I reckon gravy has the power to transform, or even save, a meal. What I want you to do this year is open your mind to a slightly radical idea: making it a few days, or even weeks before Christmas. If you do this, you'll have it on standby, so you can finish it on Christmas Day. I use chicken wings to give the gravy that roasted bird flavour base. Not only are they dead cheap, they're also the most flavourful part of the bird.

Get-ahead gravy

Get Ahead Gravy -- Jamie Oliver recipe for making a great gravy base to freeze -- save time and simplify on Xmas & Thanksgiving!

In my books, the perfect bird is 6.5kg– 8kg in weight because that's a good size to handle, feeds about 10 to 14 people and has better flavour than bigger birds. If you're buying from a small producer, like the lovely turkey I used from my mate Paul Kelly, you'll often find these birds come with their own cooking instructions. Really good-quality birds do cook in a shorter time so follow the instructions if it has them.

Jamie Oliver: The best turkey in the world A simple roast for Christmas with chestnut and sage stuffing and flavoured butter

Turkey

Roast turkey with spiced cranberry, bacon and walnut stuffing

Roast turkey with spiced cranberry, bacon & walnut stuffing. With proper homemade gravy If you're feeling a bit fruity this year, try this Christmas turkey with a lovely cranberry stuffing

Recipe ideas for Christmas dinner

This Christmas vegetables recipe will help you to get your assortment of vegetables just right; herby roast potatoes, honeyed parsnips and orange carrots.

Like a lot of what I'm doing this year, this butter is a job for Christmas Eve. It won't take long and will guarantee you happiness the day after. A really beautiful turkey like Mr Kelly's doesn't need anything more than olive oil and salt and pepper, they're that good. While the purist in me says leave it alone, the chef in me is curious and wants to experiment. I think the bird, and the occasion, deserve a bit of extra love so if you can add a bit of an edge with something that complements…

Christmas butter

Jamie Oliver: The best turkey in the world A simple roast for Christmas with chestnut and sage stuffing and flavoured butter


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