Good Food blog
Mark Sargeant's perfect Christmas roast
What’s the secret behind a perfect Christmas dinner? Chef Mark Sargeant reveals how to make a Christmas turkey and all the trimmings without breaking a sweat.
It can be the most stressful time of the year. The family are on their way over and you’re not even dressed, the kids are high on sugar, the dog has eaten a cracker and that’s before you’ve even put the turkey in the oven. But Christmas needn’t be traumatic, not when you’ve got the brilliant Mark Sargeant to show you how to do it.
In his Perfect Christmas special, Mark peels, stuffs, roasts and bastes his way to make Christmas turkey with all the trimmings, so we met with him to find out how he does it and how we can do it just as well.
“Turkey aside, you can cook almost everything the day before,” says Mark. “You can peel and parboil your potatoes, make the bread sauce, peel and cook the veggies so that all they need the next day is a quick dip in boiling water to make them hot, braise your cabbage, wrap your chipolatas with bacon and get the stuffing mixture ready.
The main thing, Mark says, is to relax. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve told everyone to be over for dinner at 2pm and you’re running an hour behind,” says Mark. “Make sure there are snacks such as cheese straws that guests can nibble until dinner is served.
And when it comes to serving, let the guests help themselves.
“Make sure the oven is set to high when you first put the bird in so that you get the lovely golden colour to the skin, then turn it down to roast for as long as you need,” says Mark. “Ensure the meat is cooked through by inserting a skewer in to the thickest section of the thigh and making sure the juices that run clear – if not, the bird isn’t ready.
“You should also leave the bird to rest for as long as possible, at least 45 minutes, so that the meat is tender and relaxed.”
There’s nothing like perfect roast potatoes. Mark cooks his the day before and leaves to cool. “I like to rough them up in a colander and set into at least 1cm of smoking hot fat before roasting, to create the perfect fluffy and crispy tatties.
And for the gravy? “Just take the juices from the turkey roasting tin, add a splash of white wine and a few sprigs of your favourite herb,” says Mark. “I like sage at this time of the year.”
The best leftover recipe, according to Mark, is bubble and squeak . “You can put anything into your bubble and squeak – whatever you’ve got left over, just make sure you have enough potato to bind all of the ingredients together.”
Two Perfect… Christmas specials will air on 4 and 5 December at 7pm.