All the recipes you need for a fantastic Christmas dayPerfect turkey guideBrilliantly useful
Welcome to the Real Food Christmas ezine. We’ve packed it with all you need for the best-ever Christmas Day, including fantastic recipes and
a step-by-step plan for a gorgeous three-course feast, plus tips for choosing, prepping and cooking the perfect turkey.
Check out our how-to and recipe videos for lots more Christmas cooking inspiration and take a look
at our pick of the best delicious readymades and foodie presents. Plus there’s the chance
to win £250 of Tesco vouchers.
Have a very Happy Christmas!
Ready basted, this whole turkey can go straight in the oven without any fuss, and comes out juicy and flavoursome at the end of its cooking time, £4·80/kg
The Finest Free Range Bronze Turkey with Stuffing and a Bacon Lattice is topped with streaky bacon and has a herby pork, sage and onion stuffing, £9·99/kg.
If you can’t fit a whole bird in your oven, a frozen turkey crown is
a good solution. This golden Class A crown is breast meat only, so is also quicker to cook, £16/2-2·3kg.
This frozen British Traditional Finest Bronze Turkey is slow-grown for succulence and flavour. A delicious choice for a large family feast, £20/3·6-5kg.
This Finest Free Range Bronze Turkey Crown is prepared so you just get juicy breast meat and wings. It’s great for smaller groups or those who prefer lighter meat, £11·91/kg.
For an extra-special seasonal treat, the Finest Free Range Turkey Joint with Cranberry Stuffing comes ready-prepped with fruity stuffing and bacon, £18/1·5kg.
Ready to go
Utterly delicious and totally non-fuss, this stuffed Breast Thigh Joint is good for larger parties and comes topped with a lattice of bacon for added flavour, £16/2kg.
This delicious Basted Turkey Crown is ready-basted for extra succulence, and the legs have been removed to make it easy to carve at the table, £8·09/kg.
Tesco’s free-range, Organic Turkeys are reared on small, British farms and fed a natural diet. The result is wonderfully juicy meat, with a rich flavour, £7·99/kg.
Finest Free Range Bronze Turkeys are slow-reared and given plenty of space to roam and forage, which is what gives them their outstanding flavour, £6·90/kg.
Pick up the right size turkey to feed your crowd – Tesco has medium, large and extra-large options in both whole turkeys and crowns.
Size People 13-3.99kg 4-6 4-4.99kg 6-8 5-5.99kg 8-10 6-6.99kg 10-12 7-7.99kg 12-14 8-8.99kg 14-16
Size People 1.5-1.99kg 4-6 2-2.49kg 6-8 2.5-2.99kg 8-10 3-3.49kg 10-12
If you’re using a frozen turkey, make sure you leave enough time for it to fully thaw, before stuffing and roasting. The thawing times given on the chart are for a turkey being thawed in the fridge. Keep a fresh turkey in the fridge or a cool, secure place. Make sure you bring your turkey up to room temperature before cooking.
Turkey Thaw approx 3·5kg (8lb) 16 hours 5kg (11lb) 21 hours 6·4kg (14lb) 28 hours 9kg (20lb) 38 hours
To get the right cooking time, weigh the turkey after it’s stuffed. Or take the weight of the turkey from the packaging, then weigh your stuffing mixture, and add the two weights together to give you your total.
Size Cooking* 3·5kg (8lb) 2 hrs 45 mins 5kg (11lb) 3 hrs 15 mins 6·4kg (14lb) 4 hrs 9kg (20lb) 4 hrs 40 mins*(Gas 5, 190°C, 170°C)
Remove the giblets (reserving to make stock, if you like), then rinse and wipe the cavity clean. It’s best not to wash the whole turkey as this can spread bacteria.
It’s advisable not to fill the main body cavity with stuffing as this prevents heat from reaching the centre of the bird effectively, and can result in undercooked turkey. Instead use the neck; open the neck cavity and push the mixture in.
How to truss
‘Trussing’ a turkey is when you tie the legs close together at the ends of the drumsticks. It can help prevent the meat drying out and it also helps give a neat shape.
Butter can help keep the meat juicy; push softened butter between the flesh and skin, then rub butter all over the outside of the bird, coating the skin and legs. Baste the bird half way through cooking, spooning the buttery juices over the meat, and return to the oven.
