Talk

Advanced search

Some first time Xmas lunch questions!

(21 Posts)
lawlie Thu 13-Nov-14 16:31:12

So I'm hosting an Xmas lunch/party this year for the first time. It's near the start of December so getting festive quite early this year grin. All after the initial heart-attack of none of the supermarkets delivering turkey at that time of December, but have managed to sort it out with a butchers.

I've been doing plenty of research on MN and online but still a few questions I had for you very knowledgable ladies!

Plan is to have smoked salmon and quiche canapes with champers/sparkling, then lunch being served around 3.30 - 4 with Nigella's turkey, Jamie's gravy and stuffing and parsnips, carrots and sprouts, roasties and pigs in blanket and cranberry sauce. Then later on in the evening, mince pies and mulled wine.

1. I've read that lots of people peel and chop potatoes the day/night before. Is it better to leave them soaking in cold water overnight, or is it better to freeze them? Soaking them sounds easier to me as I have a fear of defrosting anything hmm and worried about messing up the timing for the roasting.

2. A lot of you ladies advocate using foil roasting trays so they can be disposed of, so I'm planning to use my normal roasting tin for the turkey and foil for everything else. Does it work okay for potatoes too? No sticking?

3. I'm planning on using the BBC mince pies recipe www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2174/unbelievably-easy-mince-pies but I don't understand how to freeze it! So does that mean you have to put the entire muffin tin into the freezer? Not sure my freezer would fit that hmm

4. I don't understand giblets. Do they definitely come separated and in a bag? Should I ask my butcher to remove them and give them to me separately? Will the neck already be removed?

5. Do you carve your turkey in the roasting tin?

6. Finally... one of my biggest worries... how do you carve a turkey?!

Thanks!

agoodbook Thu 13-Nov-14 22:23:01

Right- I will go first smile but I can't answer everything, but Im sure someone can !
!.I prepare my potatoes the day before. I put them in cold water so they are totally covered in whichever receptacle they fit in ( usually the pan I am going to use) and put lid/cling film on and put in fridge. When you are ready to cook them, chuck the water away, and use fresh water and salt
2. I just use my ordinary roasting pans- sorry never used a foil tin
3. Mince pies keep quite well in a cake tin for 3-5 days ( if they last that long) but if you want to freeze them, I would put 4 or 6 in a freezer bag so they lay flat in the bag, suck out as much air as possible , tie up tight and freeze them like that.
4.Giblets if you get them will be in a plastic bag inside the cavity of the bird- and yes there may be neck in there. You should always rinse inside the turkey with cold water before you cook it anyway, so you should feel them!
5. When your turkey is cooked, it needs to 'rest' - i.e. take it out the oven at least 15-20 minutes before you eat. so take it out of the tin, pour off the juices for your gravy and then either wrap in foil and keep somewhere warm, or put it back in the tin and cover with foil.
6. Not good on carving -DH normally does it- I have enough else to fight with, but think of it as a large chicken and cut off legs and put to one side, then cut slices from breast, but on a board , not in the tin.
Good Luck ! smile

FelixTitling Thu 13-Nov-14 22:42:12

You're going to get such conflicting advice here, but this is what I do:

1. I do know someone who does all her veg a week or so before and freezes it, but I do it all xmas eve and leave it in covered pans in a cool kitchen. Fresh water the next day.

2. I have used foil trays for veg, but I don't like them. They bend too easily. I use my own roasting tins. bought really good ones years ago and it was a good investment.

3. I buy mine from Able & Cole (bloody gorgeous). But that's cos there's only me and Santa who eats them, so I only need 4. You can freeze them as agoodbook says, but they will be fine baked a few days before and kept in a airtight container. Especially if you are going to warm them up.

4. Giblets are the work of the devil. Unless you're going to use them to flavour your gravy, you can ask the butcher to take them out. You don't need to wash your turkey. Infact I'm sure the advice at the moment is to not do this. I never have at any rate.

5 & 6. I'm a bit crap at this, so I usually put it on the table untouched and on a really nice board (so everyone can see it) and ask someone else to do it. It appears to be a bit of an honour for my dad and mil. Fil always refuses. dh and my mum are usually busy with drinks, children etc.

