Christmas is just around the corner and as we get ready to deck the halls to celebrate with loved ones, we have asked our Executive Chef, Alessandro Negro, to share his tips for the ultimate festive dinner, including the secret to a juicy turkey and how to make the most of the leftovers. 

Christmas roasties

Do you have a secret ingredient or cooking method to elevate Christmas dishes? 

Christmas wouldn’t be complete without turkey, but given its lengthy cooking time, preventing it from drying out can be a challenge. My secret tip for the juiciest Christmas Turkey is brining. Bring a large pot of water with 10% salt, rosemary, thyme, parsley stems, pink peppercorns, and bay leaves to boil. Allow it to cool while infusing, then filter the water and submerge the turkey in the brine for 5 hours before roasting.

For irresistibly delicious roasties, enhance their flavour by melting a generous portion of smoked pork fat (commonly used in Eastern Europe) in olive oil and use it to roast your potatoes in it. This will result in an exceptionally crispy exterior with a delightfully smoky taste. For a vegetarian option, heat olive oil to 70°C, and infuse it with plenty of thyme, rosemary, and garlic for a couple of hours. Then, roast your potatoes with this aromatic herbed oil. Simply delish!

What would you prepare before Christmas Day?

I find that sauces and gravy are often the ones which take the longest, especially when made from scratch, but the results are well worth the time. For example, at 30 Euston Square, our Madeira and Cranberry jus for the Christmas Turkey roulade has a 72-hour cooking process. We start by roasting the bones and then simmer them slowly in vegetable stock for 12 hours. After letting the bones infuse overnight, we bring it back to a boil for another 12 hours. Once we achieve a rich broth, we add Madeira and Port (in a 70-30 ratio) and reduce it to a thick consistency. To finish, we infuse cranberries, spices, and herbs for an additional 8 hours, resulting in our delectable Cranberry and Madeira jus.

Christmas deep fried brie cheese

Do you have a crowd-pleaser dish that you like to serve on Christmas Day?

My favourite entrée to serve for Christmas is a deep-fried brie cheese, stuffed with balsamic caramelised shallots, accompanied by a walnut salad and cranberry sauce. It has always been a winning dish for vegetarians and beyond. 

What would you serve to those who don’t like Turkey or Ham? 

I love to serve an herb crusted rack of lamb, with garlic and thyme potato dauphinoise and a classic braised red cabbage in red wine and cinnamon. 

Chef Alessandro cooking

Finally, do you have any tips on ways to reduce food-waste and use Christmas leftovers creatively?

I firmly believe that no kitchen leftovers should go to waste; every cut off can be utilised to its fullest. Bones can be transformed into a hearty stock, which when added with vegetable trimmings, can be repurposed as a warm Root Vegetables Velouté – an ideal starter on a cold winter day. Fry peels of carrots, parsnips, and potatoes for a delightful crispy appetizer. Don’t discard green foliage either; make the most of parsley stems, fennel, or carrot tops by turning them into a showstopping Chlorophyll Oil. Simply blend 3 parts of extra virgin olive oil and 1 part of leftover greens in the thermomixer at 70°C for 13 minutes. This vibrant green oil serves as a foundation for mayonnaise by incorporating leftover yolks from Christmas meringue tarts. Present the mayonnaise as dipping sauce for the crispy leftover peels, showcasing both impressive flavour and commitment to sustainable practices and prepare to amaze everyone!

Now equipped with tips to enhance your Christmas Dinner, all that remains is to curate your shopping list and prepare for a splendid festive season ahead!

Would you like to experience the chef’s cooking secrets in person? Explore our private dining options and savour our revolutionary culinary delights firsthand.