Try putting a few halves of citrus fruit, such as orange, lemon or clementines, inside the main cavity (make sure there’s still room for air to circulate), or add some herbs and an onion. The contents will steam and flavour the meat while it cooks.
Is it ready?
To check if your turkey is cooked, use a meat thermometer (it should reach 70ºC). Alternatively, use the skewer technique: pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a metal skewer. If the juices released run clear without any trace of pink or red, it’s cooked.
It’s important to allow the bird to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes after cooking to let the meat fibres relax and all the lovely juices soak back into the flesh. Cover loosely with a double layer of foil and tea towels to keep the heat in.
Turkey with spiced butter and roasted shallot and sherry gravy
Potato rosti with roasted tomatoes, chicory and Gorgonzola
Beetroot-cured smoked salmon with pea shoots, radish and mustard creamBrussels sprouts with lemon and chilli breadcrumbs
Chestnut, fennel and sultana stuffing with sage and thyme
Roasted root veg with maple syrupPigs in blankets with sage and honey
Roast potatoes with Parmesan
Pavlova wreath with chocolate sauce, vanilla crème and berriesGather your favourite people together
for the perfect Christmas lunch
Turkey with spiced butter and roasted
shallot and sherry gravyServes 8
Takes 2 hrs 40 mins-3 hrs 10 mins, plus resting
Cost per serve £6·67For the butter 125g (4oz) butter, softened
1 tsp allspice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tbsp finely chopped
2 lemons, zested
For the turkey 5-5·5 kg (10-11lb) turkey
500ml (17fl oz) stock
20 medium shallots, unpeeled
(14 for the gravy, 6 to serve)
sage leaves, to garnish
For the gravy 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
60g (2½oz) plain flour
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
250ml (8fl oz) dry sherry
600ml (1pt) turkey or chicken stock
1 Remove the turkey from the fridge and allow it to come up to room temperature. Put a shelf on the lowest level in your oven (so you have enough room for your turkey to go on this and for two more shelves above the bird). Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C.
2 To make the spiced butter, combine the butter with the allspice, the garlic, the parsley and the lemon zest. Take your turkey and stuff half the butter under the skin, being careful not to tear it, then rub the remaining butter all over the turkey itself. Halve the zested lemons and put them inside the cavity. Season well. Put the turkey on the rack of a large roasting tin and pour the stock into the bottom. Cover with foil and cook for 2 hours 30 minutes for a 5·5kg (11lb) turkey.
3 Put the unpeeled shallots on a separate baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, season, and roast for 1 hour. Remove from the oven, setting aside the shallots to garnish the turkey later, then peel and roughly chop the remaining shallots for the gravy. Set aside until needed.
4 After 2 hours 30 minutes, remove the foil from the turkey, then increase the heat to gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C and cook for a further 30 minutes. To check if the turkey is cooked, insert a thermometer into the thickest part of thigh; it should read 165-170°C. Alternatively, cut into the leg joint; if the juices run clear, it’s ready. Transfer the turkey to a large serving platter and rest under two layers of foil and a tea towel for up to 1 hour. Reserve 125ml (4fl oz) of the roasting juices for the gravy, skimming off any fat.
5 To make the gravy, scrape up any burnt bits from the bottom of the roasting tin, then set it on the hob over a low heat. Pour in the roasting juices, then add the thyme and reserved chopped shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the flour and whisk for 2-3 minutes until smooth. Add the mustard, then pour in the sherry and the stock. Cook for a further 8 minutes, whisking continuously, until the gravy has thickened. Season well.
6 To serve, garnish the turkey with the roasted shallots and the sage leaves. Serve with the gravy and all the trimmings.
Brussels sprouts with lemon
and chilli breadcrumbsServes 6-8
Takes 25 mins
Cost per serve 51p100g (3½oz) fresh white breadcrumbs
4 tbsp olive oil
1 red chilli, finely chopped
1 lemon, zested
6 shallots, finely sliced
1kg (2lb) Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 Preheat the oven to gas 5, 190°C, fan 170°C. In a bowl, toss the breadcrumbs with 2 tbsp of the olive oil and the chilli and season. Spread them on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 7-8 minutes until crisp and golden. Remove from the oven, scatter over the lemon zest and set aside.