Happy Christmas!

sunnyrosegarden Thu 13-Nov-14 22:51:38

On my phone, so sorry if I miss anything.

You can do potatoes day before and leave in cold water. I think they say best not to do it with parsnips - they soak up too much water. I do them on the day.

I use my normal roasting tins.

I never use giblets, unless I'm making stock or soup. Make sure they're not left in the turkey, keep them in the fridge and use for stock. Don't wash the turkey.

I leave it to rest on a large serving plate. Carve at the table - DH usually does it, but basically like a large chicken

Why not trial run a roast chicken before the party?

agoodbook Thu 13-Nov-14 22:52:51

Oh- Felix didn't know that about rinsing -Haven't done turkey for years!

Swex Thu 13-Nov-14 22:56:11

I have nothing to add, bar good luck. I'm doing my first as well this year so am keen to see any hints you get!

mkmjimmy Fri 14-Nov-14 11:13:24

Don't rinse the turkey!

Someone will step up and carve - but if they don't it's actually quite easy. take the legs off - do thin slices of the breast - and you'll have enough meant before it gets difficult.

You might want to think about getting a turkey crown - so no legs - unless you know people like the dark meat. I do like the dark meat but am the only one - so still get a turkey crown as it cooks more quickly and it is easier to carve.

Also...you can leave it to rest covered in foil for 40 minutes to an hour - it'll stay hot and be really juicy and frees up the oven for other stuff.

ILikeToClean Fri 14-Nov-14 12:51:35

1) I prep all veg the day before, and freeze my stuffing and sausages in bacon well in advance, just defrost overnight. With potatoes, Mary Berry suggests par-boiling the potatoes the day before, draining and fluffing, then leaving them in the fridge ready for roasting on the day. I might try that this year. You can freeze roasties, BBC Good Food has a recipe here

www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/4967/golden-roast-potatoes - just cook from frozen on the day.

2) I use normal trays as I find foil ones too bendy.

3) I have made the mince pie recipe you refer to for the last 3 years, they are really good and just freeze as agoodbook suggests.

4) I never use giblets!

5) We normally have a turkey crown so easier to carve, but there is a guide in the Christmas Good Food magazine which might help.

Good luck - try and prep as much as possible beforehand so on Xmas Day you are literally just putting things in the oven at set times - do a time plan working backwards from when you want to serve.

tywysogesgymraeg Fri 14-Nov-14 12:59:25

1. I've read that lots of people peel and chop potatoes the day/night before. Is it better to leave them soaking in cold water overnight, or is it better to freeze them? Soaking them sounds easier to me as I have a fear of defrosting anything and worried about messing up the timing for the roasting.

I get any guests staying over/over for a Christmas eve drink to congregate in the kitchen for a veg peeling session. Everything is finished in no time. All veg are OK left over night, and with potatos, a lot of the starch will disolve out, so they'll be fluffier anyway.

2. A lot of you ladies advocate using foil roasting trays so they can be disposed of, so I'm planning to use my normal roasting tin for the turkey and foil for everything else. Does it work okay for potatoes too? No sticking?
I use normal roasting trays - no need for extra expense. Foil ones fine for roast pots though. DH does the washing up anyway

3. I'm planning on using the BBC mince pies recipe www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2174/unbelievably-easy-mince-pies but I don't understand how to freeze it! So does that mean you have to put the entire muffin tin into the freezer? Not sure my freezer would fit that
Cook, then freeze. You can make mince pies weeks ahead and freeze them. Just defrost a few at a time as you need them.

4. I don't understand giblets. Do they definitely come separated and in a bag? Should I ask my butcher to remove them and give them to me separately? Will the neck already be removed?
If you're buying from a butcher, not supermarket, you can have things how you want them. Discuss with your butcher when you order your turkey.

5. Do you carve your turkey in the roasting tin?
No - take it out of the fat and put it on a carving tray.

6. Finally... one of my biggest worries... how do you carve a turkey?!
Same as a chicken.
Cut the legs and thighs off, then slice down each breast.

Have fun and don't stress - it's just a normal roast dinner really.

