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Christmas Presents

IN THE delicious. CHRISTMAS KITCHEN...

As the delicious. food team test recipes, there’s constant tinkering and discussion: timesaving ideas; new tricks we’ve heard of; some technique we’ve dreamed up and want to try… Then there are the questions and input we get from colleagues as they come to see what’s cooking. All that is especially important during the festive season – a time when the demands on cook and kitchen are extreme. This month we’ve put together the Christmas tips we live by… It’s festive cookery gold!

WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT FREE-RANGE TURKEYS?

It’s worth spending a bit more on a quality meat centrepiece. Here's why, plus the delicious. team's go-to turkey suppliers

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO BUY THE RIGHT TURKEY

The timings for our turkey recipe on p56 are based on using a free-range, game-hung bird (an intensively reared bird will need longer cooking than our recipe suggests). These top quality birds have been dry-plucked and hung like game birds, usually for around 14 days, to intensify the flavours and tenderise the meat. They cook more quickly than intensively reared birds because there's more fat running through the meat, achieved by allowing the birds a natural lifestyle and good diet. We strongly recommend you buy these turkeys – not just for ethical reasons but also for their wonderful flavour. The extra fat means they’re sort of self-basting and the meat also shrinks less in the oven so you get more for your money. That said, regardless of the type of bird you buy, we recommend investing in a digital probe thermometer (see right), which will help ensure you don’t under or overcook your bird.

RECOMMENDED SUPPLIERS

copasturkeys.co.uk

freerangeturkeys.co.uk (Morton’s Traditional Taste)

kellyturkeys.co.uk

COOK’S TIP

To get rid of the unsightly imprint when turning out frozen puddings wrapped in cling film, dip a palette knife in hot water, dry it, then run it over the pudding to smooth the surface. Freeze for 5 minutes to firm up, then serve.

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About Delicious Magazine

Make your Christmas and New Year the best ever with our December issue. Shopping’s a breeze with our last-minute gifts, drinks advice and festive taste test. On the sweet side, there’s cake decoration, Scandi baking recipes and 16 pages of showstopper puddings. The River Cottage’s Gill Meller rustles up a fish pie, Theo Randall slow-cooks Italian beef stew and Raymond Blanc makes the best party canapés. For a stress-free Christmas day cook our classic turkey lunch with timeplan or squash and chestnut vegetarian wellington, then roast our cover ham for Boxing Day. Finally, see out the festive season with our recipes for leftovers. Happy Christmas – guaranteed!
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