Christmas Day made easy, with your Rangemaster range cooker
If I was only allowed to pick one day out of the three hundred and sixty five days in a year that I grateful for being a Rangemaster Range Cooker Owner that would definitely have to be Christmas Day. I have quite a large family and being the only foodie in the family, I somehow manage every year to get the job of Christmas lunch. So this year with fifteen for Christmas dinner, yeah that’s right fifteen hunger and often slightly merry mouths to feed, I truly am grateful for my Rangemaster Range Cooker. The Rangemaster Ovens have the largest oven capacities on the market, the main multifunction oven has a 73 litre capacity and the tall ovens in the 90cm and 100cm appliances have a 67 litre and 82 litre capacity respectively, making feeding a large number of people just that little bit easier.
I thought I would share with you the how to make your Christmas Day, a happy, stress free and enjoyable day that will leave everyone complimenting the chef, but not too many compliments you don’t want to end up like me, with the job of Christmas dinner every year.
The best way to get a total stress-free Christmas is to be organised and prepared, this starts from Christmas Eve, if you are using a fresh turkey, make sure you are at the butchers early to collect the best bird available, I always reserve a turkey from my local butchers, you will have to check with your butchers as to whether this is necessary or not, but it’s always best to if they will allow it. Obviously you can always use a frozen turkey if you wish, however you do need to ensure that it is fully thawed before use, so this will require being a little more organised.
Once you have got your turkey, it can be prepared in advance, its one less job to do tomorrow morning. To prepare the turkey for the oven, place an onion, cut into quarters, 2 carrots, roughly chopped and 2 parsnips roughly chopped in the bottom of the roasting tin place the turkey on the top. Cover with foil and this can now go in the bottom of the refrigerator overnight. Do make sure it is at the bottom of the refrigerator, to stop the raw meat dripping on ready to eat food.
After messing with the raw turkey make sure that you wash your hands and thoroughly clean the work surfaces and any cooking utensils that you have used, to prevent any cross contamination from the turkey to other foods. You can then preparing other items for the Christmas Day lunch. For dessert we always have the traditional Christmas pudding as well as a lighter less traditional option. Always make sure this can be prepared in advanced, served cold and placed in the refrigerator overnight, cheesecakes, chocolate mousses, pavlova and trifle are all perfect for this.
Make your cauliflower cheese, and place in the dish you are going to cook and serve in, foil and place in the refrigerator. Wrap you chipolata sausages in the bacon and place on the trivet in the grill pan and cling film and place in the refrigerator. If you are using fresh sausage meat stuffing, make this up and place in the dish or shape in balls, foil and place in the refrigerator.
Now peel and chop all you vegetables, these will be fine in the steamer baskets or saucepans with a sheet of damp kitchen roll covering them. Don’t submerge them in water as all the vitamins and goodness will be lost over night in the water.
After all the preparation has been done, now is a good time to figure out what pans are going to be used for the remaining elements of the dinner, and get all the serving dishes and dinner plates ready so you are not hunting around tomorrow for everything.
The last thing to do before, putting the mince pie and milk or whisky, as it always was in my house as a child, out for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph, is to calculate, how long the turkey needs to be cooked for. This way you will know what time, you have to get the turkey in the oven for Christmas morning. I always weigh the turkey and calculate cooking time based on the weigh. I always use 15 minutes per 1lb (450g) + 20 minutes. So if I was cooking a 12lb turkey it would be in the oven for 3 hours 20 minutes. Allow 1-2 hours rest time, so the turkey would need to be in the oven 5 to 5 and a half hours before serving dinner.
It’s always best to cook your turkey in the main oven, the largest turkey that you can fit into a Rangemaster main oven on the oven shelves is 25lb (11.25kg). You will have to unclip the Handy rack to do this. The largest turkey that can be placed on the handy rack is 12lb (5.4kg).
Remove your turkey from the fridge as soon as you get up and if possible allow it to come up to room temperature, don’t worry if time doesn’t allow this. Pre-heat both your multifunction and fan oven ready for use during the morning.
Now it’s fast approaching the time you decided last night the turkey needed to start cooking and this is where myself and the trainer here at AGA Rangemaster, Lindsey Payne differ, I would always recommend that you cook your Turkey on the Fan function at 180°C, this gives you a perfectly browned and succulent turkey that is an even colour all the way round and also allows you to sneak a shelf in the bottom of the oven to begin cooking your stuffing, roast potatoes or roast parsnips. Lindsey however thinks it’s better to roast the turkey on conventional function at 200°C. This gives a slightly more moist turkey, as the fan is not drying the turkey out; however you do need to ensure that the centre of the turkey is in the centre of the oven, restricting you only having the turkey in the oven. So the choice is yours both will cook the turkey but there are different advantages to each.
Once the turkey is in the oven it’s time to think about a light breakfast, it’s a long time until lunch is served, opening presents and drinking that bucks fizz. We often just have some Danish pastries, which you can buy frozen from the supermarket and cook fresh Christmas morning. These can easily be done in the fan oven while your turkey is in the main oven.
So now all the hard work begins, the turkey, has reached the cooking time calculated using the above formula, make sure the turkey is fully cooked, if you have a digital temperature probe you are looking for the thickness part of the turkey breast reaching 75°C or above. If you don’t have a temperature probe, don’t worry, you just want to make sure that all the juices are running clear. Remove the turkey from the roasting dish and place on a lipped chopping board, cover with two layers of foil and a clean tea towel and set to one side. Remember to keep all the vegetables and juices from the roasting dish this is a good start to your gravy. Turn your Multifunction oven to fan function if you were using conventional to roast the turkey and set the temperature at 200°C, get the oil, dripping or goose fat in the oven to preheat ready for the roast potatoes. When the fat is hot, add the par-boiled potatoes to the oil, dripping or goose fat. Place back in the oven. Set your oven timer for 20 minutes.
This is now the time to get your gravy started. I always start off my vegetables early too and cook them until they are very al dente, place in the serving dish, cover in foil and place in the tall oven set at 120°C. You can also have the plate warmer in the bottom of the oven warming all the dinner plates through as well.
When the oven timer goes off, give the roast potatoes a shake and add another tray with the fat for your roast parsnips. When the fat is hot add the parsnips and slide your stuffing and cauliflower cheese into the oven too. You can order a spare oven shelf from Rangemaster, for £13.30 + VAT, they come in very useful for batch baking and days like Christmas day. Set the timer again for 20 minutes. Preheat your grill to high, but not full.
Give the potatoes and parsnips another shake and if you want you can add some honey or maple syrup to the parsnips at this time. Place the pigs in blankets under the preheated grill. Set the oven timer for 20 minutes again. This is when you give everyone a 20 minute warning to dinner.
This is the time to focus on carving the turkey; I would often remove the legs and wings and place them on a large meat platter or serving dish, you can then focus on slicing the breast meat.
When the timer goes off, remove the potatoes from the oven, place in the serving dish and season. Remove the parsnips from the oven and place in another serving dish. Arrange the pigs in blankets and stuffing around the carved turkey. Remove the plates and vegetables form the tall oven and you are all ready to get people to come and help themselves.
How easy was that, now it’s time to have a few glasses of wine with your dinner and enjoy yourself and just remember you did all the cooking, its someone else’s job to do the washing up.