Christmas Dinner for 6 (under £20)
- 2 x 240g pigs in blankets (£3.94)
- Extra large (approx 1.7kg) whole chicken (£3.45)
- 155g smoked bacon lardons (£2.69/2)=(£1.34)
- 1 kg parsnips (£0.49x2)=(£0.98)
- 1 box sage & onion stuffing (£0.32)
- 500g brussel sprouts (£0.79)
- Fresh rosemary (£0.45)
- Fresh thyme (£0.50)
- 2kg potatoes (£1.00)
- 1 kg carrots (£0.43)
- 2 bulbs of garlic (£0.69)
- 1 jar of wholegrain mustard (£0.34)
- 1 jar of cranberry sauce (£0.59)
- 1 jar of honey (£0.85)
- 1 onion (£0.08)
- Vegetable/ neutral oil
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- Dried mixed herbs
- 1 litre chicken stock
I thought I’d divide up the method into trays to make it more simple to explain, instead of giving you a script of instructions that wouldn’t make you feel merry. I’d recommend splitting the jobs between your flatmates/ family members by trays so that you divide the workload and still have time for drinks.
TRAY 1/THE ROAST CHICKEN /The connoisseur
Start by rinsing one carrot and parsnip and roughly slicing, along with the onion which you can slice into wedges. Place on the bottom of your baking tray to form the bed for the chicken. Slice the garlic across the width of the bulb and place face down onto the tray. You want the chicken to be elevated so that the juices fall into the base and cook with the veg. This’ll give you the best gravy you’ll ever have.
Next, place the chicken onto the bed and remove the string. Drizzle on a generous amount of vegetable oil all over the chicken and season liberally with sea salt and approximately 1/2 tbsp of mixed herbs. Place a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary inside the cavity and a couple over the top of the chicken. Pop in the oven for the time stated on the packet. Cover the chicken with foil half way through to prevent dryness.
TRAY 2/ THE ROASTIES /The patient peeler with skills
Begin the roastie journey by peeling all of the potatoes. As long as you have a glass of wine and some tunes, this process wont be too painful.
Once you’ve peeled the tates, roughly chop them into quarters and for smaller potatoes, into halves. Pop into a large saucepan with cold water. When it starts to simmer set a timer for 10 minutes.
Add a crazy amount of oil to a baking tray, so that it is around 1cm in depth. Pop in the oven with the chicken for 10 minutes while to the potatoes are simmering.
Drain the potatoes and remove the oil from the oven. To make sure the oil is hot enough, you can do my unskilled technique of splashing a tiny bit of water onto it (stand back) and if it splatters and goes mad then you’re good.
Pour the drained potatoes back into your saucepan and give them a shake to get a rough texture. Then, transfer the tates into the hot oil. Pls don’t get splashed, it will not be fun. When they stop spitting, shake the tray or use a spoon so that the oil coats the potatoes. After this, season with a few sprigs of thyme and sea salt. Pop in the oven.
TRAY 3/ HONEY AND MUSTARD GLAZED CARROTS AND PARSNIPS/ The patient peeler with less skills
Start by peeling and chopping the carrots and parsnips into long slices.
Drizzle a generous amount of oil onto the veg and add 2 tbsp of wholegrain mustard, 3 tbsp of honey and a generous amount of flaky salt. Massage to incorporate everything and add to the oven.
TRAY 4/BACON BRUSSELS /The defensive brussel-lover
Start by washing the brussels. Then chop the tough base off and slice the brussel lengthways. Do this for the whole batch and add to a baking tray. Mix in your bacon lardons, making sure they arent too big otherwise they wont get crispy. Drizzle on some olive oil. Season with salt and add to the oven.
CHEAT TRAYS /The pot noodle/anti-cook
A few short cuts were made here. To make stuffing from scratch, it’s a crazy long process and the box stuffing hits the mark so why mess with it. The same goes with the pigs in blankets. All you need to do is follow the instructions on the pack!
I add a cheeky tbsp of honey to the pigs in blankets to maximise the crispiness and it also provides a great contrast with the salty bacon. Pop in the oven for the allocated time on the pack.
Style the stuffing balls in a creative pyramid to compensate for the lack of effort you put in. (No judgements, you can be on bev duty)
FINAL TRAY/ THE GRAVY/ Likes to handle hot liquids
After removing the chicken from the oven, you can pick it up with the foil and place on a tray to rest. The chicken bed should now be full of caramelised veg, chicken juices and oil. If there are any dark brown bits that look burnt- dont worry! That’s crazy flavour and you don’t want to throw it away. Pour the juices and veg through a sieve into a hob- safe tray or a large saucepan on a medium heat.
Add 3 tbsp of plain flour into the tray, using a whisk to mix quickly.
Slowly pour in 1 litre of chicken stock. Once you’ve done this, add the caramalised veg back into the gravy along with any remaining thyme and rosemary you have. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring intermittently.
Once it has thickened, do the final pour through the sieve and you’re good to go.
The first tray should go in the oven 2 and a half hours before you want to eat, so use this schedule accordingly. Eg. eating at 7:30pm, you’ll want to have your chicken prepped and put in the oven at 5pm.
TRAY 1 Goes in along with the oil tray for the roast potatoes.
Remove the oil tray from the oven and follow the method above.
Tray 2 goes in the oven, timer set to 40 minutes.
Tray 2 comes out, tray 3 timer set to 30 minutes
Tray 3 comes out.
Cheat trays (packet times- mine were half an hour) and Tray 4 (30M timer) go in.
Tray 1 comes out, leave the chicken to rest for 30 before carving. Gravy person- get on it.
Cheat trays, tray 4 come out. Tray 2 and 3 go back in to heat a little for 5 before serving.
Carve chicken, plate up everything, put wham on and enjoy!