December is just around the corner and it won’t be long until we’re all sitting down for our Christmas dinner. But with lots of essential components, plates to juggle, timings to manage and family members to feed, sometimes things can go wrong.
This year, Rangemaster decided to help the nation avoid any Christmas day disasters by answering the most common festive cooking questions that they get asked every year.
From soggy potatoes to lumpy gravy and being short on oven space, these are the most common Christmas dinner nightmares and how you can resolve them.
FAQs: The most common Christmas dinner disasters
Lindsey Payne is Rangemaster’s Product Training Manager and her expertise has guided consumers through the steps of making the perfect Christmas roast.
I don’t know how long to cook my turkey for
Navigating how long your meat should be in the oven can be a difficult task. Lindsey says, “I always weigh my turkey and calculate cooking time based on the weight. I use 15 minutes per 1lb (450g) + 20 minutes.
So if I was cooking a 12lb turkey I’d do 15 x 12 = 180 minutes.
180 + 20 = 200 minutes
Ultimately, all of that maths means a 12lb turkey should be in the oven for 3 hours 20 minutes.
I also allow 1-2 hours rest time, so the turkey would need to be put in the oven around 5 and a half hours before serving dinner.
I can’t fit everything in the oven
Lindsey says, “Allow time to cook the turkey first – it’ll keep warm for a good hour or so, simply covered in foil. Then you can cook the roast potatoes and pigs in blankets at a higher temperature.”
Of course, if you’ve got a Rangemaster cooker then this shouldn’t be an issue as the main oven can take a 12 kg turkey.
My gravy is lumpy
Nobody likes to find lumps in their gravy. To avoid the classic Christmas mishap, Lindsey suggests running your gravy through a sieve, popping it back into the pan and then giving it a good whisk to ensure all the lumps are gone.
My gravy is too runny
On the other hand, if your gravy won’t thicken then Lindsey says: “Mix one tablespoon of cornflour with some cold water and whisk the two together until the cornflour dissolves. You can then pour the mixture in a steady stream into your gravy on a low heat, whisking continuously, to give it a bit more substance.”
My carrots are overcooked
If you accidentally left the carrots on for too long, Lindsey suggests turning them into mash. “Give your carrots a good mash, add in some butter, and season them with salt and pepper. Nobody will be complaining when they’re served creamy carrot mash instead of limp carrots.”
The roast potatoes aren’t crispy
Lindsey says: “It’s best to cook potatoes in a metal roasting tin or tray to help them crisp up. If the potatoes are cooked and just not crispy, then turn up the heat another 20 degrees and pop them back in the oven, ideally on their own, for another 15 minutes. That should help them crisp up.” If you have a multi-function oven, use the fan-assisted function to help get them really crispy.
I left the giblets in the turkey
Try to remember to take the giblets out beforehand to avoid any turkey losses. If you have forgotten though, Lindsey says: “If the giblets are wrapped in paper don’t worry, it’s absolutely fine to eat. If, however, they are covered in plastic then you have a real problem.
“The plastic can easily melt inside the turkey and release harmful chemicals - that’s when you’ll have to start searching for a turkey alternative.”
The turkey isn’t cooked enough
If the turkey looks undercooked, Lindsey says:
“Brush the turkey with melted butter to keep it moist and then cover with foil and place it back into the oven. Check the turkey by inserting a skewer or sharp knife into the deepest part of the turkey thigh. The juices will run clear when the turkey is cooked.
Check every 15 mins to see if the juices are clear and as soon as they are, remove the turkey and allow it to rest. Never eat undercooked turkey.”
I overcooked the turkey
“Gravy can save it,” Lindsey says. “If it’s not completely cremated, slice the turkey and pour over either some gravy or a few tablespoons of melted butter mixed with chicken stock and then cover it all in foil before putting it in the oven at 180 degrees. 10 to 15 minutes or so should help make it more moist.”