24 July 2023

Cracking Christmas with Joshua Hunter

Crack Christmas with some top tips from Head Chef Joshua Hunter

What are you tips for working out your timings for the day and or getting ahead? What can you make and freeze for example? Can you delegate different jobs?  

Absolutely! Getting ahead on the trimmings is essential. Things like cranberry sauce and bread sauce can be made well ahead and frozen. Just add a splash of milk to the bread sauce when reheating to bring it back together.

Delegation is key- make sure you get everyone peeling potatoes and carrots.

Turkey cooking – anything to be aware of? How to calculate cooking time by weight? What size to buy for number of guests. Any insider tips for super succulent meat?

The best advice I can give for turkey is to remove the legs and cook them separately. Braising them in chicken stock is ideal. Colour the legs in a pan, deglaze with come madeira and cover with brown chicken stock. Cooked in an oven for 2 hours at 160C will produce succulent and juicy legs. This has the added advantage that you will be able to cook the crown in a much quicker time and will prevent having to overcook it. I would recommend brining the crown in a 5% salt solution with some honey, rosemary and star anise to add an extra dimension of flavour.

Perfect roasties – what’s the secret? Any tricks of the trade? 

Best potatoes for roasties are King Edwards! Peel and cut into large pieces. Bring to the boil from cold, in salted water. Simmer for 7 minutes and gently pour into a colander. Allow to steam for 5 mins and then put onto a tray to allow to cool and dry off. I use pre heated goose fat in a 200C oven, turning every 10 minutes until beautifully golden brown. Add rosemary and a bulb of garlic cut in half for the last 20 minutes of cooking.

How do you make great gravy – what things you can add or do to make it extra tasty?

I love using a spoonful of redcurrant jelly to add a bit of sweetness.

How do you jazz up your trimmings – what would you add or do differently? 

Never boil sprouts! Cut in half and roast from raw. A good smoked pancetta will work well for this.

What’s your favourite part of Christmas lunch? Do you cook every year? 

I always cook with my mum on Christmas day! We always have a bottle of something open.

Alternative idea to Christmas pudding for the haters!  

I love a proper homemade trifle! Whip up a sabayon with some masala wine and orange zest for some real luxury.

Can you give us three easy or new ways to use up leftovers? 

  1. Honestly, my favourite thing is having leftover ham with fried eggs and hand cut chips
  2. Turkey pie! Leftover gravy can be used for this too.
  3. Use the pigs in blankets in a toad in the hole.