COOK up a Christmas storm with my simple tips for a no-stress meal. Bag a great deal on meat, then make a meal to remember for all the right reasons.
With top turkey tips, and advice on getting ready in advance, the Christmas cook can enjoy the day as much as everyone else.
The night before Christmas
YOU can prepare lots in the days before the big one. Here are some tips from Morrisons’ Richard Jones to get ahead.
Parboil carrots and sprouts in salted water until just cooked, then refresh in ice-cold water, drain and refrigerate overnight. Reheat by dropping in boiling water for one minute.
Roast potatoes and parsnips a few days before. Allow to cool thoroughly then place in freezer bags and freeze until Christmas.
They then can be reheated from frozen in around 45 minutes.
Gravy can be pre-made and frozen. Just boil and add meat juices to finish.
Make Yorkshire pudding mix the day before and keep in the fridge overnight. On Christmas Day, bake them before you do anything else, then pop them onto a baking tray to reheat five minutes before serving.
FOLLOW these tips from Morrisons chef Richard Jones for a no-stress turkey lunch.
If you buy a frozen turkey, allow plenty of time to defrost it in the fridge – don’t leave it too late, depending on size it could take a couple of days.
When roasting a turkey, cook in a preheated oven at 190C℃ (170C℃ fan) or gas mark 5.
Calculate the weight of your bird after stuffing. As a rule, allow 20 minutes per kilo plus 70 minutes to cook a turkey weighing less than 4kg. Allow 20 minutes per kilo plus 90 minutes for a turkey weighing more than 4kg.
These timings also work for a turkey crown.
To check your turkey is cooked through, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh. If the juices run clear, the turkey is cooked. If they are pink, return to the oven and check every 20 minutes until they run clear.
Leave your turkey to stand for at least 30 minutes after cooking to let the juices settle.
Classic turkey: For a great all-rounder, Morrisons fresh whole turkey is £3 per kilo.
Free range: Lidl’s medium British Broadland free- range Bronze turkey is £5.95 per kilo and weighs around four to six kilos.
British beef: If you’ve had too much of turkey, tuck into a British beef roasting joint from Morrisons, now less than half price, down from £11.50 per kilo to £5.
Luscious lamb: Fans of lamb can get a whole leg joint for half price at Tesco, now £5.50.
Easy does it: For a no-fuss meal Asda ready-to-roast turkey breast joint with pork, sage & onion stuffing and a bacon lattice is £10.
Easy carve: Tuck into a turkey crown at Morrisons, £7 per kilo.
Juicy goose: Ring the festive changes with a Gressingham whole goose (typical weight 4.25kg) from Asda, £38.25.
Ready stuffed: Enjoy a free-range Bronze feathered turkey crown with pork, gingerbread & apricot stuffing and a sticky maple glaze, £55 from Waitrose.
Ham it up: Get a fifth off Waitrose beech-smoked gammon joint, now £14.50 down from £18.13.
BUY a 2.5kg bag of Maris Piper potatoes, perfect for roasties, from Morrisons as part of its three-for-£1 deal on veg. Bag a kilo of carrots and 500g parsnips to complete the festive line-up.
Get a cauliflower at Tesco for 29p, down from £1, as part of its “festive five” deal, with five veg for 29p each. Just add cheese sauce.
Buy a fresh head of broccoli for 40p at Marks & Spencer, which has a range of festive vegetables at that price.
Christmas isn’t complete without red cabbage and you can get one for just 19p at Aldi in this week’s “super six” deal on fresh vegetables.
Save 25p on Sainsbury’s super-sweet Chantenay carrots, 500g, now 65p.
One prep ahead
SAVE time with these ready-prepped veg dishes.
Enjoy Morrisons The Best Butternut Squash, Beetroot & Cheese, 400g, £2.
Save 75p on Aunt Bessie’s Glazed Roast Parsnips, 500g, at Sainsbury’s, now £1.
