Tips for Festive Feasting


For our Chef RuairĂ­, Christmas cooking is all about honest to goodness tradition.  Here are his tips for preparing the Turkey as part of the festive feast and a reminder that too many cooks do not spoil the Christmas broth!

Put your chefs hat on and delegate - especially the potato peeling and washing up!

1: Buying and Preparing the Bird

  • Preparation is key - make a list and stick to it when you shop.
  • Buy a cooking thermometer pen - it takes away all the guess work, and any risk of over or under cooking.
  • You don’t want to spend your entire Christmas Day in the kitchen, so ask your butcher to remove the turkey legs and stuff, bone and roll them - this will also speed up cooking time.

2: Cooking the Bird & Preparing the Trimmings

  • Start your roasting by turning the turkey breast-side down for the first hour of roasting. This means the bird essentially bastes itself. If you can manage to turn it a few times throughout the cooking process it will encourage the juices to stay inside.
  • Basting is the key! Take the turkey from oven 20/30 minutes before main course is to be served. This allows the juices to redistribute throughout the bird. This is called resting. Don’t worry, it won’t go cold!
  • Do all your veg prep (washing, peeling, chopping) in advance. This can be done the day before and left in water on the range overnight.
  • Alternatively, you can blanch all your root vegetables the day before. Plunge your prepared veg into boiling salted water, bring back to the boil for 2 minutes, then refresh with cold running water. Then season up, add a good dollop of butter (and honey if you like), and store in you fridge overnight. This means you simply pop into the oven minutes before you want to eat.

3: And Remember

  • Store any leftovers in your fridge within 90 minutes of cooking. This will reduce any waste (see recipes for leftover food below).
  • Put your drinks outside the back door - trust me they’ll be cold enough. Remove your cheeses from the fridge 2 hours prior to allow them reach optimum room temperature.
  • A nice big dollop of redcurrant jelly or cranberry sauce into your gravy glams it up.

4: Tasty ideas for the Leftovers

  • Turkey Noodle Soup - yummy and good for you!
  • Ham Frittata - A great breakfast for St. Stephen’s Day and good to feed a crowd.
  • Turkey Enchiladas - Swap out beef mince for your shredded turkey 
  • Potato and Ham Hash / Rosti. Grated potato with shredded ham. Try with a fried egg on top. Delicious.
  • Ham and Cheese Croquettes
  • Kale & Ham Carbonara  - Creamy pasta, parmesan, shredded Christmas ham, and the goodness of fresh kale.
  • Ham and Cheese Croque Monsieur - a French classic! Try it with a poached egg on top to create Croque Madame.
  • Sprout, Pine Nut & Turkey Stir Fry - garlic, lemongrass, sesame & soy for a real authentic Asian flavour.
  • Red wine ice cubes (in the unlikely event of there being any leftover)
  • Festive Pie

Happy Feasting from all the team at Croke Park Meetings & Events

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