The halls are being decks, the teams are being prepped and we’re looking forward to welcoming over 6000 Christmas Party goers in the lead up to the big day.
We’re just over 4 weeks away until the main event, and whilst our Christmas party menus have been precisely planned and finalised, we’re now looking at what we’re going to be doing at home for Christmas dinner with the family. With that in mind I’ve reached out to my culinary colleagues across The Jockey Club group and rounded up some Top Tips for Christmas Day.
Damian Adams, Executive Chef, Newmarket Racecourse:
My Christmas tips: Less is more, don’t over do it! The main event:; turkeys should be juicy and succulent, over cooking is a faux par. I’ve known people to put their turkeys in before going to bed on Christmas Eve, this could end in disaster and the turkey will be overcooked. Bread sauce, a personal favourite, swap your normal loaf for a quality brioche - a rich, sweet and buttery taste. A good gravy is very important; try and save your left-over roast chicken bones leading up to the Christmas week. Two or three carcasses will make a great flavoursome stock. Boil the carcass with onions carrots and celery, once you have a good flavour, sieve the stock removing bones and vegetables, cool down and refrigerate/freeze. Reheat on Christmas Day and thicken with granules - feel free to add wine or other flavours in, to compliment. If you are adding wine to your gravy; add to the sauce pan before the stock and reduce by half. Remember give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the day and cook with a glass in hand. Preparation is key!
Alasdair Coe, Head Chef, Carlisle:
It's not about shortcuts, instead it's about preparing as much in advance as possible so on the day you only need to think about a few things. The key for me is to do as much cooking as possible the day before to save time on Christmas morning. Have a prep day, involve friends and family to get in the Christmas spirit. Peel and cut all the potatoes and vegetables, get all the little jobs done, such as stuffing, gravy, pigs in blankets and bread sauce so on the day you only need to think about roasties, veg and the meat. For me whenever you make a roast dinner the key is to not panic about timings - even the roasties and the veg can be cooked ahead of time and reheated for a few minutes before serving.
Tom Parry, Executive Chef, Cheltenham & South West Region
For the perfect roast potatoes. Pre-cook them in boiling water and ruffle them up. Then cook them in duck fat with thyme, rosemary and garlic. For the ever-controversial Brussel sprout I pre-cook them and refresh them in ice water. I then cut them in half and pan fry them in duck fat with thyme, rosemary, garlic and bacon trim.
My OWN Top Tip:
Tip when cooking a turkey, I always stuff butter between the skin and breast of the turkey which melts into the turkey giving the meat a beautiful flavour and once cooked I always turn my turkey upside down on the baking tray and fill the carcass with the remaining juices to soak back in to keep as much moisture in the turkey while it rests.
I wish you all a very merry, Christmas dinner filled festive season!