Cooking for large numbers can be a real hassle, but when it comes to cooking for Christmas just follow a few simple steps and you can have yourself a stress free dinner party for you and your friends or family. Don the apron and grab the baster.
The Centre Piece
When it comes to buying the turkey, frozen is the definitely the most student friendly and cheapest option; but can take up to 2 days to defrost.
Tip – take the giblets (the guts and organs) out before you defrost.
Making the stuffing can be a pain so its probably best to buy it fresh, or if you’re on a tight budget you can buy it out of a packet. Put the stuffing in the turkey and heat the oven to around 170C. A turkey for 8-12 people should take roughly 4 hours to cook.
Tip – when you stab the turkey with a knife the juices should run clear once cooked.
Take the bird out and wrap it in tin foil.
While the turkey is in the oven you can get on with the rest of the meal.
When it comes to the Christmas dinner trimmings, pigs in blankets are a must. They are really easy to make and can be shoved in the oven with the potatoes. Buy some chipolata sausages and wrap them in streaky bacon.
Parboil the potatoes after peeling for about 10/15 minutes and drain. An hour and a half before the bird comes out (buy a tin foil tray if you can) heat some oil in the tray and leave it in the oven for 15 minutes (goose fat if you’re feeling extra generous). Carefully remove the tray and put the potatoes in, alongside the pigs in blankets.
While these are cooking, peel and boil the parsnips for about 5 minutes. Once done, drain the water and coat them in honey, then cook them in the same tin foil dish as the potatoes. They will always take 30 minutes or so. Whilst the bird is resting, and the potatoes roasting, peel and cook the rest of your veg; sprouts and carrots if you’re feeling traditional.
Tip – To make things easier, buy the cranberry and bread sauce.
Drain some of the oil from the roasting pan and then heat up the remaining juices, add some black currant jelly (about 1tbl spoon), a touch of red wine and a little of the water left from cooking the veg. Leave to reduce on a low heat until it has a reasonably thick consistency.
To starter, or not to starter
If you want to make it an extra special occasion then you could prepare a very easy starter of smoked salmon on buttered brown bread with a squeeze of lemon. Easy as it sounds, but no less delicious.
Image: Beverly and Pack via Flickr