Cooking Christmas dinner in your ski chalet
Right then , do not panic ! Just because you are cooking your first Christmas lunch ever and you are doing it for 12 guests in a kitchen. I know you have only just walked into it a week ago and its at altitude. We are here to help you get through it without waking up face down in a bar after getting the sack !
Top tips on cooking Christmas lunch
Firstly you need to check you have everything you need so write a list. Work through the menu first, from canapes , starters , main course , pudding and then onto coffees. Break this down into everything you will need to complete each part of the menu. you will need to include everything from pots & pans ( is the roasting tray big enough ? ) to all the ingredients ( including oils , butters etc ) .
How do chefs get it right every time ?
The most important aspect of cookery is timing , this runs true from professional kitchens to the simple cafe and you are no different. So working backwards from what time you are expecting to have pudding build an image of what time the main course should be served. Remember to leave yourself time in between courses to clear away and plate up the following course.
Now look at the timings for cooking the turkey
|Approximate Roasting Times for Unstuffed Turkey|
|6 to 8 pounds||2-1/2 to 3 hours|
|8 to 12 pounds||3 to 4 hours|
|12 to 16 pounds||4 to 5 hours|
|16 to 20 pounds||5 to 5-1/2 hours|
|20 to 24 pounds||5-1/2 to 6 hours|
Remember these times are for an un-stuffed turkey ( cook your stuffing separately its easier ) at sea level, so depending on your altitude you will need to increase these times. Always allow your turkey to rest for at least 90 minutes before you carve it, in my opinion I would aim to cook the turkey in the morning once the guests have gone out skiing and you are tidying up after all the unwrapping of Xmas pressies. Make your gravy from the juices and any stock you have built up during the week . Reheating the turkey can be achieved in a roasting tin with some of the gravy covering the meat and tightly sealed with foil , place this in the oven about 60 minutes before you are going to serve it.
Cooking your Christmas vegetables
Sprouts are a must have on Christmas day , cook these the day before for 8-10 mins (depending on altitude ) and then plunge them straight into icy cold water to halt the cooking. Drain the sprouts and dry off nicely, store in a cling-filmed container and throw into boiling water for 2 minutes just before you serve the main course.
For your roast parsnips (panais in French) , par boil these before putting in the oven to roast , leave them in nice big pieces, that way if you leave them in a little too long they will not dry out .
Classic roast potatoes
There are a million recipes for the perfect roast potato, my trick is par boil in salted water for about 10 minutes , just enough so they give a little on the outer edge but are uncooked in the middle. Place them back in the dry pan and give a shake to fluff up the edges, sift a little flour over them as you shake them around, this will make them extra crispy. Place a large roasting tin in the oven with olive oil or goosefat ( if you can get it ) , add your potatoes to the red hot fat along with 5/6 bashed cloves of garlic and some sprigs of rosemary. Then whack ’em in the oven for a good 45 minutes on 220C for the first 20 minutes .Try to get a single even layer of potatoes ( use 2 trays if you have to) .
Final advice for Christmas day in your ski chalet
Make sure you get your table laid nice and early , that way you will stop the guests from using it to play games etc , which could seriously mess up your timings .
Don’t start drinking too early ! believe me I have made that mistake, you do not want to ruin the guests christmas and end up at chalet Gatwick for boxing day ! Remember that the guests are all having the best christmas. They have been skiing , had a couple of cheeky xmas apres ski drinkies and looking forward to a wonderful week with their family , so they are in a good mood. Just relax , run through your timings 2/3 times in your head .. add 5 minutes on here and there to allow for little mistakes and enjoy yourself.
Any problems just tweet us on Christmas day with the hashtag #Xmaspanic