With Christmas edging ever closer, it’s time to not just start thinking about buying presents, but time to start planning your Christmas dinner.
Preparing for Christmas dinner in advance is one of the most effective ways to ensure it all goes to plan on the big day, offering you peace of mind in the run-up knowing that you’re well-prepared and ready to go.
Christmas dinner preparation can begin up to one month ahead if done properly, so it’s time to get started on making Christmas dinner 2020 your best yet!
THINGS YOU CAN DO UP TO 1 MONTH BEFORE
Plan for the meat
If you need to place a pre-order for meat from a farm, now is the time to get started. There’s often a lot of demand in turkey’s from specific turkey farms, so being ahead of the game is a good way to ensure you get the turkey you want in time for Christmas.
If you’re not going for a turkey this year or ordering from an online butcher such as Tom Hixson, checking out delivery dates and availability well in advance helps you make sure you’re not going to miss out. Planning a delivery date is also often optional, so the earlier you get a delivery date set, the less worrying you’ll do.
If you don’t fancy a traditional turkey, there are many alternatives for turkey that are just as tasty and offer an equally flavoursome alternative. Why not try pork, beef, lamb or chicken this year, or take a look at our guide to Christmas dinner alternatives for more help.
Make your Christmas cake
A Christmas dinner menu isn’t complete without a Christmas cake! If you’re choosing to make your own this year, making it a month or more in advance will allow you plenty of time to bake and feed it enough so that it offers the perfect taste come Christmas day.
THINGS TO DO UP TO 1 WEEK BEFORE
Shop for food
In the week of the run-up to Christmas day, it’s a good idea to head to the supermarket and purchase everything you’ll need to go with your Christmas lunch.
Every household’s Christmas food list differs, but commonly needed ready for Christmas dinner is the likes of fresh vegetables, fruits and baking ingredients such as sugar and salt.
Getting your food shop done before the mad rush on Christmas eve not only ensures you’ll have everything you need, but it also prevents you from having to shop in super busy supermarkets
Make any sauces
Make any sauces, such as cranberry sauce, and freeze or chill to keep them tasting great.
Make any dishes you can freeze
As well as sauces, you can make any freezable dishes up to a week before.
Freezable puddings are great for preparing, while it’s advised to avoid making any vegetable dishes too far ahead as they may lose flavour.
You can also make your stuffing to freeze in advance, as this will stay nice and fresh for up to 3 months.
THINGS TO DO ON CHRISTMAS EVE
Take anything frozen out of the freezer
In preparation for cooking tomorrow, take anything you have frozen out of the freezer and let it rest overnight.
If your meat is frozen, taking this out of the freezer before roasting is vital as meat cooked straight from frozen can lead to thermal shock which has a major impact on taste and texture.
Wash, peel, chop and slice up your vegetables, storing them in a sealed pan or fridge overnight to keep them fresh.
ON CHRISTMAS DAY…
Roast your meat
Whatever Christmas dinner meat you opt for, roasting it is the most important part when it comes to preparing your meal.
Every meat requires a different roasting time depending on size and type of meat, so make sure you follow any instructions given from your butcher or farm.
Standard roasting times are as such:
Turkey = 20 minutes at 200c followed by 20 minutes at 180c per 500g/1lb 2oz
Beef (medium) = 25 minutes at 180c per 450g/1lb
Pork = 35 minutes at 180c per 450g/1lb
Lamb (medium) = 25 minutes at 180c per 450g/1lb
Chicken = 20 minutes at 200c followed by 20 minutes at 180c per 500g/1lb 2oz
Our roasting guide will help you avoid any common mistakes when it comes to roasting your meat this Christmas.
Cook your vegetables
After preparing them on Christmas eve, all that’s left for your vegetables is to boil, mash or roast them.
For extra flavour, roast your vegetables in the same tray as your meat, and use the leftover juices and fat to make a gravy.
Make your pigs in blankets
After the meat has been defrosted, pigs in blankets should be made on Christmas day itself to ensure only the tastiest and freshest sides.
Enjoy your well deserved Christmas dinner after your month of preparation.
Always ensure meat is cooked thoroughly before serving.
Following this basic Christmas dinner plan and adding your special touches is bound to make Christmas 2020 a much less stressful experience, especially in a year that’s been full of curveballs.
Keep an eye on our blog for more helpful guides and foodie news.