Buy two for £3 on Morrisons The Best Goose-Fat Roast Potatoes, 560g, £2.
Serve up Lidl Honey & Mustard Roast Parsnips, £1.99.
For a Christmas classic, Asda Red Cabbage & Apple with a Mulled Wine Sauce, 400g, was £2, now £1.75.
No meat? No problem… Vegetable Strudel with Spiced Cranberry & Orange Sauce – recipe
GET ahead by prepping this dish the night before. Follow steps one and two, then layer the stuffing and cheese on clingfilm and roll it up tightly into a sausage shape and chill.
You can finish the strudel a few hours in advance. Brush it with melted butter again before cooking.
- 225g cranberries;
- 1 orange, juice and zest, finely grated;
- 3 tbsp cranberry juice;
- 175g caster sugar;
- 125g butter;
- 1 tbsp olive oil;
- 1 red onion, peeled and chopped;
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped;
- 1 leek, trimmed and thinly sliced;
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped;
- 200g chestnuts, cooked and finely chopped;
- 150g breadcrumbs;
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and diced;
- 1 small handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped;
- 2 tbsp thyme, chopped;
- 3 eggs, beaten;
- 280g artichokes in sunflower oil, drained;
- 220g filo pastry;
- 125g soft goat’s cheese.
- Sprig of parsley to serve.
METHOD: First make the cranberry sauce by placing the cranberries, orange juice and zest, cranberry juice, sugar and 5 tbsp water in a pan. Simmer for five minutes until the berries start to pop and the sugar has dissolved, then put aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Heat 25g of the butter and all the oil and cook the onion, garlic, leek and red pepper for seven minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened but not coloured.
Remove from the heat and stir in the chestnuts, breadcrumbs, apples, herbs, eggs and artichokes until well combined. Season.
Unroll the filo and cover with a damp cloth to stop it drying out.
Melt the remaining butter. Brush a sheet of pastry with butter, cover with another sheet and repeat until you have six layers.
Spread half the stuffing across the centre of the filo, dot with goat’s cheese, then cover with the remaining stuffing and wrap it all up. Lay seam-side-down on a baking sheet, tucking the ends under. Brush with melted butter.
Brush three more sheets of pastry with butter and scrunch on top of the parcel. Cover the strudel with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for a further 20 minutes until golden.
Serve with the cranberry sauce and garnish with a sprig of parsley.
Sautéed Brussels sprouts with pecans – recipe (serves six)
- 150g pecans;
- 1kg Brussels sprouts;
- 1 tbsp olive oil;
- 15g butter
METHOD: Toast the pecans in the oven for five minutes. Cut the sprouts into halves or quarters, depending on their size, then steam for five minutes until just tender.
Heat the oil and butter in a large frying pan and stir-fry the sprouts for about 5 minutes until they begin to brown.
Add the toasted pecans and toss to combine.
Join the sprout revolution
BANISH memories of soggy sprouts and give these dishes a festive twist.
Asda Extra-Special frozen Brussels sprouts with bacon, £2.
Save 50p on Strong Roots Frozen Chargrilled Sprouts, 425g, at Sainsbury’s, now £2.50.
Iceland Tempura Brussels Sprouts, 300g, are £2.
Tesco Frozen Sprouts with Chestnuts & Bacon, 500g, are £2.50.
Maple-roasted roots – recipe (serves eight)
- 800g carrots;
- 800g parsnips;
- 300g shallots;
- 3 tbsp maple syrup;
- 3 tbsp sunflower oil;
- a pinch ground cloves;
- 1 thyme sprig.
METHOD: Heat oven to 200C/ 180C fan/gas 6. Place the vegetables in a large mixing bowl.
Drizzle with the maple syrup and sunflower oil, sprinkle with the cloves and season to taste. Toss together well and transfer to a large roasting tin.
Roast for 40 minutes, turning the vegetables halfway through the cooking time. Just before serving, scatter with thyme.