STRESSING out about getting it right in the kitchen this Christmas?
Chef Grant Croft said preparing the turkey or ham is often the task cooks dread most.
“Preparing Christmas food is actually quite challenging. My best tip for Christmas is don’t overcomplicate food. Enjoy the natural flavours of ham and turkey without getting too fancy”, he said.
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Here are his quick tips for the perfect turkey and ham:
1. OVEN: Make sure you have the right turkey for your oven. This may seem basic, but a 5kg turkey actually won’t fit in a 3kg oven.
2. COOKING TIME: Remember every kilogram is 1 hour of cooking. eg/ if you have a 3kg turkey it needs to cook for 3 hours at 180 degrees
3. MOIST: Combine butter, salt and spices such as rosemary and sage and put this under the skin of the turkey. This will ensure the meat doesn’t dry out and is kept moist.
4. GOLDEN: During the last 20 minutes turn up the oven to 200 degrees. This will make the skin golden.
5. REST: When you take the turkey out of the oven, rest it UPSIDE DOWN on a cooling rack. This allows all the juices to flow into the turkey breasts, ensuring the best possible flavour.
6. CRISPY: Once the turkey has rested for 20 mins, put it back in the over for an extra 5 mins. This will turn the golden skin into the perfect crispy skin.
• BOOK: Book the ham in advance. If you haven’t already done it, do it!
• SKIN: The first step is to remove the skin and score the ham 1cm apart. In each score, place a clove. This is for decoration but will also add flavour.
• GLAZE: Keep the glaze really simple. All you need is brown sugar and a little vinegar for a sweet and sour effect. Glaze all over, bake the oven at 160 degrees for 90 minutes and add glaze every 20 minutes until completion.
If a turkey or ham seem too much to handle, Croft said seafood is a great option for Christmas lunch.
“Christmas has changed in Australia and many people have seafood now, too. Barramundi is the best for Christmas for a large number of people. It’s easy to cook and can serve about 10 people. Wrap the fish in greaseproof paper and foil and then steam bake it on the BBQ.