... for many, preparing the big meal on Christmas Day can be a little stressful. If you’re expecting the hoards to descend then there’s a lot to do and many people don’t realise that it’s not just the day itself, there’s a lot of preparation that goes into such a large meal and if you’ve never cooked a traditional Christmas turkey before it can be rather daunting. For me, preparation is the key. You really don’t want to be peeling veg or have a million pots on the boil 5 minutes before everyone sits down - juggling gravy-making with mashing potatoes. So many of the vegetables, the stuffing and the pudding can be prepped the day or days before and remember that a large turkey needs to rest for at least 45 minutes before serving and it will keep very warm during this period if wrapped with foil and covered in a tea-towel, so this will give you the time to do all the other little bits and bobs… but what I find really helps is a large glass of wine and enough oven and hob space to help you manage the cooking. My new Leisure Range Cooker is perfect for this. It has two ovens, one of which is a tall fan-assisted oven that takes all the vegetables I want to roast and means I can leave the turkey alone in the regular oven to do it’s thing and it also has 5 rings of heat so I can fit quite a bit on top... it is, after-all, supposed to be a day of fun and enjoyment for everyone and that includes the chef!
The good folk at Leisure have asked me and the lovely Kate at Veggie Desserts to create two very different Christmas Day meals which will truly show off our range-cookers. Katie is creating a stunning alternative Christmas Feast whilst I have been given the task of making a traditional Christmas Day lunch. I've created a three course meal, the starter and pudding I will share with you later in the week but for today's post, as a special kick-off to December I'm kicking off with the big moment... the turkey
I really do love turkey and I’ve never really had an issue with it drying out. I’ve used this method – placing the stuffing under the skin on the breast, to great success as it keeps the breast meat really succulent. You’ll need to watch it though because it does tend to brown quicker that the rest of the skin, so you can cover it with foil whilst the rest of the turkey is browning. I used my standard fan-assisted oven for the roasting, leaving the tall oven in my Leisure Range Cooker to do all the veg.
Now, when I took on the commission from Leisure I hadn't really thought how impossible a task it would be to buy a fresh turkey in October! I searched every butcher in our local town and all the major supermarkets but none could be found... In the end I had to plump for a frozen bird which i've never done before but I have to say that other than the two year period it took to defrost it was deliciously moist and I do wonder if the freezing helped?
I prepped my turkey and stuffing the night before, wrapped it in foil and placed the whole thing in the fridge... if you do this, don't forget to take the bird out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before roasting...
For the Pork, Apricot, Sage and Onion Stuffing
1 onion – grated
- 3 teaspoons dried sage
- 500g Lincolnshire sausage meat
- 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs