Turkey golden hour and 'chuffed' potatoes: Jamie Oliver reveals his top tips for Christmas dinner

Jamie Oliver on Good Morning America in January 2019 (Getty)
Jamie Oliver on Good Morning America in January 2019 (Getty)

Jamie Oliver is almost synonymous with a great British Christmas.

The celebrity chef has been gracing our screens with festive TV specials for years and he’s back for 2020 with another: Keep Cooking at Christmas premieres this Sunday, 6 December at 8pm on Channel 4.

Oliver joined Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on This Morning on Thursday with a segment called 'Jamie Oliver Takes Your Calls'.

The chef answered viewers’ queries on how to make the perfect roast potatoes, how to glaze your parsnips and how to make the most delicious gravy from scratch.

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Social media users were quick to praise the chef for his tips, with one writing: “Jamie - I’m loving all of your top tips for making Xmas lunch on @thismorning. I really think it would be easier if you showed me yourself? I am more of a hands on learning type. Are you free about 9am on 25th December?”

Another said: “@jamieoliver thanks for the fantastic tips on @thismorning. Merry Christmas.”

Read on to see the chef’s top tips for Christmas dinner below.

How to cook the perfect roast potatoes

The chef told This Morning viewers: “Potatoes are one of the pillars of the perfect roast dinner, you’ve got to get it right.”

He added that you can get them prepped the day before. “Get those potatoes, Maris Piper or King Edward, first of all. Peel [them and] parboil for 12 minutes. Once you’ve drained them in a colander, you’ve got to chuff up.”

When Schofield asked what size to chop the potatoes, Oliver responded: “You can do quite big ones, half-sized ones, 12 minutes will still take the rawness away and guarantee you the fluffy inside. Then you drain and you chuff up in the colander, and that makes the outside get roughed up.

“Then choose your fat. It could be goose fat, olive oil, a blend, choose your herbs, crush some garlic and toss it in oil. You can do it the day before and freeze it in the roasting tray, that won’t compromise it. On the day, when your turkey comes out to rest, bang in the potatoes for an hour and 20 minutes and you’ll have something spectacular.”

The turkey needs to be rested for at least an hour and a half

“I call it the golden hour,” Oliver continues. “You need to rest the turkey for an hour and a half to two hours.

“Everyone thinks it’s going to get cold – no, it won’t. As the turkey comes out of the oven, if you put a thermometer in there, it carries on cooking. Actually the temperature will go up for the first 15 to 20 minutes and then gradually go down.

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“The resting guarantees you succulence, juiciness, and gives you the golden hour/ hour and a half.

“That’s when the veggies can go in, you can guarantee amazing potatoes and that’s the time when you can gently have a little drink and gather the troops.”

Put your oven on fan setting if possible

“The fan keeps an even temperature around the whole oven, so I think it’s good to use it if you’ve got one,” Oliver quipped.

Don’t peel your parsnips

Contrary to popular belief, Oliver says your parsnips do not need to be peeled. He added: “I only found this out about five or six years ago and I’ve been cooking since I was 8, don’t peel the parsnips.

“A lot of that savoury flavour is in the skin so don’t peel them, just cut the ends off and par boil them for about six minutes, drain them, toss them in your chosen fat, herbs and then you roast it with salt and pepper for about 50 minutes at 180C.”

Put your parsnip glaze on in the last five minutes of roasting

“One of the problems with any glaze, whether it’s a barbecue glaze, a honey glaze with parsnips, is that a lot of people put the honey in early and it will just burn, it’s sugar so it will caramelise,” Oliver advises.

“At the end – the last five minutes – that’s when you put your honey or your maple syrup or your brown sugar on, for the last 5-10 minutes maximum.

“The kicker is vinegar – a tablespoon of vinegar. Parsnips love vinegar. The vinegar will cook away but you’ll just have that tang and it balances with the sweetness and it’s joyful.”

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Squash the parsnips and potatoes to give them more crunch

The chef says: “Like the potatoes, with the parsnips if you squash them a little in the last five minutes I find that gives them even more of a crunch.”

You can prep your gravy up to a week in advance

Alongside the potatoes and turkey, Oliver calls gravy the ‘third pillar’ of a good Christmas roast. He advises: “Get that piping hot and tasteful and it’s going to be your best bet.

“First up [on Christmas Day], normally you would deglaze, take the meat out and you’ve got all the sticky bits in the gravy, but I’d go back a day or two – or even a week. ‘Get Ahead Gravy’ is the key to having enough gravy and having the depth of flavour that changes people’s lives forever.”

He says those looking to make Get Ahead Gravy should go to the butchers this weekend and get cheap chicken wings. Roast these for about an hour with onions, carrots, herbs and garlic before adding a tablespoon of flour, a bit of booze “if you want” and some water. Simmer this in a high-sided roasting tray.

“Then you put that through a sieve and you’ve got litres of the best gravy ever,” Oliver adds.

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