How to ace Christmas lunch
If the idea of laying on Christmas lunch for 16 extended family members and their multifarious dietary requirements brings you out in a cold sweat then fear not! We grilled top chef Sam Squires of Hibiscus for his top tips to save the spuds and your sanity.
Christmas Lunch can be a bit of headache if you don’t prepare or organise
yourself but it doesn’t have to be stressful. If you nail the prep and timing it’s smooth sailing. Write down a simple plan so you don’t forget anything crucial on the day and have a glass of sherry close to hand to calm the nerves.
The dreaded turkey is so many people’s bête noire at Christmas. It’s easy to end up with something as dry as the Sahara desert if you don’t get it right. The key thing to remember is to rest your bird for at least half an hour once it’s out of the oven, this allows the juices to be reabsorbed into the meat making it nice and succulent.
The spuds are my favourite part of Christmas dinner and it’s got to be a Maris Piper for the ultimate crispy and fluffy texture. I peel and boil the potatoes with some garlic and rosemary. When a knife can go clean though them, drain them and leave to air dry. This will help with that lovely crispiness. Get your oven to 200 degrees Celsius, add some duck fat or vegetable oil to a tray and get it really hot. Add your potatoes and rosemary and get that colour on the potatoes going. Roast for 15 minutes and then turn them over and pop them back in for another 20. Once they are looking golden take them out and finish them with some good sea salt.
My favourite vegetable to accompany Christmas lunch is red wine braised red cabbage. For me, the smells and the taste just embody that festive flavour. Add some warming cinnamon to the pan for that extra Christmassy touch.
If I was in the restaurant we would make a lovely rich red wine jus, but for home with my family I always use some classic Bisto. It’s done roast dinners right since before I was born so why change it? Of course, I do add the roasting juices from the turkey for that extra depth of flavour.
For many people a fruity Christmas pudding is the most important course. Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a Christmas pudding finished with brandy custard flaming at the centre of the table. I don’t want to sound lazy, but I would absolutely buy mine for Christmas dinner at home. You’ve just cooked an entire Christmas lunch, so why not give yourself a bit of a break on the pud? Have glass of wine and enjoy the time with your family.
For non-dessert lovers, my go-to is to the cheeseboard. We normally have
one in the evening with some port watching Christmas films. Merry Christmas!