Xmas day for 17 people!(15 Posts)
OK, never catered for this many at Xmas. Going to be a challenge. Have decided no starters and guests are asking to bring stuff so I've suggested canapés and deserts so all we have to focus on is dinner. Looking at a 7kg turkey from M&S. Questions.....will it fit in my oven (Neff 1.5 oven). Will 7kg be enough or too much. Also have to cater for two veggies. Any tips or suggestions most welcome!
Personally I’d get a turkey breast or turkey crown rather than a whole bird.
For that many people I’d cook it the day before and carve it. Place it into disposable foil trays and cover with gravy. It then just needs to be warmed through on Christmas Day.
That gives you oven space for roast potatoes, pigs n blankets and stuffing etc.
If you don’t have one try and pick up a plug in veg steamer so this keeps your hob free.
I'd get two smallish turkey crowns (to serve 8). A few years ago, when we catered for a large number with a whole turkey, we were struggling to get good cuts of meat off the bird for the last few guests. While that was happening, the meat that we first carved was getting cold. Ever since, we've had two crowns, which are carved simultaneously to help keep the food warm. Everybody gets a similar cut too. And you're not using oven space with the bones etc... You can get ones which are already stuffed and basted, which saves you a couple of jobs.
For the vegetarians, I'd go for something that can be served up with the same trimmings as you're serving to everyone else, to save you extra work (just make sure potatoes are roasted in oil rather than goose fat!) As cliche as it sounds, a nut roast is perfect for this. Alternatively, mushroom Wellington would also work. You may want to consider packet gravy/granules because you can get a veggie version.
Don't get caught out by arranging with someone to bring the xmas pud but then overlooking the brandy sauce! And check that the suet used is vegetarian.
Prep as much as you can the day before i.e. veg.
I would also pre cook some and use your microwave to warm it up - this will free up a ring on your cooker.
I put out the dinner on the kitchen table and everyone walks around and helps themselves, meat/gravy/pigs/stuffing is on the dining table , makes it so much easier when guests sit down. I have plenty of napkins ready so that the guests can use them to hold their warmed plates.
Be super organised, it makes the day less stressful.
I have done Christmas day for 20 for a number of years.
I find writing a timings plan works welll working backwards from the time we want to eat.
Have your table ready the day before.
Prep as much as possible in advance - bread sauce, gravy (Jamie Oliver recipe, stuffing, pigs in blankets and some veg can all be done in advance.
I would order, along with your turkey, two vegetarian mains or a vegetarian main dish that can serve at least two. Something that can just go in the oven.
Do all the vegetable prep beforehand too. You can peel veg and leave in cold water over night. Things like pigs in blankets can go on trays then covered in clingfilm. Sauces can be made in advance too.
I would then write a plan of what needs to go in/on and when. I do this every year and makes it really simple as you can be called away form the kitchen and not lose track. Means you aren't chained to the cooking.
I would also clarify what people are bringing, in case they turn up with canapés that need cooking and you don't have that included etc.
I second turkey crowns. If people might prefer a leg, buy them separately (ds always likes one to wave about in s ceremonial manner, don't ask)
Start saving foil trays, have a 'serving station' for every 4 people - roasts, veg, trimmings, stuffing. And a gravy boat/Pyrex jug for each. Just place them on central table mats at points along the table. This saves passing one dish of potatoes around 17 people. Using foils saves mucho washing up. And avoids Old Uncle Freddie helping himself to 11 roasties and 22 pigs in blankets, leaving Little Bert with a bit of leftover oil.
You can cook the crowns the day before if needed. Carve and lay out the meat on ovenproof platters and keep them well sealed in foil. On the day, spray a little water onto the meat, recover with foil and put them in the oven fairly low for an hour, the water will stop them drying out. Then stick a bit of greenery around the edge. If you're not carving at table, then again do a few platters. If you have enough children, have them carry the platters in when everyone is seated - sort of walking in the haggis. Gives a nice 'hurray' start to the meal - the Entrance of the Turkey.
