Christmas dinner: How to get your turkeys in a row
Over the years AliKats have served up a lot of Christmas dinners! This year we will be cooking around
8 turkeys, 25 kilos of potatoes and over 300 Brussel sprouts!
We know there are lots of components that go into creating this festive feast, plus a big dollop of
pressure to bring it all together whilst still smiling and sipping sherry. If you’re head chef in your home
kitchen for Christmas day, we’ve put together a few tips and tricks to help keep you from losing your
marbles under the Christmas tree.
1) Serve a cold starter
Alternate between hot and cold to keep things simple when cooking for a crowd. There are tonnes of
creative variations of the classic fish appetisers of smoked mackerel pate, prawns or smoked salmon
that can be put together in no time.
2) Freeze ahead
Freeze a few things ahead, like the stuffing, gravy stock and bread sauce. Then remember to thaw
them out in good time before cooking. Your turkey will need 10-12 hours per kilo in the fridge, or two
hours per kilo at room temperature – but the fridge is best.
3) Make space in the oven
If cooking for a large number, you might be wondering how you will fit everything in your normal sized
oven with your huge bird. A big turkey will need to rest before you can carve and serve it. Wrap well in
tin foil and let it rest for an hour, have your parboiled potatoes and vegetables ready to go straight in
the oven at this point, and your oven space disaster is averted.
4) Don’t let the trimmings trip you up
Don’t overwhelm yourself (or your guests) with too many side dishes; pigs in blankets, stuffing, roast
potatoes and a couple of vegetable options are the basic essentials to accompany your turkey for this
5) Serve gravy hot
It’s a common mistake to let the gravy cool down whilst serving up. Try to serve it hot and it will warm
up the whole plate, which is useful if your side dishes have had chance to cool down a bit in the last
few minutes as your guests get seated.
6) Carve away from the table
Carving meat can be messy and takes a bit of skill, so unless you or someone in your crowd has top
notch carving abilities, save you’re carving for the kitchen. By all means bring your lovingly prepared
turkey to the table to show your guests what a great job you’ve done, but then whip it back out of sight
to carve in peace.
7) Create a classic cheeseboard
A beautiful cheese platter is a great way to finish off your meal. Keep it simple and classic with just
four good quality cheeses: a soft, blue, hard cheese and something a bit interesting like a local or
goat’s cheese will do the trick. Serve with dried dates, a few walnuts, fresh grapes, chutney and
8) Start veg early
Potatoes, parsnips and carrots can be prepared the day before and refrigerated ready for cooking the
next day. Par-boil the sprouts, drain and cool, before transferring to the fridge. You can also fry your
bacon and combine with pre-cooked, peeled chestnuts ready to assemble with your sprouts in a dish
and roast together on Christmas day.
9) Write a plan
Don’t try to keep all this in your head! Check out our Christmas dinner planner which you can print out
and stick on the fridge (or if you’re a proud chef, hide somewhere the in-laws won’t see it).
10) Recruit an elf or two
It’s not just Santa who deserves a few helpers. Delegate a few jobs and you’ll be all the better for it.
Follow these tips and you should stand in good stead for a feast fit for Santa.
Wishing you tender turkey, juicy gravy and scrumptious stuffing!
Merry Christmas from the AliKats’ Kitchen!
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