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It is supposed to be a happy time spent with family and friends, but for some, the Christmas dinner is one of the most pressurised of the year. To help you get the festive feast on the table in a stress-free way, we asked four of the top chefs around the Jockey Club for their tips.

PREPARATION


by Alasdair Coe, Head Chef, Carlisle

The key is to prepare as much in advance as possible so on the day you only need to think about a few things. 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. 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.

 

THE TURKEY

 

by Rhys Owen, Head Chef, Epsom Downs

I always stuff  butter between the skin and breast of the turkey which melts into the bird giving the meat a beautiful flavour. Once cooked, I turn my turkey upside down on the baking tray and fill the carcass with the remaining juices to soak back in and keep as much moisture in the turkey while it rests.

 

By Damien Adams, Executive Chef, East Region

Less is more: don’t over-do it! Over cooking is a big faux pas. I’ve known people to put their turkeys in the oven before going to bed on Christmas Eve. This could end in disaster and the turkey will be overcooked.

THE TRIMMINGS

by Tom Parry, Head Chef, Cheltenham

For the perfect roast potatoes, pre-cook them in boiling water and ruffle them up. Then roast them in duck fat with thyme, rosemary and garlic. For the ever-controversial Brussel sprout, I pre-cook them and refresh them in iced water. I then cut them in half and pan fry them in duck fat with thyme, rosemary, garlic and bacon trim.

 

By Damien Adams

Homemade bread sauce is a personal favourite. Why not swap your normal loaf for a quality brioche? It gives a rich, sweet and buttery taste and can still be made in advance.

 

THE GRAVY

 

by Damien Adams

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 and they keep well in the freezer. Boil the bones with onions, carrots and celery. Once you have a good flavour, sieve to remove bones and vegetables, cool down and refrigerate/freeze. Reheat on Christmas Day and thicken with granules – feel free to add wine or other flavours to compliment. If you are adding wine, heat in the saucepan and reduce by half before mixing in the stock.

ON THE DAY

 

by Damien Adams

My tip is to give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the day and cook with a glass in hand.

 

BY ALASDAIR COE

Whenever you make a roast dinner the things is not to panic about timings – even the roasties and the veg can be cooked ahead of time and reheated for a few minutes before serving.

 

WHEN IT’S ALL OVER

 

by Tom Parry

I always look forward to Boxing Day, because for me it’s all about the bubble and squeak with honey glazed gammon and a drink or two.

 

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