The Butcher’s Block Tips for Cooking Christmas Joints

The Butcher’s Block Tips for Cooking Christmas Joints

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, which means it’s almost time for the most wonderful dinner of the year! 

At The Butcher’s Block, we appreciate that it can be stressful trying to pull together the perfect dinner for the whole family to enjoy. To save you some of the work, we’ve put together some essential tips for cooking Christmas joints.

The basics: 

Butchers block Turkey Size
Allow roughly 375g (13oz) turkey (meat and carcass) per person when calculating what size turkey to buy.

Collection & Storage
Collect your turkey from the Butcher’s Block as close to Christmas as possible, bring it home as quickly as possible and store it in the fridge immediately. Do not leave your turkey in a larder or utility room – all meat must be refrigerated properly. Plan your fridge space the night before.

Stuffing
The safest way to cook stuffing is outside the bird. But if like many people you prefer to cook it inside the bird, prepare the stuffing just before cooking the bird. Stuff just the neck region, not the cavity. Do not overstuff the bird. Allow extra time for cooking.

Types of Ovens
No two ovens perform in exactly the same way. Conventional ovens are hotter in the top than the bottom, the temperature set on the dial normally applies to the centre. Fan ovens spreads the heat, top and bottom, keeping an even temperature throughout the oven. A meat thermometer is the best method of ensuring food is cooked to your liking. They are inexpensive, easy to use and reliable. Also, they work in every oven and every part of an oven. All cooking times are approximate and depend on the type of appliance used.

Cooking
Remove the turkey from the fridge 45 minutes before cooking to take the chill off it. Smear the turkey with soft butter, season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, gas mark 6. Place the turkey in a roasting dish and cover with tin foil.

For an 8-10 lb (3.5 – 4.5 kg) turkey: Cook for 30 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180°C, 350°F, gas mark 4 and cook for a further 2 1/2 – 3 hours. Then give it a final 30 minutes (uncovered) at 200/400°F, gas mark 6.

For a 12-14 lb (5.5 – 6.5 kg) turkey: Cook for 40 minutes then reduce the temperature to  180°C, 350°F, gas mark 4 and cook for a further 3 – 3 1/2 hours. Then give it a final 30 minutes (uncovered) at 200/400°F, gas mark 6.

For a 15-20 lb (6.75 – 9 kg) turkey: Cook for 45 minutes then reduce the temperature to 180°C, 350°F, gas mark 4 and cook for a further 4-5 hours. Then give it a final 30 minutes (uncovered) at 200°C, 400°F.

FOR TURKEY BREAST: Reduce temperature to 190°C, 375°F, gas mark 5 and roast for 20 minutes per lb (450g). For the final 20 minutes, uncover and increase the heat to 200°C, 400°F, gas mark 6.

To tell if the turkey is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the leg with a skewer then press the skewer against the leg to see if the juices run clear without any trace of pink – if the juices are clear, the turkey is cooked.

Leave your turkey to rest for around 30 minutes before carving. Put it on a very warm serving plate, cover completely with foil, then cover with a clean tea towel. This allows the juices to settle back into the meat, making the meat moister.

Butcher’s Block Roast Beef Joints
Choose your favourite Butcher’s Block topside, sirloin or striploin roasting joint. Pre-heat the oven to 240°C, 475°F, gas mark 9. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C, 350°F, gas mark 4, and continue to roast – basting at least three times. Roast for 15 minutes per lb (450g) for rare, plus 15 minutes more; for medium, 20 minutes per lb (450g), plus 20 minutes more; and for well done 25 minutes per lb (450g), plus 25 minutes more. Allow to rest in a warm place for 20 minutes before carving.

Butcher’s Block Roast Lamb Joints
Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, 425°F, gas mark 6. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Place it uncovered on the middle shelf of the oven. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C, 350°F, gas mark 4. Roast for 20 minutes per lb (450g) plus 20 minutes more – basting at least 3 times. If you like to serve your lamb quite pink, give it 20 minutes less cooking time. Allow to rest in a warm place for 20 minutes before carving.

Butcher’s Block Roast Pork Joints
Choose a loin of pork, leg of pork or shoulder joint. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C, 375°F, gas mark 5. Make sure the surface of the skin is really dry, then rub in sea salt. Maintain initial temperature and roast for 25 to 28 minutes per lb (450g), plus 25 minutes over. Don`t baste the pork, or the crackling won`t be crisp. Allow to relax in a warm place for 20 minutes before carving.

Butcher’s Block Boned & Rolled Ham Fillet
Place a bacon or ham joint in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Place lid on saucepan, bring to boil and drain. Cover with fresh cold water. Bring to boil and then simmer for 20 minutes per 1lb (450g) plus 25 minutes over. Remove bacon / ham joint to chopping board and allow to stand for 10 minutes. Carve into thin slices. Serve with vegetables and boiled potatoes. Mustard is optional.

