I learned how to cook the perfect turkey and stuffing at a masterclass with Marco Pierre White this week. It was an amazing opportunity and I feel so lucky to have been given that chance! Today, I’m going to be sharing how to make the perfect turkey gravy and the perfect cranberry sauce – the Marco way!
I have made my own turkey gravy for the past few Christmases, with lots of wonderful flavourings in it. However, with a view to keeping things simple this year, I’m going to be making Marco’s perfect gravy, because it really is easy to make!
- turkey or chicken bones
If you are breaking down your own turkey into joints to roast (as I explained yesterday) then you can use the bones to make the gravy. If you don’t have turkey bones, chicken wings will work too. You could also make the gravy in advance if you wish – a day or so and keep it in the fridge till required.
Marco cooked his bones separately from the turkey crown at the masterclass, but his lean on turkey video shows him using the bones as a trivet for the meat. I think this is a great idea as you get two jobs done in one pan. He added some onion, garlic and butter to the turkey bones, which will add all important flavour.
Once the bones are cooked, hot water is added to the pan and brought to the boil on a stove top with some added bouillon. Give the bones a good scraping off the bottom of the pan to release all of those delicious flavours. Then, strain the gravy through a fine sieve into a saucepan and return to the heat. Thicken with some cornflower and water mix to your desired consistency. Allow the gravy to rest for a moment so that the fat will rise to the top. You can then skim off some of the fat – you don’t want a greasy gravy!
With the gravy made, the perfect cranberry sauce is next…
One thing I’ve never cooked from scratch is cranberry sauce. With all the other things I end up cooking for Christmas, it feels easier to just pick up a jar from the shelves when doing the big Christmas shop! But after watching Marco make his perfect cranberry sauce, I can say it is so easy there is no excuse not to make your own!
Perfect Cranberry Sauce
- 500g fresh or frozen cranberries
- 250g sugar
- 100ml orange juice
- 100ml port
- If using frozen cranberries, cook the sugar and cranberries together – the excess water from the frozen fruit will cut out the need for liquid at this stage.
- When softened and jammy, stir in the orange juice and port.
- If using fresh cranberries, put all the ingredients into a pan together and cook until reduced and to a jam like consistency.
And now that Marco has shown us how to make all of these Christmas dinner elements perfectly, it’s time to put them all together…
Taking out the wishbone before cooking makes carving the turkey crown a lot easier. First, remove the stuffing from the end, and then using a sharp knife, cut slices using long strokes. Even though I knew removing the wishbone helps with carving, I’ve never actually done that…I’m going to give it a go this year and get back to you and see how much easier carving our Christmas turkey is!
Whilst Marco didn’t demonstrate how to cook roast potatoes or accompanying veggies, he suggested braised red cabbage (I made this last Christmas – was lush!), mashed swede and frozen peas. I asked him what he preferred to roast his potatoes in, and he said clarified butter. I was surprised to not hear him suggest goose or duck fat, as most celeb chefs seem to recommend that fat on their Christmas specials!
I look forward to creating a simpler Christmas dinner this year, trying out Marcos recipes, but also, as always, having to add my own twist to things! Of course, you’ll be the first to find out how it all turned out!
Disclosure: I was compensated to attend the masterclass. All opinions and images are my own.