Chefs have tricks which can put you in the driving seat on Christmas Day
If you can’t have a glass of wine while preparing Christmas dinner you are doing something wrong
Honey-glazed roasted carrots. Blanching carrots and parsnips and then placing them in an oven tray ready for roasting puts you in a good place.
Hopefully by now you’re all set up with your turkey, ham, vegetables, and all the other peripheral food and drink items that you might need to keep you going while the shops are closed for one day. As I have a said over the last few weeks, Christmas cooking is all about timing and planning. Don’t try and finish everything at once or it will turn into a monumental mess.
Beginning the day before (Christmas Eve), make whatever dessert you want to have. Prepare the turkey and ham for cooking Christmas morning, doing this before midday if you plan to eat in early afternoon. Allowing 3-4 hours to cook the turkey and ham will give you ample time to get all the rest of the sides done.
Do prepare your potatoes ahead of time. If roasting them off, why not add them to the turkey for the last 45 minutes, basting them in the beautifully turkey fat. Why buy duck fat when you can use the lovely fatty juices that stream from the turkey while cooking?
I think a great way to get your vegetables out of the way is to blanch them in boiling water until al dente and then refresh in ice water. This will take the stress out of trying to get everything ready for the same time. It’s a technique we use in the restaurant particularly when we’re using a lot of root vegetables, which take a little longer to cook.
Blanching carrots and parsnips and then placing them in an oven tray ready for roasting puts you in the driving seat. Drizzle with a little oil and honey and garnish with some thyme.
If you can’t have a glass of wine while preparing Christmas dinner you are doing something wrong.
Cooking for any occasion, especially Christmas, should be fun and enjoyable. Just don’t throw yourself any curve balls on the day. Decide what you’re going to do, write a list, research your recipes, make a hourly plan for the day, and then go with it.
As I said before, cooking everything simply and well is better than trying to become the next MasterChef.