FES­TIVE PLAN­NER

House Beautiful (UK) - - Delicious Recipes -

IN THE FREEZER

It’s al­ways a good feel­ing to have started Christ­mas prepa­ra­tions early. The fol­low­ing dishes can be frozen up to three weeks ahead for Christ­mas lunch: Apri­cot and ch­est­nut stuff­ing Sausages wrapped in ba­con

MORE THAN A WEEK BE­FORE

Shop for store­cup­board in­gre­di­ents and booze. It’s al­ways worth hav­ing ex­tra eggs, olive and sun­flower oil, lemons etc.

Re­or­gan­ise the fridge so that you have room for all the per­ish­able foods. Make more space by tak­ing out any­thing that will be fine kept at a cool tem­per­a­ture, such as veg­eta­bles, and keep these in a cool place such as the garage.

23 DE­CEM­BER

Do last-minute per­ish­able shop­ping.

To get ahead and to make sure that you feel fully in con­trol on Christ­mas Day, the fol­low­ing dishes can be made, cooled where ap­pro­pri­ate and kept in the fridge, if not al­ready pre­pared and frozen: Pre­pare the lemon and thyme stuff­ing Pre­pare the sausages in ba­con if not frozen ahead If not al­ready frozen (see recipe), make the apri­cot and ch­est­nut stuff­ing to­day, cook on Christ­mas Eve and re­heat on Christ­mas Day Peel the pota­toes and keep in wa­ter Take but­ter out of the fridge to soften for the turkey.

24 DE­CEM­BER

Take frozen foods out of the freezer and leave in a cool place overnight to thaw, or meat or fish dishes to thaw in the fridge.

Par­boil and half roast pota­toes and parsnips the day be­fore so they sim­ply need a quick re-roast on Christ­mas Day. Don’t use too much fat or the pota­toes may be­come soggy. Drain any ex­cess once half roasted.

Brus­sels sprouts can be trimmed of their outer dis­coloured leaves and kept in a poly­thene bag in the fridge – they shouldn’t be kept in wa­ter.

Cook the apri­cot and ch­est­nut stuff­ing, cool and keep in the fridge ready to re­heat.

Stuff the turkey and cal­cu­late the cook­ing time.

Make the gravy slightly thicker than you want it as you’ll be adding the skimmed roast­ing juices from the cooled turkey on Christ­mas Day. Pre­pare table­ware and lay the table. Chill white wine and cham­pagne

if you’re spoil­ing every­one!

CHRIST­MAS DAY

To serve at 2pm The tim­ings I’ve given for Christ­mas lunch are based on a 6.3kg (14lb) turkey, using an or­di­nary do­mes­tic dou­ble oven.

7.40am Take turkey out of fridge to al­low it to come to room tem­per­a­ture be­fore cook­ing. Ar­range oven shelves to make sure that the turkey will fit. Stuff turkey if not al­ready done.

8.10am Pre­heat the oven to 220˚C/fan 200˚C/gas 7 and cover the turkey in foil.

8.40 Put the turkey into oven for 40min at this high tem­per­a­ture.

9.20am Reduce oven tem­per­a­ture to 160˚C/fan 140˚C/gas 3 and cook turkey for a fur­ther 3½ hours, bast­ing now and again.

12.50pm Check to see if the turkey is nearly cooked – turn back foil and turn heat up to 220˚C/fan 200˚C/gas 7 for the last 30min to crisp skin. Put sausages wrapped in ba­con into the sec­ond oven at 190˚C/fan 170˚C/gas 5 for

45min un­til cooked and crisp.

1.20pm Take turkey out of oven. Test to make sure it’s cooked (see tips below). Leave to re­lax, loosely cov­ered in foil and a thick towel for about 30min be­fore carv­ing. Re-roast the half-roasted pota­toes in oven at 220˚C/fan 200˚C/ gas 7. Re­heat the apri­cot stuff­ing for 30min in the sec­ond oven, pre­heated to 190˚C/fan 170˚C/gas 5.

1.40pm Fin­ish the half-roasted parsnips by putting into hot oven. Re­heat gravy, adding skimmed roast­ing juices from the cooked turkey. Check sea­son­ing. Heat serv­ing dishes and plates.

1.50pm Cook sprouts, drain and put in a serv­ing dish. Carve the turkey. Re­move ev­ery­thing from the ovens and put into warm serv­ing dishes

2pm Serve lunch!

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