Here are some recipes that will have your family licking their lips! 

Butcher’s Block  Traditional Roast Sirloin of Beef Recipe
The premium beef roasting joint, both tender and flavoursome, boneless.
1. Preheat the oven to 240ºC/475ºF/Gas 9.
2. Place the beef, just as it is, upright in a roasting tin, tucking in half an onion alongside.
3. Combine some mustard powder and flour, then dust this all over the surface of the fat, and finally season with a few twists of freshly milled pepper. This floury surface will help to make the fat very crusty, while the onion will caramelise to give the gravy a rich colour and flavour.
4. Place the joint in the oven and after 20 minutes turn the heat down to 180ºC/350ºF/ Gas 4, and continue to cook for 15 minutes per lb (450 g) for rare, plus 15 minutes extra for medium-rare or 30 minutes extra for well-done.
5. While cooking, baste the meat with the juices at least three times.
6. Remove the cooked beef to a board for carving and leave it to rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Butcher’s Block Traditional Roast Leg of Lamb Recipe
1. Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas 7.
2. Make 2.5cm/1in deep incisions in the lamb, into each incision insert garlic cloves and rosemary sprigs.
3. In the bottom of a roasting tin scatter some rosemary, shallot onions and garlic cloves.
4. Rub butter over the lamb and place it in the roasting tray and season. Place the joint in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 180°C, 350°F, Gas mark 4 and continue to cook for 1-1½ hours (15 minutes per 450g/1lb for rare and 20 minutes for medium) turning over half way through.
5. Remove the lamb from the oven, season again and transfer to a tray to rest.
6. To make the gravy: place the roasting pan over a moderate heat to caramelise the lamb juices, this will take 2-3 minutes. Strain off any excess fat. Pour in 350ml/12fl oz cold water, reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Strain through a sieve. Serve the lamb with the gravy and seasonal vegetables.

Cooking Tip:
Lamb is a delicate, pale and tender meat with a fine grain and white crumbly fat to keep it succulent. Allow the joint to rest for at least 20 minutes before carving to allow the meat to relax and the juices to disperse.

Butcher’s Block Sausage Meat Recipe
Ingredients: 1 chopped large onion, 2 crushed cloves garlic, 1lb (450g) Butcher’s Block quality sausage meat, 1 tbsp chopped parsley, 2 tbsp chopped sage, 1oz fresh white breadcrumbs, salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Mix all the ingredients.
2. Either roll into balls or cook in a greased ovenproof dish.
3. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until crisp and golden and the sausage meat is completely cooked through.

Butcher’s Block Homemade Stuffing Recipe
Ingredients: 450g / 1 lb bread, broken into pieces, 6 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, 2 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, 1 medium onion, cut into quarters, salt and black pepper, 4-6 oz butter, softened

To Make the Stuffing
Place the bread, parsley, thyme and onion in a food processor. Chop until you have fine breadcrumbs and the onion is finely chopped. Remove to a bowl, season and mix in the butter.

Butcher’s Block Traditional Gravy
Ingredients: Meat juices, 2 tbsp liquid meat fat, 30g/1oz plain flour, 570ml/1 pint stock, 2 tsp gravy browning (optional)

1. Collect the juices and the fat from the meat you are roasting. Put the juices in a glass jug and allow to stand for a few minutes so that the fat will rise to the surface. Skim off the fat.
2. Put the roasting tin that you used to cook the meat on the hob on a medium heat and add the fat. (The meat needs to be resting, covered with foil, in a warm place at this point).
3. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.
4. Gradually stir in the meat juices and the stock until you get a smooth gravy. Use a wooden spoon and stir all over the surface of the pan to incorporate any meat juices that are stuck to it.
5. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
6. Season to taste and add a little gravy browning if desired

Butcher’s Block Homemade Cranberry Sauce
Ingredients: 1 packet x 325g (12 oz) cranberries, 225g (8 oz) sugar, 125ml (1/4 pt) water

Heat everything together gently until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer for 5-10 minutes. Cool and store in the fridge until required.

Goose Fat
Goose fat actually has less saturated fat than butter, and more healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats. Roast potatoes and other root vegetables taste really sublime when cooked in goose fat.

Boil potatoes for 6-8 minutes until partially cooked. Drain well and transfer to a roasting tray. Toss the potatoes with the goose fat and plenty of seasoning. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, basting and tossing occasionally, until crisp and golden.

About the Author

Butchers Block
The Irish owned and family run chain of butcher shops, The Butcher’s Block, renowned for superior quality produce, freshness and value for money.

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