CHRISTMAS DINNER ESSENTIALS AND TIPS
Whether you’re a seasoned Christmas dinner cook or a novice when it comes to turkey and all the trimmings, our tips from chef and food writer Florence Knight can help you get the big meal just right.
Chef and food writer
For outstanding flavour, buy a good-quality Norfolk Bronze or Norfolk Black turkey.
Look for a little line of fat down the side of the bird, which is what adds flavour. Use streaky bacon to cover the breasts and fill it with a good stuffing. The fat and fragrance will melt into the flesh, making it even moister. And make sure you do lots of basting – it’ll make all the difference.
The best way to prepare the turkey is to brine it the day before in a mix of water, sugar, salt and herbs.
This makes it more challenging to achieve a crisp skin, but the result it tender, plump and moist meat.
Look for King Edward or Yukon Gold potatoes.
Peel and parboil them in heavily salted water, then drain and return to the pan with the lid on to steam for 10 minutes. Bash them up a little and leave in the fridge covered, for up to two days, before roasting.
Start collecting bread ends for the sauce ahead of Christmas Day.
It’s best to infuse the milk with onion, bay leaves and black peppercorns in advance and leave it in the fridge.
Choose small sprouts rather than the golf ball-sized ones.
The larger ones are tough and by the time they’re cooked, they’re usually soggy and tasteless. I like to look for sprouts still on the stalk as they’ll keep far better if left in a cool spot. Seek out sprout tops, too – they’re delicious.
ESSENTIAL KITCHEN KIT
When it comes to kit, Florence says a sharp knife is essential, while a thermometer probe will help prevent over- or under-cooking the turkey and a microplane makes grating nutmeg or zesting oranges effortless.