Top chefs share advice for cooking juicy and flavoursome turkey on Christmas Day

The weather is feeling colder, the nights are shorter and we’re quickly approaching the big day!

Christmas is just around the corner and if you’re anything like us you’re prepping for the main event: Christmas dinner.

We all want our family and friends to be impressed with how juicy our turkey is and the richness of our gravy. Compliments on December 25 just hit a little bit different.

So, to help out we’ve spoken to some top chefs to find out their best advice for the big day.

From adding soy sauce to your gravy (we know, sounds odd but it works) to brining your meat for a juicy turkey dinner these tips work like a charm.

Check out their top tips below…

Daniel Mertl, Head Chef at Ganymede, said: “For the best roast potatoes use a floury potato like Maris Piper. Peel and cut into large chunks, and boil in salty water until the edges start to look fluffy, then drain and let them steam for a few minutes.

“Now, using either goose or duck fat, cook the potatoes on a high temperature (around 190 degrees), turning them every 20 minutes or so.

“For extra flavour, add half a bulb of garlic and a few sprigs of thyme halfway through, cook until golden brown and crispy.”

Yasuda Akinori, Head Chef of SUMI added: “Take your gravy to the next level this Christmas by adding a couple of splashes of soy sauce in as you’re simmering it.

“Soy sauce has a brilliant rich, umami taste, and it adds a real depth of flavour. It’s also quite meaty in taste so it’s perfect for those looking to enhance a vegetarian gravy.”

Turkey tips

Matthew Whitfield, Executive Chef at The Terrace at The Montagu Arms, noted: “For the best flavour and texture, always buy free-range – we buy from Owton Butchers in Southampton. For the most-moist meat, we take off the breast and butterfly it, and then stuff it with chestnut stuffing and roll into a log.

“We then vac pack it and cook it at 70 degrees Celsius for 3 hours. When it’s cooked, take it out and roast the skin so it’s crispy. The meat is really succulent and has the stuffing running through it. Delicious!”

Henry Brosi, Executive Chef of Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, commented: “My top tip is to brine the whole turkey in a good chicken stock 24 hours prior to roasting, as this will keep the turkey extremely moist.

“I’d also recommend buying a turkey crown with the legs removed (boned and rolled) as this will save you two hours on the cooking time of the turkey – you can always ask your local butcher to do this!”

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Sameer Taneja, Executive Chef at Michelin-starred Benares, said: “To nail a perfect juicy roast this Christmas, try adding a tablespoon full of pineapple juice while marinating the turkey as this not only imparts sweetness, but acts as a tenderiser and softens the meat as well as retaining good moisture in the turkey.”

Oliver Marlowe, Owner Chef Director, The Hunter’s Moon, said: “To make sure you don’t end up with a dry turkey on the big day, I’d recommend brining your bird in a 10% salt to water liquid mix overnight prior to cooking. The salt dissolves some of the muscle proteins, meaning the meat contracts less while in the oven so therefore it loses less moisture.

“ It gives a game-changing depth of flavour, making it very difficult to overcook so there’s one less thing to worry about on the big day!”

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