Top Christmas cooking tips from professional chef Rob Cottam

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Top advice for perfect turkey, easy veg and great gravy...

Asda stuffed turkey and bacon recipe
We all know that Christmas dinner never quite goes according to plan...there's always something that spends too long in the oven or looks a little lacklustre on the plate at crunch time.

So to help you cook the perfect meal this year, we've enlisted the help of top chef Rob Cottam and ingredients specialists Very Lazy to find out their top tips.

How to cook the perfect turkey


Cook your turkey legs separately from the crown. This will cut down the cooking time, but it'll also make sure your turkey is cooked to perfection. As the legs take longer to cook, cooking your bird whole often means the rest of the meat can be overdone.

If you have a cooking thermometer, pop it into the thickest part of the meat and once it hits 75 degrees your turkey is good to go.

HOW TO CARVE YOUR ROAST TURKEY - STEP-BY-STEP

If you want to be super efficient you can cook your turkey legs the day before - they won't dry out when reheated. Relax! Let your turkey rest for half the cooking time before before carving - the meat will retain more juice. (Cut down to just 30 minutes resting if you are running late!)

How to cook amazing vegetables:


Get as much of your Christmas dinner as possible prepared in advance – it'll make timings easier and save you stress on the day.

Roast potatoes can be cooked the day before, and any veg that is boiled or steamed – carrots, Brussels sprouts and so on – can also be part-cooked in advance.

Just remove them from the heat when they're still a bit crunchy and rinse with some cold water so they don't carry on cooking. Then on Christmas day just put them all into a big pot together and cook for 30 seconds to a minute. You'll have quick and easy veg and less washing up!

What's the secret to great gravy?


Again, you can make your gravy the day before using some nice stock. Sometimes using all the juices from the meat can make it very fatty, but preparing it in advance means you can just add the juices from the turkey to add more flavour to the gravy, without all the fat.

What are the best Christmas side dishes?


The obvious accompaniment to turkey is cranberry sauce, but if you fancy something different, try a redcurrant sauce.

Don't forget you can use them in other ways too – add some cranberry sauce to your gravy for some added sweetness, to some mulled wine or to a cocktail.

If you're partial to a Bloody Mary add some horseradish sauce for a bit of a kick!

What do you think?

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