Christmas lunch is looming panic is setting in
Christmas lunch is looming and for some panic is already setting in.
Now the way I look at it is this; it is the same as a Sunday lunch just with larger quantities.
You have planned to have Christmas lunch ready at say 13:30, you are nowhere near ready and it’s going to be a tad late.
Remember it is you who are flat out cooking for everyone, it’s not a restaurant and your guests are presumably family members.
Please please don’t panic or get upset, just pour a glass of something nice, step outside, take five minutes. It’ll be ready when it’s ready. That’s what I do if I’m a little stressed.
Unless you specifically need any help get everyone out of the kitchen, this no more important to your sanity than when everything is about to come together. The last thing you need are folks under your feet saying is it ready yet and I’m hungry.
When you are ready to dish up shout service and make folks do stuff for you, let them ferry dishes of food to your table. After all you have done the hard part.
So why panic? Why get up at 4 am to put the turkey on? I guess it’s because you have a Turkey the size of a Pterodactyl.
I remember my mum putting it in the night before and only part cooking it then finishing off the next day. No No don’t do that, that’s a very bad idea. Why? Well because at…
41-135°F 5-57°C. The danger area in which many bacteria grow, sometimes doubling in number in as little as 20 minutes. Read my post about slow cooking here.
Ah the big question.
Do you bring the Turkey to room temperature before cooking? In my opinion and it is just my opinion the answer is no. The reason lies above. I will always take the bird from the fridge do what I need to do to prep it. Then cover and pop it into a searingly hot oven for 15 minutes first.
Some folks prefer the white meat and some the dark meat. So, ok that’s fine let’s just consider this.
For me the easiest way to achieve it and reduce the time to cook your bird is this. Buy a Turkey crown and the legs separate.
The crown will take up far less room in your tin with the legs sat either next to it or in another roasting tin, say along with the potatoes.
Each will cook far quicker and at the same time satisfy your guests tastes.
Does your bird suffer from dryness! I’m talking Turkey here. Turkey is very lean; in particular the breast meat.
So what can you do to avoid this? Other than brining. The answer is not a great deal. Unlike other types of meat. For example, rib of beef which is high in connective tissue and collagen which melts during the cooking process. Turkey breast meat is somewhat lacking in this department.
Stuff it with butter under the skin and wrap it in streaky bacon. Yes that will help, frequent basting also helps. Additionally, use a food thermometer and make sure it’s at the optimum temperature.
Remember a Turkey crown will still contain the bone, a butterfly Turkey breast will not so can be even drier.
Also, to make life a little easier consider frozen vegetables, frozen button sprouts are fine and cook in about 3 or 4 minutes. The quality of frozen vegetables has improved a huge amount.
However, if you still want to use fresh vegetables then prep them the day before, get the family to sit at the table and peel the sprouts.
At the end of the day never forget it is you the cook. The person who has worked so hard to produce a fantastic Christmas lunch for everyone that deserves all the praise.
Have a very Merry Christmas.