2 In a large pan, heat the remaining olive oil over a low heat. Add the shallots, season, then cook for 15 minutes until softened. Remove from the heat and set aside.
3 Cook the sprouts in a large pan of boiling, salted water for 4 minutes, then transfer to a colander and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain, then return to the pan with the shallots and toss to combine. To serve, put the warm Brussels sprouts in a serving dish and scatter over the breadcrumbs.
Chestnut, fennel and sultana stuffing
with sage and thymeServes 6-8
Takes 1 hr
Cost per serve £2·25125g (4oz) butter
2 large red onions, chopped
4 fennel bulbs, cores removed and chopped
½ x 30g pack sage, finely chopped
½ x 30g pack thyme
250g (8oz) sourdough or crusty bread, cubed
3 tbsp sultanas, soaked in boiling water for
100g (3½oz) vacuum-packed cooked
chestnuts, roughly chopped
2 eggs, beaten
250ml (8fl oz) vegetable stock
1 Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Add the chopped onions, fennel, sage and thyme, and season well. Fry on a medium heat for 15 minutes or until the vegetables are softened and turning golden.
2 Put the bread cubes in a large mixing bowl, then add the cooked onion and fennel mixture, soaked sultanas (discarding the water) and chopped cooked chestnuts. Mix well to combine. Pour the beaten eggs and stock into the vegetable mixture, stir until everything comes together, then season well.
3 Transfer the stuffing mixture into a large baking dish, spreading so it forms an even layer, then cover with foil. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and cook for a further 10 minutes, until the topping is golden.
Roasted root veg with maple syrupServes 6-8
Takes 50 mins
Cost per serve 81p6 parsnips, halved or quartered, if large
6 carrots, halved or quartered, if large
6 beetroot, scrubbed and quartered
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 Preheat the oven to gas 5, 180°C, fan 170°C. Divide the vegetables between two large baking trays (keeping the beetroot away from the other veg to prevent it from staining), then toss with the olive oil, before arranging in a single layer. Season well.
2 Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and toss with the maple syrup, then return to the oven for a further 5 minutes.Prep ahead You can prepare the rostis up to 2 weeks in advance and freeze on a tray lined with nonstick baking paper, separating each layer with baking paper. Thaw in the fridge, then reheat at gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C for 10 minutes until hot and crisp.
Potato rosti with roasted tomatoes,
chicory and GorgonzolaServes 6
Takes 45 mins
Cost per serve £1·40400g (13oz) cherry tomatoes on the vine
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1·5 kilos (3lb) Desirée potatoes, peeled
2 medium onions, grated
6 tbsp plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
For the salad
1 small head red or white chicory
75g (3oz) Gorgonzola, crumbled
2 large handfuls watercress
60g (2½oz) toasted pinenuts
1 Preheat the oven to gas 3, 170°C, fan 150°C. Cut the cherry tomatoes into 6 bunches and arrange on a baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil and season. Roast for 25 minutes, then remove from the oven and drizzle over the balsamic vinegar. Set aside until needed.
2 For the rosti, put the grated potatoes in a sieve and rinse with cold water to get rid of the starch. Tip the mixture onto a clean tea towel, then roll it up tightly and squeeze to remove excess water.
3 In a bowl, mix the potatoes with the onions, flour and egg, and some seasoning. Shape the potato mixture into 12 flat cakes. Heat two large frying pans and add ½ tbsp of butter and olive oil to each. Once the butter has melted, cook the potato cakes (in batches if needed) over a low heat, for 10 minutes each side, until golden. Re-heat the rostis and tomatoes in the oven for 10 minutes before serving.
4 To serve, arrange two rosti on each plate and top with the chicory, Gorgonzola, roasted tomatoes and their juices. Garnish with watercress and a scattering of toasted pinenuts.
Beetroot-cured smoked salmon with pea shoots, radish and mustard creamServes 6
Takes 10 mins, plus marinating
Cost per serve 79p200g (7oz) smoked salmon
1 cooked beetroot, thickly grated
6 slices rye bread, halved
100g (3½oz) pea shoots or rocket
8 radishes, thinly sliced
1 tbsp capers
For the dressing 200ml (7fl oz) crème fraîche
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
½ lemon, juiced to give
1 tsp, and zested
1 Put the smoked salmon on a non-metallic baking tray or in a flat container, keeping the fish on its card from the packaging. Spread the beetroot over the top and around the edges of the fish and chill for 1 hour.
