Christmas Tips with Thomas Piat, Executive Chef at Searcys29 November 2023
Christmas is tiptoeing closer, and with its arrival comes the prospect of crafting the perfect Christmas dinner! We recently sat down with our new Executive Chef, Thomas Piat, who shared some of his top Christmas cooking tips, from secret turkey-stuffing techniques to ingenious ways to transform leftovers.
Do you have a secret ingredient that elevates your Christmas dishes?
For the turkey, I recommend stuffing with sage, cranberries, chestnuts and brandy – my secret ingredient! Also, make sure to work with every part of the bird – I slow-cook the entire turkey to ensure it stays moist and even use the bones in gravy.
Are there ways to make Christmas dinner cost-effective?
Buy ahead – cranberries come into season in October, so grab them early and freeze them. These make the perfect accompaniment to roast turkey!
Christmas leftovers – what is your top tips to using up Christmas leftovers?
I lived in the US for some time, so leftover turkey sandwiches were a no brainer for me! You can fill the sandwich with the turkey and all the trimmings, using gravy to make it stay moist. Alternatively, you can use the leftover panettone for a bread, butter and chocolate pudding, perfect for breakfast the next day – delicious.
What is best to be prepped before Christmas Day?
Sauces are the most important thing to prep ahead of Christmas Day. Traditional gravy, when done properly, can take a few days to prep, from boiling the bones to adding the vegetables and filtrating it all. You can also brine the chicken in advance to enhance moistness and flavour. I like to use a mix of spices and honey for a golden and crispy skin result!
For people who don’t like Turkey or Ham, what is your go-to alternative dish for Christmas dinner?
A delicious, seasonal alternative suitable for vegetarians is stuffed pumpkin. I recommend stuffing it with pumpkin flesh, chestnuts, cranberries and kale or Swiss chard.