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Help please - just offered to cook Christmas dinner! What can I do in advance?

(23 Posts)
Ilikesweetpeas Sun 21-Dec-14 18:01:43

Due to my DM having a chest infection I have just offered to host Christmas so that she can have a more restful day. She has ordered beef so that's the meat we will be having. On the day I want to be able to be with the family as much as possible so what can I buy tomorrow and pre-prepare so that I'm not in the kitchen all day? There are 7 adults and I child. I was already providing starters so it's just the actual roast I need to sort. Also I'm not great with roast potatoes, how do I get these fluffy and crispy? Thanks in advance

DandyHighwayman Sun 21-Dec-14 18:05:03

Aunt Bessie roast totties ditto Yorkshire Puds

Buy braised red cabbage, steam in the micro veggies or at least precut everything

There was a thread recently wrt best shop fresh gravy, have a lookie

GooodMythicalMorning Sun 21-Dec-14 18:07:52

Don't use too much oil, the potatoes go soggy if you use too much. Bare minimum oil and shake them to break their sides. They'll come out perfect.

Ilikesweetpeas Sun 21-Dec-14 18:09:33

Thanks Dandy, I will buy yorkshires, never had Aunt Bessie roasties- are they ok? Hadn't though of braised red cabbage, that sounds really tasty with beef. Will it be in the chiller section of the supermarket? I will look for the gravy thread too, thanks for your reply.

Ilikesweetpeas Sun 21-Dec-14 18:11:47

GooodMythicalMorning that could be where I'm going wrong as mine are soggy! Do you part roast them first, and which oil? Is olive oil ok?

NotTheKitchenAgainPlease Sun 21-Dec-14 18:13:19

You can prepare all the veg in advance.
Parboil the potatoes, wait till they are dry and make sure the fat is very hot before you put them in (while beef is resting). You could parboil them the night before.
Stuffing can be down in advance too, if you're having any.
Have you got mustard and horseradish?
Prep all your veg in advance and you can buy nice ready made side dishes.

Springcleanish Sun 21-Dec-14 18:14:42

Sunflower oil, just covering base of tray when heated. Potatoes boiled until edges go fluffy. Put potatoes into hot oil, shake to coat in oil, back in hot oven at least 200/ gas 6. Perfect every time.

RedButtonhole Sun 21-Dec-14 18:14:52

I wouldn't buy Aunt Bessie roasties- if you need to buy frozen ones then McCain's are better, but none of them are as good as home made. You could par boil the potatoes the day before, just keep them in a pot with a tea towel over them, tramsfer to roasting tray when ready to cook on the day. Aunt Bessie Yorkshires are fine.

You can buy trays of pre prepared veg and pigs in blankets in Morissons that you just
shove in the oven then serve.

GooodMythicalMorning Sun 21-Dec-14 18:20:05

I usually use sunflower but olive is ok just can give it a diff flavour. I par boil them first quickly then brush the oil over them, turning them so its even.

Greenrememberedhills Sun 21-Dec-14 18:21:40

Peel potatoes the night before and leave in water.

On the day bring them to the boil and cook for about 10-15 minutes. What you are aiming at is nearly cooked but definitely not yet cooked right through. Say part cooked- the key thing is that the outside few Millimetres is cooked.

Then drain immediately- so the hot water does not continue to cook them- and rough them up a bit. I do this by draining into a colander and shaking them about a bit until the edges are rough.

Then put them in a tray. I usually put a tray in the oven with a couple of tablespoons of oil when I start the boiling process. So put them in the hot tray and use a brush to paint the oil on them, or just turn them over to get oil on most bits. Add salt and pepper and also dried thyme if you like.

Put them either in a hot oven or at the top of the oven and cook till golden - 45-60 minutes.


Ilikesweetpeas Sun 21-Dec-14 18:27:04

Some great ideas and tips here- thank you all! Once DD is on bed I'm making a shopping list for tomorrow. Hadn't thought of mustard because we don't eat it so that will be on my list!

BooDidIScareYou Sun 21-Dec-14 18:29:54

Don't use olive oil for roasties, it doesn't get hot enough. Sunflower or vegetable oil.

HoHonutty Sun 21-Dec-14 18:46:42

The yorkies that are just batter in little foil things are absolutely fine imo.

Ilikesweetpeas Sun 21-Dec-14 19:14:56

List made! I appreciate the suggestions. Hopefully it will be a super meal that my mum can enjoy. She won't usually let anyone else do it but she's too poorly this year.

squiggleirl Sun 21-Dec-14 19:15:00

Goose fat for potatoes. Put the fat into the dish and into the oven (200C) about 30 minutes before you want the potatoes in the oven. Parboil the potatoes for 10 minutes, drain well, and then tip into the oil (be really careful doing this). Then spoon the hot oil over the fat, and put in the oven. Super crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside.

fenneltea Sun 21-Dec-14 20:00:41

Sprinkling a couple of tablespoons of flour over the potatoes when you rough them up in the pan will make them extra crispy! They can be parboiled/floured in advance and popped into a freezer bag into the fridge, then simply roast in hot oil on the day.

I also peel and refrigerate the roast veg in a freezer bag.

Set the table and place sauces etc into serving dishes the day before, saves a good bit of time. Yorkshire puddings can also be made in advance and frozen, just reheat in a hot oven.

DamselNotInHerDress Sun 21-Dec-14 21:10:15

Whatever you do, do not use ain't Bessie's roast potatoes - they taste of the plastic bag they came out of fenvy yes that's right SIL, you most definitely can taste the difference . Also, once parboiled, give them a little shake and allow them to steam and cool down for as long as you can, so all the moisture is drawn out and the potato is nice and dry which will help it to crisp up. Dripping/duck/goose fat are all lovely to cook them in.

Good luck, hope you have a nice Christmas and your dm appreciates your efforts!

Ilikesweetpeas Sun 21-Dec-14 22:16:43

Thank you! List is made for shopping tomorrow, I especially appreciate the tips for roasties. Looking forward to it now wine and Merry Christmas to you all!

Itscurtainsforyou Sun 21-Dec-14 22:32:42

If you don't want to use bisto, there's a Jamie Oliver recipe for gravy that can be prepared then frozen until the day. I've tried it and so far, so good.

IssyStark Sun 21-Dec-14 23:14:07

We're also having beef on Xmas Day and I prepped many of the veg today as we had in-laws over so did a ham. I've already got:
the parsnips and potatoes parboiled and in the freezer (will be done in goose fat on the day),
a potato and celeriac mash (in the fridge, cooked the celeriac by quartering, wrapping in foil and baking in the oven at 180 for 1.5 hours and the scooping out the flesh),
Braised red cabbage using this recipe which will just need a gentle reheat on the day.

I'll chop the carrots and prep the sprouts on Christmas Eve and keep them in the fridge.

The only thing I'm dreading is the doing the Yorkshires as I do them so rarely!

Good luck and hope your mum feels better soon smile

Neeko Mon 22-Dec-14 06:41:36

Aldi's special range of frozen potatoes in goose fat are the absolute best. I'll never make my own again. Buy several packets though!

insanityscratching Mon 22-Dec-14 08:10:17

If cooking beef I'd cook the roast potatoes in the tray that the beef was cooked in. Make sure you salt the water the potatoes were parboiled in as it gives them a good colour when roasted. You could make the Yorkshire puds beforehand and then just warm through on the day as they are much better than frozen and then buy pre prepared veg which would mean hardly any time in the kitchen.

madsadbad Mon 22-Dec-14 08:20:29

You could make the Yorkshire puddings ahead and then freeze when cool also- 5ish mins in the oven to reheat.

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