The pressure of producing the perfect Christmas meal can seem overwhelming. Luckily celebrity chef Tristan Welch with the help of Jun Tanaka, executive chef at The Ninth, gives Belle About Town readers his tricks and tips to ensure that the meal not only looks and tastes great but that you are not too frazzled getting it to the table.
Tristan’s Turkey Tips and Apple and Herb Stuffing
Cooking The Turkey
The best way to cook a 5kg turkey is from a cold oven as gradually increasing the temperature ensures a moist and juicy result. This technique will take a minimum of four hours but it’s worth the wait! Always take care to check that the turkey is cooked properly. You can do this by pushing a small knife or fork into the deepest part of the meat if the juices are clear then it’s cooked but if there is any trace of pink pop it back into the oven for another 20 minutes then check again. We use a temperature probe and anything between 72-85C ant it will be cooked nicely. To cook your turkey pour over the melted butter insuring that it has covered any exposed areas, place in the cold oven, which has just been switched on to 120c gas mark 1 for 1 hour, then turn up the oven to 130c gas mark 2 for an hour, then 150c gas mark 3 for an hour, then to 160c gas mark 4 for the last hour and a half. When cooking the turkey like this it is very important that you baste the regularly by pouring the cooking juices that have collected in the bottom of the oven tray back over the turkey constantly. Try to do it at least 3 times per hour.
- Stuffing uses herbs, apples and crumbs to flavour the turkey
- Basting at least 3 times every hour ensures the turkey remains moist
- When stuffing your turkey, to ensure an even cooking, place a silver (or solid metal spoon) in the centre of the stuffed cavity as the metal conducts heat.
- To protect the breasts and keep them moist spread a prune puree under the skin of the breasts then spread butter over the top of the bird and tinfoil the breasts.
- To ensure an even cooking and properly cooked legs take them off the turkey and place them back on the bird using bamboo skewers allowing a very little space for heat to flow around evenly.
250g Bread crumbs
1 stick of celery washed and roughly diced
2 Onions finely chopped
2 apples peeled and roughly diced
2 whole eggs
60g soft butter and a little for cooking
1 bunch Rosemary picked keeping 2 nice branches for presentation
½ bunch Parsley
- To make a perfect stuffing cook the onion until soft and tender with a little butter, salt and pepper.
- Add the cooked onion, apple, celery, parsley and ½ of the picked rosemary in a food processer using the pulse button blend until the vegetables are chopped quite finely but not a puree, now add the bread crumbs, egg and soft butter and seasoning to taste, blend again using the same technique until the stuffing has bound together.
Tristan’s Bread Sauce
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 small onion peeled
1 small bay leafs
4 crushed black peppercorns
1/8 nutmeg micro planed
1 crushed juniper berry
Pinch of salt
75g good quality white bead broken into even pieces
- Cut the onion in half and keep half to the side,
- Bring milk, along with the herbs spices and onion, to the boil, cling film the pan and allow to cool.
- Finely chop the onion and seat it in a little butter and a pinch of salt.
- Once the onion is soft add the bread, mix well so it soaks up the juices in the pan.
- Stir in the milk and simmer on a low heat mixing every few min until smooth, if there are a few unwanted lumps stir vigorously with a whisk.
Tristan’s Roasted Parsnips with Cheese and Bacon
Ingredients: (serves 4)
150g smoked streaky bacon
40g mature cheddar finely grated
2 Tbsp rapeseed oil
- Pre heat your oven to 180C.
- Peel and half or quarter the parsnips. Place them in a heat proof bowl and poor over boiling salted water to cover them allow them to sit for 10 mins to soften them up, then take them out and gently dry.
- In an oven proof dish add the oil and bacon and warm them up on a medium heat until they start to cook and you can see some of the juices of the bacon.
- Toss in the blanched parsnips and toss them in the oil and bacon juices, place in the oven for 20 mins.
- Once the parsnips are half way through cooking and are starting to crispen sprinkle in the cheese and make sure each parsnip is well coated return to the oven and continue to roast until the cheese and parsnips have crisped.
Jun Tanaka’s Perfect Roast Potatoes
800g Desiree potatoes (peeled and cut into wedges)
100g beef dripping
- Place the potatoes in a pan of cold salted water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10mins or until the surface of the potatoes start to soften. Carefully tip the potatoes into a colander and leave to steam for 20mins.
- Heat the oven to 225 C. Place a roasting tray into the oven and leave for 15min to get really hot. Take out and add the beef dripping. Put back into the oven for 5min, take out, add the potatoes in a single layer and return to the oven. Cook for 30mins, then take out and carefully turn the potatoes. Season well and cook for another 45mins or until golden and crispy.
For more inspirational recipes, watch Food Network UK this Christmas on Freeview channel 41, Sky Channel 248, Virgin Channel 291 and Freesat 149. Or visit www.foodnetwork.co.uk for more recipes and lifestyle tips.