Lunaballoon Fri 14-Nov-14 15:43:11

I usually make giblet stock for a nice flavoursome gravy. They're usually in a plastic bag inside the carcass but the outside packaging should indicate if giblets are included. I think it varies what you get. Last year, I seem to remember there was only a neck but previously they've included neck, liver and heart. One word of warning - if using liver, there may be a small green sack attached to it, which is the gall bladder and should be removed as it will ruin the stock. I made the mistake of chucking everything into the stock pot one year without realising and it was so horrible I had to throw the whole lot out.

lawlie Mon 17-Nov-14 15:31:40

Thanks so much for the advice everyone! I'm glad I'm not the only one who has trouble with the carving wink

I'm feeling confident about the veg and the giblets now, will call the butcher the week I'm picking up the turkey to make sure they prep it the way I want - i.e. remove giblets and neck, as I'm not going to use it for the gravy as I have no idea how

I have a 5kg bird - what size of roasting tray do you ladies use?

Ps. so glad I asked about the mince pies. I was so sure BBC was telling me to freeze them before I cooked them?! Still very confused going to go back and read up on the recipe blush

Nydj Mon 17-Nov-14 15:38:29

If you par boil the potatoes and parsnips then you can keep them I fridge after draining without faffing about with extra water.

lawlie Mon 17-Nov-14 16:25:20

So having done some more research, there seems to be two ways you can do it - freeze them raw and freeze them cooked.

Think I'm going to freeze them raw, and then the day before try cooking one of them back from frozen just to make sure they turn out alright, and if not, nip down to the supermarket!!!

NoelleHawthorne Mon 17-Nov-14 16:28:29

buy a roasting tin from poundland then bin it

FelixTitling Mon 17-Nov-14 21:22:42

Why would you bin it Noelle? It wouldn't be much effort to clean it.

NoelleHawthorne Mon 17-Nov-14 22:04:09

- but if it is, I bin

Waswondering Mon 17-Nov-14 22:07:01

I prep the carrots and sprouts, then pop into sandwich bags in the fridge overnight. They are fresh, and ready to go ...

Good luck and enjoy.

sashh Tue 18-Nov-14 12:08:35

I don't do Xmas but do often have people round.

I would actually buy disposable roasting tins but put them inside my own as a sort of liner, that way they are not too bendy but the washing up is minimal.

Veg - if you prep a month before freeze, if you do it the night before soak the spuds, put the other in Tupperware with lids.

Have your canapes made in advance.

Is it just you cooking? If not get someone else to do the prep the day before.

Turkey - you need to take out of the roasting dish, either put it on a large serving dish and bring to the table, or carve in the kitchen and bring out.

Do not try to carve like they do on adverts, it doesn't work in real life (just as if you decorated with a bloody great dog in the house you would get dog hair on the walls and paint on the dog). No one really cares as long as they get some meat.

Waswondering Tue 18-Nov-14 18:00:37

Oh. Check both ends of the turkey for bags with the giblets. Oh yes, I remember cooking for mil and her finding a plastic bag in one end! Oops smile

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Thu 20-Nov-14 23:11:52

Yes do veg the day before and leave in water in fridge or somewhere cool. I've never tried it but I have heard you can parboil potatoes in advance and then freeze.

Never bothered with foil trays. I am sure they don't work as well as a decent roasting tin, not sturdy enough.

I am rubbish at mince pies so won't try and advise!

I've always had giblets come separately but the beauty of using a butcher is you can and should ask if not sure.

Take your turkey out of the roasting tin and place on a big board, cover with foil and then several towels and leave to rest for 30mins-1hour before carving.

Carving: it works really well if you remove the whole breast and then cut the breast across into slices. A quick google should find some instructions on how to do this.

Good luck and have fun!

Blueberrybaby Sat 22-Nov-14 09:24:55

I make the mince pie recipe you refer to and have done for 5 years now. I freeze raw in trays and pop in the oven when I need a new batch. They will be perfectly fine if you make them now, freeze and cook them on Christmas Eve. Then you have enough to last through to Boxing Day if you have made enough. They are the best mince pies ever! The only comment I have about them is I don't think for a first timer they are that easy! The pastry has no liquid and it means it takes a while before it comes together.....BUT trust me it does come together eventually. Just keep kneading it and pressing it and you will eventually get there without the aid of an egg - takes about 7 minutes!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now