Top Ten Tips for Christmas



Get your Christmas in full swing with our top tips for getting the best out of the meats that you have bought.

1. Here at Owton’s we sell a great choice of Turkeys. We have our Traditional white feather barn reared turkeys grown in The Usk Vale in Wales. We do find that more & more households are opting for the Boneless Turkey Breast Roll as these take less time to cook, are easy to carve and can be order to any size you require.

2. When ordering your Whole Turkey you should allow 500g that’s 1lb to us older generation per person for each meal although you might want to increase this to make sure you have enough of leftovers for Boxing Day, Turkey Curry, Turkey & Tarragon Pie, Turkey Fricassee ETC, but of course don’t forget to keep the carcass for soup!

3. When stuffing the Turkey this should only be done between the meat and the skin of the bird because if it’s put inside the cavity you cannot be sure that it will be cooked thoroughly and no one wants to be ill on Christmas day or you could cook it separately. You can opt to make your own stuffing our there are some very good ones on the market which I would then add to them the ingredients that you like , say maybe a little extra fresh sage or some chopped chestnuts. Don’t forget we have our plump little cocktail pigs wrapped in our luxury duvet of pancetta.

4. Pre-heat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas 8 (or 210°C for fan ovens). Cook your turkey at this temperature for the first 30 minutes & then lower the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 (or 170°C for fan ovens). Total cooking time will be approximately 30-35 minutes per kg. Too many people get overly concerned about cooking the turkey enough so tend to overcook. Follow these guide lines and you will be fine. You can always try the turkey roasting bags available as these keep the bird moist and all the juices contained so they can be used for the gravy and also help the bird to cook quicker.

5. For the perfect roast potatoes use a good waxy red potato like Desiree or King Edwards and par boil so they are a little soft on the outside, drain the excess water, replace the lid and shake them gently to make the outside of the potatoes fluffy. Put the potatoes into the hot roasting pan with Goose Fat and season with salt and pepper. My boss Robert Owton says that you cannot beat putting them in his own beef dripping. When in the oven turn the potatoes every so often.

6. The choices of vegetables are your own personal taste, whether it is the dreaded Brussels sprouts 70% of which are eaten at Christmas or some good roasted root vegetable such as carrots & parsnips. Gill Owton has a great recipe for frozen peas, just put them into a thick based pan with some butter, sugar and salt put the lid on and leave on the lowest setting and in an hour you will have great peas the same as cooking from fresh.

7. Condiments such as Cranberry sauce come in so many varieties as well as making your own if you have the time. Most people have their favorite but you can add to the off the shelf versions by putting in some extra cranberries or even a little Port to give them a little boost.

8. While we are on the topic of alcohol, don’t drink too much Bucks Fizz while preparing dinner or it may not turn out as expected but to accompany dinner you could maybe have a nice crisp Italian Prosseco for the adults which will be ideal to go with the Christmas pudding or mince pies.

9. Try something a little different when cooking your gammon. Try simmering in Ginger Beer or Coke cola. Leave to cool in the liquid. When cool score the skin and glaze with either Brown sugar and marmalade, Black treacle & Beer, Brown sugar and redcurrant jelly or really go mad and try Cranberry sauce, apricot jam, cider and mustard powder and return to the oven on quite high or 20 minutes.

10. For the best cold beef try some salt beef, first soak the beef for 5 hours then put into fresh water with carrots, celery, onions and peppercorns. Simmer for 1 1/4 hours per kg and then allow to cool in the liquid. Taste fantastic.