For most families around the world, Christmas day is about one thing: the food. For many, this is the pivotal point in the day; the moment when everyone comes together and the one meal in the year where it’s socially acceptable to eat yourself into a total food coma. And if that’s the goal, follow this.
The meat centres your entire meal, so it’s essential to make sure that you’re getting this right. If you’re going traditional and cooking turkey, seek the advice of the butcher – a professional will be able to give you the right amount of meat per person rather than you just playing a guessing game in the supermarket aisle. If there’s less than 10 of you, go for the crown. First, allow the bird to get to room temperature and whilst doing so, make sure you (or a manlier man) removes all of the innards, particularly the giblets. Then, it’s time to add the stuffing (more on that later). Depending on the size of the bird, you’ll need to leave plenty of time for roasting. To allow the breast to stay as moist as possible, slather the outside in rosemary, olive oil and a tonne of butter, and roast it breast-down. Make sure that you’re basting regularly – and do not allow the turkey to burn.
If you want your meat to be as tasteful and bold as possible, the key is perfecting the stuffing. Once you’ve nailed this – and stuffed it in all the right places – you’re guaranteed to make your bird ten times more delicious. For the perfect stuffing (bought to you by none other than Mary Berry), you can’t go wrong with a traditional sausage and sage recipe. Remember also, it’s always best to make as much as possible as people love eating this on the side of their meal, too.
What you'll need
- 40g/1½oz butter, plus extra for greasing
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 700g/1lb 9oz pork sausage meat
- 150g/5½oz fresh white breadcrumbs
- 1 large unwaxed lemon, juice and finely grated zest
- 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
Fry the onion until it browns. Once it’s cooked add the rest of the ingredients (bar the sausage meat) into the pan and stir it all together. Then, roll the sausage meat (and all of the now-cooked ingredients) into a size where they fit into the palm of your hand (make sure you have wet hands for this part). Store these in the fridge for half an hour to help them stick to their shape, then bring them out, fry them until they are golden on each side and bake until they are cooked through.
Pigs in blankets
No Christmas meal is complete without these, so make sure that you’ve got plenty to give. If you’re feeling lazy, almost every single supermarket will sell them pre-prepared. But if time is on your side, buy plenty of mini sausages, chop good quality bacon to wrap around them and bake for 30 minutes, ensuring that you turn them over halfway.
The perfect roast potatoes
Goose fat, gentlemen, goose fat. And lots of salt. With those two things, you’re going to make the most delicious potatoes in the world – trust us. As with the pigs in blankets, make sure that you’ve got more than enough to go around. For the perfect taste, heat up the goose fat first and then put the potatoes in the pan while the fat’s hot. Cover with plenty of salt and keep turning over for maximum crunch.
The vegetables you use are up to you, but going for a tradition parsnip and carrot combination is bound to be a winner, cooked with plenty of oil, salt and a little bit of goose fat if you’re feeling extravagant. If you want to go one step further, add brussels, but don’t boil them. If you cook sprouts properly, they are going to be delicious. Fry them up with plenty of oil and salt, adding in lardons and hazelnuts as you go – a surefire winner, we promise.