HOW TO MAKE THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS DINNER
Ready to feed your faves this Christmas? From the star of the show turkey to the crispy roasties, we got the brilliant masterchef contestant @scottycookins to share a few simple tricks that’ll help you make the best Christmas dinner yet.
“Don’t have a christ-mess and overdo the turkey this year, there’s nothing worse than the star of the show being overdone and dry. My recipe below will help you make a foolproof centrepiece for your Christmas spread. That way, you can sit back after a successful meal and celebrate with a few cheeky drinks and Gin-gle all the way.”
(I used a 2.5kg one, the wrapper said XL on it)
Fresh rosemary sprigs
Fresh thyme sprigs
Hand full of peppercorns
1 bar of unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves
1 large orange
1. Firstly, we need to create a brine, this is to make the turkey meat stay moist and not dry out. This needs to be done a day ahead of cooking for the best results.
2. In a large stock pan (one big enough to hold your turkey crown or use a smaller pan and pour into a container afterwards) put 1 litre of water and bring to a boiling point. Into this put 2/3 rosemary sprigs, 2/3 thyme sprigs, 200g salt, peppercorns, garlic and bay leaves. Boil for 15 minutes until infused. Then to this mixture, add another 2/3 litres of cold water. This is now the brine, so place in the turkey and top up with extra water until full covered and place in the fridge overnight.
Method continued below
3. When you are ready to cook the turkey take it out of the brine and pat the skin dry with a tea towel.
4. Mix together the whole block of butter with a handful of the fresh thyme, as well as a teaspoon of salt and pepper. Once mixed, make a pocket with your hand under the skin of the turkey and place half the butter in there massaging it about to make sure it covers over all the meat, the other half massage into the top side of the skin. Finally slice the orange in half and place inside the turkey.
5. Now the prep is done, it’s time to cook. Cooking times will vary according to the weight of your turkey or turkey joint (most places put the time on the packaging now), but as a guide it is a good idea to allow 20 minutes per kg, plus 70 minutes if the bird or joint is under 4Kg or plus 90 minutes if it is over 4kg.
6. Wrap the turkey in baking parchment, then in foil with the seams of both being at the top so you can open it up when required. Set your oven to 180c and cook for the duration of the kg time. Then for the final 70 minutes, open up the foil and base the turkey every 20 minutes to get a nice crisp skin on the outside. Within that 70 minutes, at intervals, take your meat thermometer and put it into the large flesh bit as deep and close to the bone without touching as you can. When it reads 73c-74c the turkey is ready.
7. Finally, take the turkey out of the oven and loosely cover with the foil, allowing the crown time to rest (15-20mins) before carving and serving.
“Now the turkey’s sorted, it’s time to make a couple of sides to really get the feast going. I get asked all the time how I get my roasties so crispy on the outside yet fluffy and soft in the centre. As well as this recipe being vegan (using no animal fats) there’s also a special ingredient – read on to find out.”
Large bag of potatoes
(I use either Maris Piper or King Edward)
3/4 sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp corn flour
1 bowl of Cornflakes blitzed in a blender to fine
1. Take the bag of potatoes, peel and half them all.
2. In a large pan put all the potatoes and fill with water until they are covered. Add a tablespoon of salt and bring to the boil, once boiling take down to a simmer and cook for 10-12 minutes.
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3. In the meantime, set the oven to 200c. In a semi deep roasting tin, add enough oil to cover the bottom of the tin by 2cm. Place the tray in the oven to heat up the oil.
4. Once par boiled, drain off the potatoes in a colander and shake them around a little to rough up the edges.
5. Then, transfer the potatoes to a bowl, pour on a glug of oil and coat them, then sprinkle in the corn flour, thyme, paprika, salt and pepper before finally mixing in the cornflakes and coating in the fine dust.
6. Now we need to take the oil out of the oven and put the potatoes in the tray, be careful as the oil will be hot and will splash around. Make sure to coat the potatoes in the hot oil before putting back in the oven.
7. Cook for 40 minutes until crispy, keep on rotating them in this time to make sure they evenly cook and crisp up.
“Everybody has an opinion on sprouts, they’re always either the best or the worst part of the dinner. Either way, I’m looking to give you the upper hand and have everyone at the table diving in to have a spoon of these bad boys. Using a combination of complementary ingredients, these sprouts will hit the mark and leave you and your guests wanting more.”
Large bag of sprouts cut into halves
2 tbsp of soy sauce
1 tbsp honey (brown sugar for vegan option)
Bag of pine nuts
Pack of bacon lardons (take out for vegan option)
Knob of butter (use vegan spread for vegan option)
3 shallots diced
1. Pre heat the oven to 180c
2. Bring a pan of water to boil add a tbsp of salt. Then, par boil the sprouts for 5 minutes.
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3. In a frying pan, fry off the shallots in butter before adding the bacon lardons.
4. Once par boiled, take the sprouts, drain them and put in a roasting tray. Then mix with the bacon and shallots from the pan adding the soy sauce, honey and a good sprinkling of pine nuts. Finally, sprinkle on some nutmeg, salt and pepper.
5. Place the tray in oven and roast for 20 minutes until the edges of the sprouts catch and brown.