Christmas planning

Beetroot Salmon HERO

As the big day approaches, now is a time when I start to feel the nerves of preparing a gargantuan festive feast for friends and family. However, this year is going to be different – no more sweating, blood temperature rising or the sudden panic of forgetting an all-important ingredient. This year I’m following this helpful guide from the Real Food Christmas 2012 magazine to make my Christmas dinner experience simple, stress-free and enjoyable.

What I'll be serving on Christmas day…

Serves 6-8

Starter

Beetroot-cured smoked salmon with pea shoots, radish and mustard cream

Potato rosti with roasted cherry tomatoes, chicory and Gorgonzola

Main

Turkey with spiced butter and roasted shallot and sherry gravy

Sides

Roasted root veg with maple syrup

Brussels sprouts with lemon and chilli breadcrumbs

Chestnut, fennel and sultana stuffing with sage and thyme

Pigs in blankets with sage and honey

Roast potatoes with Parmesan

Dessert

Pavlova wreath with chocolate sauce, vanilla crème and berries

  

2 DAYS BEFORE

1. Make the gravy, using the meat juices from a roasted chicken, and roast the shallots. Freeze both.

2. Make and freeze the potato rostis for the veggie main.

3. Prepare the beetroot-cured smoked salmon and chill.

4. Prepare the pigs in blankets, then chill until ready to roast.

5. Make the chocolate sauce for the pavlova wreath. Chill until Christmas Day.

CHRISTMAS EVE

1. Prepare the mustard cream for the smoked salmon starter. Chill.

2. Prepare the chestnut stuffing; cover and chill.

3. Prepare the Brussels sprouts with lemon and chilli breadcrumbs. Allow to cool, then cover and chill. Store the breadcrumbs separately, until needed.

4. Prepare the roasted root veg and arrange in a roasting tin.

5. Make the meringue for the pavlova wreath and store in a cool place.

6. Transfer the gravy and potato rostis from the freezer to the fridge to defrost overnight.

CHRISTMAS MORNING

1. Take the turkey from the fridge and bring to room temperature.

2. Roast the tomatoes for the veggie main and set aside.

3. Parboil the potatoes ready for roasting. 

4 HOURS BEFORE

1. Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C for the turkey.

2. Make the spiced butter and rub it over the turkey.

3 ½ HOURS BEFORE

1. Put the turkey in the preheated oven, on the lowest shelf.

2 ½ HOURS BEFORE

1. Remove the shallots from the oven, reserving 6 for garnishing. Chop the remaining shallots for the gravy.

2. Whip the cream and assemble the pavlova wreath. Keep cool until ready to serve.

3. Prepare the salad ingredients for the veggie main (chicory, Gorgonzola, watercress and toasted pine nuts), ready for a quick assembly when serving the main meal.

4. Take the stuffing, sprouts, pigs in blankets and potato rostis from the fridge and bring to room temperature.

1 HOUR BEFORE

1. Remove the foil from the turkey and return it to the oven. Increase the heat to gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C.

2. Assemble the beetroot-cured smoked salmon starter and set aside until ready to serve.

40 MINUTES BEFORE

1. Remove the turkey from the oven, making sure it’s cooked all the way through (either with a thermometer or checking the juices run clear). Cover the bird with foil and a tea towel and leave to rest for about 30 minutes. Reduce the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C.

2. Put the oil for the potatoes in the roasting tin; heat in the oven.

3. Put the stuffing in the oven.

35-30 MINUTES BEFORE

1. Carefully toss the potatoes in the hot oil and add the Parmesan. Return to the oven to roast.

2. Put the roasted root veg and pigs in blankets in the oven.

10 MINUTES BEFORE

1. Take the gravy from the fridge and warm it through in a pan over a gentle heat.

2. Prepare the turkey for serving: arrange the shallots and herb garnish around it, then cover and rest while you eat the starter.

3. Remove the foil from the stuffing.

4. Put the potato rostis and roasted tomatoes in the oven to warm through.

5. Heat up the Brussels sprouts and scatter over the breadcrumbs when ready to serve.

5 MINUTES BEFORE

1. Toss the roots in syrup.

ZERO HOUR 

1. Turn off the oven.

2. Light the candles, uncork the wine and sit down for the starter.

3. Assemble the veggie main (if serving).

Happy eating everyone and Merry Christmas from Real Food!

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