Your essential Christmas get-ahead time plan 2020

The Good Housekeeping Cookery Team
·3-min read
Photo credit: Alex Luck - Hearst Owned
Photo credit: Alex Luck - Hearst Owned

From Good Housekeeping

Your time plan will depend on when you like to serve lunch. If you’re having turkey, weigh it (once stuffed, if you’re doing so) to calculate the cooking time, allowing 30-35min per kg. Allow plenty of time for the turkey to rest.

This guide is based on a 5.4kg turkey and a double oven, to serve canapés at 1.30pm, starter at 2pm and the main course at 3pm.

FROM A FEW DAYS UP TO 5 WEEKS AHEAD

Prepare according to the recipes’ Get Ahead instructions any elements that can be frozen:

  • Christmas Pudding

  • Mulled Cranberry Sauce

  • Croissant Bread Sauce

1-2 DAYS AHEAD

Prepare according to the recipes’ Get Ahead instructions:

  • Spiced Tortilla Chips with Festive Houmous

  • Candied Pecans, for starter

  • Pork, Apricot and Hazelnut Stuffing Log

  • Boozy Butterscotch Custard

  • Clementine and Prosecco Trifle

THE NIGHT BEFORE/CHRISTMAS EVE

  • Prepare turkey, weight and calculate cooking time

Transfer to the fridge to thaw:

  • Mulled Cranberry Sauce

  • Croissant Bread Sauce

Prepare according to the recipes’ Get Ahead instructions:

  • Winter Spiced Negroni

  • Mini Crab and Chilli Doughnuts (dough only, if wished)

  • Poached pears, for starter

  • Caramelised Onion and Squash Baked Ricotta, if serving (squash and onions only)

  • Lentil and Nut Stuffing Balls

  • Onion and Porcini Gravy

  • Creamy Sweet Potato and Celeriac Bake

  • Polenta and Parmesan Roasties

  • Braised Beetroot and Cranberry Cabbage

  • Cider Roasted Roots

ON THE DAY

9.30AM

  • Take the prepared turkey out of the fridge (keep covered) to come up to room temperature

ABOUT 10.30AM

  • Start roasting the turkey (adjust your timing according to its weight)

  • Get your Christmas Pudding ready to reheat, but don’t heat yet

  • Make and cook doughnuts and prepare filling for Mini Chilli and Crab Doughnuts

  • Make and chill filling for Pea and Mint Croustades

ABOUT 1PM

  • Remove foil from turkey and glaze, repeating after 20min

  • Heat fat for Polenta and Parmesan Roasties (or traditional roast potatoes), in oven

Remove from fridge to bring up to room temperature:

  • Festive Houmous

  • Pea and Mint Croustade filling

  • Poached pears, for starter

  • Mulled Cranberry Sauce

1.15PM

  • Start roasting Polenta and Parmesan Roasties, turning occasionally during cooking

  • Assemble canapés and cocktails

1.30PM

  • Serve canapés and cocktails

1.45PM

Prepare and cook:

  • Caramelised Onion and Squash Baked Ricotta, if serving

  • Jewelled Sprouts and Chestnuts

  • Cider Roasted Roots

  • Check turkey is cooked. Take out of oven and transfer to a large board. Cover with foil and leave to rest in a warm place

  • Assemble starter

ABOUT 2PM

Start cooking:

  • Pork, Apricot and Hazelnut Stuffing Log

  • Creamy Sweet Potato and Celeriac Bake

  • Serve starter

ABOUT 2.30PM

  • Cook Lentil and Nut Stuffing Balls

  • ReheatBraised Beetroot and Cranberry Cabbage

  • Start reheating pudding on hob

ABOUT 2.50PM

  • Check potatoes, vegetables and stuffing. If cooked, transfer to serving dishes and keep warm

  • Finish Bread Sauce, adding more milk as needed

  • Reheat gravy

3PM

  • Serve turkey and all the trimmings

4.30PM (or when everyone has room!)

  • Reheat Boozy Butterscotch Custard, if serving

  • Complete Clementine and Prosecco Trifle, if serving

  • Serve Christmas Pudding or Trifle

Your work is done!

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