2 Remove the smoked salmon from the fridge and discard the beetroot. Wipe the fish with paper towels, then slice.
3 To make the cream, mix the crème fraîche, mustard, lemon juice and lemon zest. Season well and stir to combine.
4 To serve, arrange the fish on a few pieces of rye bread, scatter over a handful of pea shoots, along with the radish and capers, and finish with a drizzle of the mustard cream.Prep ahead You can make these chipolatas up to 2 days ahead. Toss with the chopped sage and honey, then roll up with the sage leaves and bacon. Cover and chill, until ready for roasting on Christmas Day.
Roast potatoes with ParmesanServes 6-8
Takes 1 hr
Cost per serve 42p1·5kg (3lb) starchy potatoes, such as King
Edwards, peeled and chopped into
5cm (2in) chunks
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp grated Parmesan
1 Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. Parboil the potato chunks in salted water until just tender, then drain well. Return the potatoes to the saucepan and put over the heat for a minute or two to dry them out slightly.
2 Pour the olive oil into a large roasting tin, then heat in the the oven for 5-10 minutes until really hot. Carefully add the potatoes to the hot oil. Add the Parmesan and some sea salt, then toss until coated. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until golden and really crispy.
Pigs in blankets with sage and honeyServes 6-8
Takes 45 mins
Cost per serve 39p16 chipolata sausages
20 sage leaves, 16 whole, 4 finely chopped
2 tbsp clear honey
8 thin smoked streaky bacon rashers,
1 Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C. In a bowl, toss the chipolatas with the chopped sage and honey.
2 Wrap each chipolata with 1 sage leaf and then cover with a long piece of streaky bacon, winding it round until neatly wrapped. Arrange the chipolatas on a baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes, until dark golden.Prep ahead The chocolate sauce can be made up to 2 weeks ahead, then chilled. You can make the meringue up to 1 day ahead and store in a cool, dark place. Whip the cream and assemble the wreath 2 hours ahead; drizzle over the chocolate just before serving.
Pavlova wreath with chocolate sauce,
vanilla crème and berriesServes 10
Takes 1 hr 45 mins
Cost per serve 53pFor the meringue 6 egg whites
300g (10oz) caster sugar
1½ tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp cornflour
For the chocolate sauce 100g (3½oz) plain chocolate, broken
2 tbsp unsalted butter
100ml (3½fl oz) double cream
100g (3½oz) caster sugar
5 tbsp golden syrup
For the topping 300ml (10fl oz) double cream
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp caster sugar
200g (7oz) redcurrants and
icing sugar, for dusting
1 Preheat the oven to gas 3, 170°C, fan 150°C. To make the meringue, beat the egg whites in a clean bowl with an electric whisk for 4 minutes until they form soft peaks.
Add the sugar, 1 tbsp at a time, beating after each addition until it is all combined. Whisk for 3 minutes more, then add the white wine vinegar and cornflour, and then whisk for a further minute more.
2 Line a baking tray with nonstick baking paper and, using a pencil, mark out a 25cm (10in) diameter circle in the middle. Spoon large, equal dollops of the meringue mix along the circle line to form a wreath shape. Put the meringue in the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to gas 1, 140°C, fan 120°C. Cook for 1 hour 30 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave the wreath in there to cool completely (overnight). Carefully peel off the baking paper and transfer to a serving platter.
3 To make the chocolate sauce, melt the plain chocolate, butter and double cream in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir the chocolate until smooth, then add the sugar and golden syrup and heat for a further 5 minutes, stirring all the time, until thick and glossy. Set aside until needed.
4 To make the topping, whip the cream with the vanilla and sugar for 2 minutes, using an electric whisk, until it is soft and thick. Spoon the whipped cream over the meringue wreath in a thick layer until evenly covered. Then arrange the berries on top of the cream around the wreath.
5 Just before serving, reheat the chocolate sauce until just warm. Drizzle over the wreath with a spoon, then dust with a little icing sugar.
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and cook turkey
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- How to carve turkey
- How to make
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a pavlova wreath
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Christmas pork pie
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Top Christmas cooking videos
- How to prep
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