Story by Matthew Robinson
Christmas is the time families come together to eat, drink and get merry – but it can be a daunting challenge in the kitchen.
So in a special new five-part series, Jamie Oliver is sharing his own secrets for a stress-free family Christmas. As well as his fool-proof recipes, it’s about getting as much done beforehand, and getting everyone to muck in, so no-one’s stuck slaving over a hot stove while everyone else is enjoying themselves.
Filmed at his Essex home, and featuring Jamie’s family and friends, it’s the must-see solution to all your Christmas food worries.
Jamie shows how to make the best, most succulent turkey – using incredible flavoured butter – with delicious gravy and stuffing, as well as an exciting new way to use up all that leftover turkey on Boxing Day.
He reveals his tried and tested, fail-safe way to make the perfect roast spuds every time, crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, plus simple spiced-up Christmas veg. And don’t throw away your leftover veg until you’ve seen what Jamie and Gennaro have planned.
Jamie also creates some cracking Christmassy desserts and has quick, ideas for snacks and festive lighter meals. And he reveals the secret of enjoying your own party – DIY party food your guests put together themselves.
“What I want to do in this five-part series is look after you,” says Jamie. “Hold your hand, give you my tips and my shortcuts, my ducks and my dives and really focus on the basics of the best turkey, the best gravy, the best potatoes and then the veggies, snacks, party food, puds and drinks. And if we do this together, I promise you this is going to be one of the best Christmases you’ve ever had – so welcome to my Christmas!”
Programme 1 – Tuesday, December 15th, 8pm
In the first programme of the series, Jamie shows you everything you need for the perfect turkey. It’s the whole package from the bird to the gravy, simple stuffing, roasting with festive butter, how to make carving simple and the best way to use your leftovers.
First up: the turkey. We’ve all had a dry, over-cooked bird that tastes like cardboard, so Jamie shows the easy way to use a festive butter you can make yourself to get the perfect, succulent turkey.
And Jamie’s two top tips for stress-free turkey? Prepare the bird on Christmas Eve, packing the butter under the breast skin to guarantee juicy meat, and let the bird rest for two hours – yes two hours! – which will make it even more succulent and frees the oven up for your veg.
Jamie’s stuffing is a cinch – just cook together pork, bacon, breadcrumbs and chestnuts with herbs and spices – and it’s another recipe to reduce hassle and prepare on Christmas Eve.
Next is perfect gravy. Jamie’s version is so simple, using veg and chicken wings, and you can make it days in advance, or even freeze portions. But what will the world’s number one gravy fan – Jools – make of the results?
Jamie gives a masterclass on carving. Once you know how, you can impress the family with your skills – and no need for an electric carver!
Finally, Jamie and his sister, Anna-Marie, cook a spicy way to use up your leftover meat – turkey con chilli. It’s certainly a change from turkey sandwiches for two weeks”¦
Programme 2 – Tuesday, December 15th, 8.30pm
Christmas is not just about all the old favourites, so today’s programme focuses on brunches, lunches, snacks and special bits and pieces for when you can’t face the sight of more turkey!
First up, Jamie is joined by daughters Poppy and Daisy to make some American-style pancakes that work every time – and they’re a great way to get your kids involved in cooking.
Next he prepares a delicious roasted squash and seared beef carpaccio salad – something that could work as a starter or a snack. Then he gets his 89-year-old nan Betty into the kitchen to prepare some gammon with poached eggs.
Finally, Jamie’s dad Trevor helps make a delicious kedgeree, which is cheap and brilliant for breakfast, lunch or dinner – or for hangovers on Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day!
Programme 3 – Wednesday, December 16th, 8pm
Tonight it’s all about roasties with the mosties as Jamie is joined by Gennaro Contaldo to show how to make the very best roast potatoes and exciting Christmas vegetables, plus lovely leftover recipes.
First off Jamie shows how to make perfect roast potatoes every time – golden, crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside. The secret is to use Maris Piper potatoes and Jamie’s experimented with olive oil, butter and traditional goose fat to find the best way to cook them. Plus he has an extra-special secret for perfect roast spuds.
Next, it’s back to school for a chemistry lesson as Jamie makes a roast vegetable mega-mix, matching each veg with oil and flavouring for perfect results. From parsnips to carrots, you’ll be amazed what brings out the best in your veg.
And Jamie gives some simple and delicious ways to use up leftover veg – Boxing Day bubble & squeak and beautiful leftover roasted veg bruschetta. But will Gennaro manage to get revenge on Jamie for last year’s chilli mince pies?
Programme 4 – Thursday, December 17th, 8pm
Tonight Jamie prepares some exciting alternatives to traditional Christmas deserts and things to make from leftover pud.
Mum Sally joins Jamie in the kitchen to make a killer chocolate mousse – and she reminds him how excited he was as a kid at Christmas, especially when he got a drum kit!
Jamie’s Winter Pudding Bombe is a Christmas take on summer pudding, with panatone, ice cream, crystalised fruit and sherry. Just bang it in the freezer and hey presto!
Festive strudel is a great way to use up leftover Christmas pud, wrapped in filo pastry, while quick and simple pudding affogato uses ice cream and coffee for a quick, but delicious pudding.
And Jamie prepares another dish that’s great to get kids in the kitchen, wibbly wobbly clementine jelly assisted by his nephews.
Programme 5 – Friday, December 18th, 8pm
Christmas is party time, but you don’t want to get stuck in the kitchen while everyone else is having fun, so Jamie has some stress-free tips for food you can make in advance or get your guests to help themselves to on the day – so you can enjoy the party and it’s great fun too!
Jamie’s DIY part combo means just that, you put all the ingredients on a plate and guests create their own dish. Why not bring your toaster into the party room and people can prepare their own chicken liver party parfait?
An easy cheese fondue means that everyone can dip away, while winter party squash soup is a warming treat – served in a hollowed-out pumpkin.
And what party wouldn’t be complete without some Christmassy drinks. Jamie brings the series to a close with some delicious pomegranate shots and incredible mulled cider.
For more Christmas recipes and hints and tips see our Christmas microsite.