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Top Cooking Tips For A Stress-Free Christmas Day

Top Cooking Tips For A Stress-Free Christmas Day
It’s the most important meal of the year, and the one most likely to cause a kitchen meltdown, so get ahead of the game with these top tips for your Christmas lunch. All timings assume you’re sitting down for a 3pm lunch. If you’d like to eat earlier or later, adjust the timings accordingly.

Four weeks away

• Plan the guest list,

• Order the correct sized turkey (see below), beef joint or other centrepiece.

• For UK readers, if you’re going for a traditionally-made Christmas pudding, order this too.

• Buy a digital meat thermometer, they’re under £5 and will make your life easier.

One week away

• Take delivery of the turkey and keep it somewhere cold.

• Buy ingredients for custard or cream, and some brandy for ‘lighting’ the pudding.

• Shop for the sides dishes such as potatoes, sprouts, greens, peas, carrots, ‘pigs in blankets’, chestnuts, cranberry or bread sauce.

24 hours away

• Do as much preparation as possible.

• Prepare the sprouts and any other vegetables, mix with a little oil, then store covered in the fridge

• Peel and par-boil the potatoes until the surface is fluffy, drain, leave to cool, and put back in the fridge covered.

• Get your roasting trays, saucepans, turkey baster, meat thermometer, tin foil and any other equipment ready.

Calculate the cooking and resting time for the size of meat or bird you have and make a note of it.

• If you can, set the table the night before.

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Christmas morning

10am
• The big day! Get everything out of the fridge and up to room temperature.

11:30am
• Get the oven warmed up and ready. Place the bird on the roasting tin and cook for the correct time.
•Turn the bird over half way through cooking.

1:45pm
• Get the fat hot and coat the roast potatoes it in (use a pastry brush to paint the fat on them).
• Increase the oven temperature to crisp up the skin of the turkey for the final 30mins.
• Check turkey with meat thermometer in thickest part of the bird.
• The internal temperature should be 75C-80C / 158ºF-176ºF
• Remove and rest the meat somewhere warm
• Leave the oven at a high temperature to cook the roast potatoes

2:15pm
• Cook any other side dishes such as stuffing or pigs in blankets in the oven.
• Make the gravy from the pan juices

2:30pm
• Boil the kettle and cook the vegetables in lightly salted water.
• Steam the Christmas pudding (or microwave it, it’s much quicker)

2:45pm
• Warm plates and serving dishes in the oven
• Carve the turkey, and place sides dishes in serving dishes

3pm
• Call everyone to the table, pour a glass of wine and sit down to lunch.

©Culture Trip / Alex Picerne