(Used to do Xmas dinner for 23. Such fun. Moved 60 miles to get out of it. Bliss.)
I did dinner for 17 last year. I found it quite stressful (but that was more to do with the situation-fil had terminal cancer and dies the week after and I felt enormous pressure for everything to be right).
Turkey crown cooked the night before, all veg prepped. The best advice I can give is to write a really good list in chronological order so you know everything is done at the right time. Also everyone was banned from the kitchen except my mum, brother and dh. I didn’t need anyone coming in for a chat or to offer to help.
Worst moment was dh setting fire to the oven gloves, at the time, I was terrified, neither grandad could walk unaided and for a second I had visions of the whole house going up.
Plan your serving dishes in advance so you know you have enough and as above make sure you have enough for duplicates dishes at each end of the table.
thanks all for the tips so far. Crowns sounding good option but looks like will cost more for 2 crowns and separate legs (SLI only likes legs) and I don't know if both will fit in oven - I'm worried about cooking night before and it being nasty - will have to get researching, maybe I should test on a small one before hand - though no-one here really keen on turkey! Def will do the list and I will get onto the serving dishes too, love the idea of a number of serving stations, will have to get creative with the table space!
I'm going to get Tesco finest frozen roast potatoes - have read they are fantastic and that will take some of the stress away.
Can't keep people out of the kitchen I'm afraid, it's open plan - our house really isnt big enough for all these people but it will have to do!
Any more suggestions feel free to send them this way!
We do this! Recommend the Sainsbury’s TTD frozen turkey, about 5kg. Roast it breast down so it self-basted. 5kg might not sound like enough but there are so many sides that people don’t actually take that much meat even if they are having a real feast and seconds.
If no one’s that keen on turkey, why not do a turkey crown and a roast ham? The ham can definitely be done the day before, you’ve got variety, the brown will serve 8-10 but if people go for a couple of slices it can be eeked out anyway.
I would be asking people to bring stuff with them. We always do large family xmas dinners. One of us do spuds and two veg. Another does beef and different veg. Another, a turkey and puds.
Par cook th veg. Plate up and zap in microwave once ready to eat
Get in touch with people now (an email trail is useful for people to see what to bring/who is bringing what) and see who will bring:
- canapes (ready to eat)
- desserts (you get cream/ice cream)
- cheese & biscuits
- chocolate mints & baileys
- everyone to bring wine and any soft drinks
- if anyone has a favourite side dish (eg red cabbage / sprouts)
The key i find is to do a lot of not too many different things.
Roast potatoes, red cabbage, chantenay carrots, greens.
Gravy. Job done.
Buy bread sauce, cranberry sauce.
Set the table the day before
Either buy the gravy or make Jamie's "Get ahead" gravy.
Aunt Bessie frozen yorkshires can be cooked in minutes as everyone is sitting down and loved by the kids i find.
Lay out everything away from the dining table and get everyone to serve themselves and sit down. far easier than trying to dish everyone up.
Ikea do fab large metal roasting trays.
I do a ham and a turkey. They can be cooked earlier in the day and kept warm.
Roast potatoes stay warm for ages.
The red cabbage can be reheated.
Don't do a thousand options/choices. Enough of everything for everyone. For the vegetarians a filled half butternut squash would be good and goes with greens/red cabbage etc..
Get a big drinks bucket - do NOT try and serve drinks and cook the dinner!
I’d be tempted to tell SIL to put up with turkey breast, she may prefer leg but breast is pretty inoffensive and you’re catering to 16 others besides her.
I agree with doing a limited number of options in larger quantities rather than lots of smaller different things. If you try to please everyone it’ll be chaos. Did you ever see the episode of Friends where Monica ends up doing three or four different types of potatoes at thanksgiving to try and please everyone and ends up very stressed? Don’t let that be you!
yes you can't be pandering to anyone if you're cooking for this many.
No turkey legs.
There's a vegetarian option and that is it.
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