Christmas is right around the corner and while we are all busy with our Christmas present shopping, we also need to start planning our Christmas dinner – one of the most important traditions for the festivities.
In line with Gaggenau's Christmas cooking workshop with Chef Ricardo Ferrarotti of Mediteca Wines Tapas KL, he shares some useful tips to help us gear up for the hectic preparation including tricks to cooking a turkey, Christmas desserts from Italy and which wine to best pair with your roast bird.
Read on for Chef Ricardo’s tips to a wonderful Christmas meal:
There’s no room for brine
While it is the tradition in the US to brine your turkey, Chef Ricardo says that sometimes it is not necessary. He says, “A delicious turkey roast only requires a good soft butter rub. Then add lemon and orange peels, salt, pepper and herbs like sage, cinnamon sticks and rosemary to give the turkey flavour and aroma.”
Roasting with patience
When roasting a turkey, the key to success is patience. Chef Ricardo dictates that a good turkey requires slow cooking with low temperature for long hours. Adjust your oven temperature to 65 to 75°C and set the roasting time according to your turkey's weight (one hour for each kilo). That way, your turkey will absorb all the flavours from the herbs and not lose any of its juiciness.
Crisping the turkey
To achieve a succulent roast with crispy skin, all you need to do is brush the entire turkey with butter and put it into the oven at about 100°C to brown the skin. Once it is done, you can adjust the temperature to continue slow-roasting the meat. The browning of the skin will help seal the turkey to prevent dryness.
Wine pairing with turkey
Turkey meat is rather light in flavour. So, white wine is generally a good choice for pairing. Chef Ricardo says, “Find a young wine that has a light body and dry texture. I’d say a 2012 Chardonnay from New Zealand and Australia would be great with turkey.”
Thick-skinned potatoes are best
For your roast potatoes, there are no specific types that you must use. However, for best texture, Chef Ricardo suggests thick-skinned old potatoes. Just blanche them in hot water for 3 minutes to remove the starch and to have the skin soften before roasting them in the oven at 140°C to get a crisp potato dish.
No pudding for Christmas
Growing up in an Italian family, Christmas pudding is not something Chef Ricardo associate with for a festive dessert dish. Instead he says, "I prepare a Panettone as my Christmas dessert. This is a sweet bread loaf with candied fruits, originated from Milan. I usually serve it with a scoop of ginger-flavoured ice cream on top.”