosemary inside the cavity.
- Place the onion halves in a large flameproof roasting tin and sit the turkey on top. Cover with kitchen foil, tucking under the tin to create a foil tent. Roast according to the instructions (about 3 hr 30 minutes), but remove the foil 30 minutes before the end and cook until the turkey is golden.
- Meanwhile, make the stuffing. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onions for 4 to 5 minutes until transparent. Place in a bowl and add all the remaining ingredients. Mix and season well. Place in a shallow, ovenproof dish and set aside.
- Remove the cooked turkey from the oven. To test that the meat is cooked, pierce the fattest part of the thigh with a skewer. The juices should run clear.
- Add the stuffing to the oven and cook for 35-40 minutes until golden.
- Remove the turkey from the roasting tin and set aside to rest for 30 minutes, covered loosely with foil. Skim the excess fat off the juices, then add the onions and cumin seeds to the roasting tin.
- Fry gently until the onions are tender. Add the cocoa powder, honey and enough flour to absorb the juices and remaining fat. Cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Gradually stir in the wine and stock and bring to a simmer. Adjust seasoning to taste, then cook the gravy for 5-10 minutes. Serve with the turkey and stuffing.
3. Super Spuds!
No Christmas dinner is complete without roast potatoes, and we’ve got all the tips you need to make sure your roasties are perfectly crisp. Choose Maris Pipers as they’re floury enough to give a fluffy middle, but they crisp up nicely too. It’s essential to parboil the potatoes to speed up the cooking process and give a fluffy, soft interior. When choosing your oil, pick one with a high smoke point and neutral flavour, such as sunflower or vegetable oil. For extra flavour and crispiness, try goose fat.
Adding a few tbsps of flour to parboiled potatoes absorbs moisture and allows the spuds to really crisp up in the oil. You can freeze the potatoes after parboiling and shaking – open-freeze them on a tray, then transfer to a freezer bag, ready to be cooked straight from frozen. To roast, select a heat that’s not too low or they won’t brown and crisp, but also not too high or they’ll burn without cooking through. For alternative festive roasties, try these zesty sweet potatoes with rosemary.
4. The Perfect Yorkies
A side dish worth fighting over, especially on Christmas day, make sure there are plenty for seconds by making your own Yorkshire puddings from scratch. For perfect crispiness, position a shelf high up in the oven (before you put the oil and tin in), leaving about 10cm for the Yorkies to rise, so they don’t hit the top of the oven. Don’t skimp on the oil – the bases of the tin need to be covered to ensure an even rise. Use vegetable oil or any fat with a high smoking point: try beef dripping for flavour or lard for crispiness. Yorkshires need lots of heat to rise, so don’t be tempted to open the door when they’re cooking as it may cause them to sink. The more ‘puddingy’ they are, the more likely a collapse. Look for golden, crisp middles before removing from the oven. Vegan? Don’t miss out – try these dairy-free Yorkshires for an easy alternative.
5. Glorious Gravy
Gravy is essential for a Christmas dinner. Traditionally made by combining the meat juices in the roasting pan with flour and wine, good gravy can make your festive dinner sing. Learn how to make gravy for any roast, or get ahead with this veggie red onion gravy which can be frozen until needed. For a new twist, this cider gravy is great for pairing with pork, or, for a meat- and dairy-free version, try this tasty vegan gravy.
6. Pub-Style Crackling
Are you going with Pork this Christmas? Golden, crispy and full of flavour, pork crackling is a real Christmas treat.
Get the perfect crunchiness with Tesco’s ultimate roast pork with crackling recipe and use their expert tips to make sure it’s right every time. The cut of pork is important, and Tesco recommend pork leg as there’s a good layer of skin to crisp up, and the fat keeps the meat from drying out, meaning you can cook it at a high temperature long enough to get super-crunchy crackling. Make sure the skin is dry so the oil sticks to it and score the skin so some of the fat is released during roasting which bastes the skin and crisps it up. Add salt to draw water out of the skin, giving a fantastic crunch, and use a little vegetable oil to make the skin puff at a high temperature and prevent it drying out. Use a high heat to start the ‘puffing’ process, before reducing the heat to ensure the pork cooks evenly.
7. Side Dishes with Style!
Christmas dinner just wouldn’t be complete without its side dishes. Whether you enjoy brussel sprouts, swede or even cabbage come Christmas, Tesco has all of the recipes you need to put a festive twist on your side dishes, guaranteed to give them some style.
Upgrade your favourite Christmas side dishes with these winning ideas that really make veg the star. For flavour in a flash, add this roasted garlic and herb butter to your veg for an instant boost. Learn how to make the ultimate cauliflower cheese, and add a zesty twist to brighten up seared cabbage. Miso adds a delicious spin on baked parsnips, crumbly feta delivers cheesy tanginess to fennel-roasted carrots and a sprinkle of chilli brings a real kick to charred Tenderstem broccoli.
8. Finish with a Sauce
Whether you like the kick of wholegrain mustard or the full-on fruity flavour of apple sauce, condiments are the perfect partner to your Christmas dinner. Why not try making a creamy bread sauce. And no roast lamb is complete without classic mint sauce, and it’s so easy to make your own. For new twists this festive season, serve chicken with a fiery chilli sauce or try beef with a vibrant roasted garlic sauce.