If disaster strikes on the big day, it's good to know that you can cook an entire Christmas dinner in the microwave. Minds blown
Full disclosure: we accept that no one's ideal nostalgic Christmas meal starts with the ping of a microwave.
Microwaves don't exactly scream the most wonderful time of the year in the same way as say an Aga or an open fire does (for chestnuts people, try to keep up).
But ovens are by no means infallible and it's nice to know that if disaster strikes, you have an electromagnetic radiating champion in the corner of your kitchen ready to save the day. Here's how to cook an entire Christmas dinner in the microwave. Everything's going to be OK. We promise.
OK, we may as well begin with roast potatoes, arguably the most contentious aspect of the entire microwaved roast meal.
The problem here is that good roast potatoes should be burnished and conker-crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside; microwaves are fairly adept at handling the fluffiness but a bit pants everywhere else.
You'll get most of the way there by drizzling olive or vegetable oil over peeled, chunked and seasoned potatoes, covering them in cling film in a microwaveable container and cooking on high for four minutes per potato. You should get a slight golden colour around the edges this way, which can be amped up to full glory by finishing off in a frying pan with oil, garlic and rosemary. We almost, almost like them more than the real deal. Don't tell anyone.
We know this method sounds fully weird, but it really does work. The turkey gets properly cooked without drying out in a fraction of the time it takes to cook in a conventional oven.
You'll need a small, completely thawed bird, some microwave bags and any herbs and spices you want to flavour the turkey with (we like rosemary, sage and clementine zest).
Start by making sure the bird is completely dry using paper towels, then rub the herbs and spices into its skin with a little oil. Place the bird in a microwave-proof dish inside a microwave bag, making sure there's a small gap for the heat to escape. Then cook at 50% power for about 10 minutes per pound (that's around 450g). Microwave ovens do vary, so refer to your model's manual and check the meat is cooked through so no pink flesh remains. Then leave to rest for 20 minutes and you're ready to carve!
So you've got the difficult bits out of the way, and you're now on the home stretch.
At Homemade HQ, we're so in love with this gravy recipe. All you have to do is put some of the turkey's cooking juices into a microwaveable jug with a good glug of white wine and some good chicken stock (fresh stock from the butchers is even better). Add some corn flour to thicken and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Zap the whole lot together in a microwave until everything is piping hot and bubbling, give it a quick stir, and you're ready to serve. This has the added benefit of freeing up your stove. Genius.
It's Brussels sprouts time. Although much maligned, we think sprouts are one of the most glorious vegetables around, especially when bacon and chestnuts are involved.
Place the sprouts in a microwave dish and cover with water and a pinch of celery salt. Blast them in the microwave for 6-8 minutes or until they're just tender. In the meantime, fry off some bacon lardons and chestnuts in a frying pan until crunchy and, when the sprouts are ready, toss together and serve. Seriously good for bubble and squeak as well.
The Christmas pudding
This recipe is so quick and easy it makes us wonder why we'd ever bother cooking Christmas pud another way.
All you have to do is plonk the pudding ingredients into a bowl, stir and place in a pyrex bowl, covering loosely with buttered baking paper. Then cook for five minutes on high and take the pudding out to rest for five minutes; then cook for a further three minutes and take it out again to rest for five minutes. Finally, cook for 30 seconds and rest for a final five minutes. Douse the pudding in the booze of your choice and serve with brandy butter. Happy days!
Like this? Then try these:
- Six cakes you can make with a microwave and a mug
- 12 dishes you'd never believe were cooked in a microwave
- Homemade tried: microwaved crisps
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