Are you preparing Christmas dinner for the first time, or simply looking to improve your skills? Read on to find our top tips for the beginner cook, and to make sure you’re stocked with all of the kitchen equipment you need for the festive season ahead.
Prep ahead where possible
Be sure to choose at least some dishes that can be made ahead of time, leaving you more time on Christmas Day to focus on the roast itself. Check out our suggestions for sides and desserts that you can have ready to go.
Read your recipes!
We can’t overstate how important this is. Thoroughly read every recipe you plan on using, several times.
The first read-through should be a few weeks ahead of time: this will help you write your shopping list, but will also highlight any equipment you’re missing: make sure you’ve got enough baking trays, roasters, pots and pans, measuring jugs and glassware.
Re-read each recipe the day before you cook it, making sure you understand the terminology used and can visualise yourself carrying out every step.
Choose the right equipment
Pyrex® dishes aren’t made from just any glass — they’re borosilicate tempered glass, a special thermal shock resistant material. This means you can prep, store, freeze and heat it up, all in complete safety, guaranteeing stress-free cooking with maximum convenience.
Make a plan
Write down exactly how long everything will take to prepare and cook. Use this to make yourself a to-do list, working backwards from your intended serving time. Be realistic about how long different tasks will take, being sure to leave some wiggle room.
The perfect centrepiece
The turkey is the most stressful part of Christmas dinner for many, so follow these easy tips to get it right.
- Pat the skin well dry with kitchen paper and rub with olive oil before roasting; this will give you that perfectly golden, crisp skin.
- Roasting your turkey on a wire rack allows heat to circulate evenly underneath the meat, as well as around the sides, giving you a more evenly cooked bird. The Pyrex® Irresistible Oval Roaster combines a removable rack with deep sides and easy-to-grip handles, perfect for your Christmas roast.
- If you’re anxious about knowing whether the turkey is properly cooked through, invest in a meat thermometer.
- Never skip resting time for meat — not only does it free up the oven for other foods, but it’s crucial for a juicy, tender result. Your turkey can rest for 45-60 minutes — simply wrap it well in tin foil, followed by a few layers of clean tea towels. This insulation, combined with the weight of the bird, will retain its heat. This will also give you time and oven space to finish your vegetables and potatoes, and to make your gravy.
Prep to storage
Think smart when it comes to cutting down on work, minimising washing up by focusing on equipment that can work across multiple functions: prepping, cooking, storing and serving.
Quick tip: Whipped cream is a must-have over Christmas; whether you’re serving with the dessert course, dolloping some over an afternoon mince pie, or topping an indulgent Irish coffee, you’re sure to need it several times, so it’s best to do all the work at once. Whip a large batch of cream in a Pyrex® glass bowl, then pop it directly into the fridge so it’s there whenever you need it; it’ll keep until the cream’s expiry date. The Pyrex® Prep & Store Glass Bowl even comes with its own lid!
- Whether you’re baking bread, a classic Christmas pudding, mince pies or a showstopping centrepiece cake, there’s a perfect Pyrex® loaf tin, pie dish, muffin tin or springform tin to suit your needs.
- The Pyrex® Bake & Enjoy range of borosilicate glass pie and cake dishes makes life easier for all your baking needs. This ultra-healthy and resistant material means no transfer of odours or colours — and you can even slice directly in the dish with no risk of scratches, making for a seamless transfer from oven to table!
- Mince pies freeze perfectly, so make them as early as possible using a Pyrex® Magic 12-cup muffin tin. Once cooled, get them into the freezer and defrost 1-2 days before you plan on tucking in.
If this is your first time cooking Christmas dinner, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure your meal is as safe as it is delicious.
- If your turkey is frozen, always thaw it in the fridge rather than on the counter. Depending on its size, this may take up to three days. Place the bird in a Pyrex® roaster or casserole to thaw, preventing any unwanted drips.
- Pyrex® glassware is ideal for transferring food from fridge to oven and vice versa. All you have to remember is to make sure all hot food has cooled completely before you place it in the fridge.
- Leftover cooked meat, vegetables and potato dishes will keep for up to three days in the fridge. If you won’t eat the meat within this time frame, freeze it on the day of cooking — just be sure it’s cooled thoroughly before placing in the freezer.
- Reheat leftovers once only and ensure all reheated food is piping hot throughout before digging in.
- Always make extra gravy — it’s easy to underestimate how much people will eat.
- Getting all of the elements ready to serve at the same time is a challenge. Make sure you have plenty of tin foil in case you need to keep a few items warm while you get the rest ready.
- Warm your plates! Serving on a hot plate keeps your food warm for longer and makes for a nicer, cosier meal experience.
- Potato gratins will benefit from five minutes of resting on the counter before serving; this gives them time to firm up slightly, making them easier to spoon out from your Pyrex® Irresistible Glass Square Roaster.
- Be sure you have serving spoons, salt and pepper, condiments and bottles of wine on the table before you start serving.
- Put out potatoes and meat first, then vegetable dishes. Leave the gravy in the pan as long as possible.
- Decide how you want to dish up. Serving items like potatoes and vegetables in the centre of the table, “family style,” means less work for you and allows people to have exactly as much as they want. Pyrex® cookware moves seamlessly from oven to table and — once any leftovers have cooled — can be placed straight into the fridge for later.
Whatever’s on the menu this Christmas, check ahead of time to be sure you have everything you need. Stock up on #YourPerfectPyrex® at Woodies, Dunnes Stores or Homestore & More. For more information, visit www.pyrex.co.uk/pages/perfect-pyrex or follow Pyrex® on Facebook or Instagram.
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