Raymond Blanc's top tips for Christmas dinner

Raymond Blanc shares his top Christmas dinner tips, including his three-ingredient duck recipe for a hassle-free sharing centrepiece.

Raymond Blanc in Christmas kitchen holding knife

A stunning three-ingredient Christmas centrepiece sounds too good to be true, but Raymond Blanc's marmalade glazed roast duck is here to save you from Christmas stress. Read on for more tips including how to get the best mince pie pastry, delicious ideas for Christmas leftovers and the best way to serve sprouts. Want even more Christmas inspiration? Check out our Christmas kitchen hub.

1. What made you choose this duck recipe to feature in the magazine?

Marmalade glazed duck being carved on wooden board with bowl of orange segments
Duck is a perfect roast for the festive season, but so many recipes tell you to cook it for hours. I wanted to create a recipe where you get a perfect balance of cooked leg meat, but keep a slight blush to the breast meat.

2. What’s your top tip for cooking Christmas dinner?

Carrots and parsnips in serving dish with spoon
It’s all in the preparation. Prepare as much as you can in advance. For example, the cranberry sauce and the gravy can easily be made a few weeks earlier and kept in the freezer until the night before. With proper preparation, you can enjoy your time with your guests and hopefully avoid any last-minute panics.

3. Do you have any tips for getting ahead on the Christmas dinner?

Turkey crown on serving platter with slice taken
Practice your dish beforehand. Going through the method to make sure you’re familiar with the steps and timings will really help you on the day. It’s also a good idea to make a cold starter, so you can focus on the cooking the main.

4. What’s the most important ingredient in a Christmas pudding?

Christmas pudding on plate with spoon topped with holly
There’s not one ingredient more important than the other, but do try making it a few months in advance so the pudding has time to mature. Time is the most important part of a Christmas pudding recipe because the flavours need to marry together.

5. What’s your tip for making the perfect mince pie?

Mince pies on cake stand with icing sugar
Don’t overwork your pastry. I’ve eaten too many crumbly or powdery mince pies because the pastry has been kneaded for far too long.

6. Do you have a secret to the perfect roast potato?

Roast potatoes on plate sprinkled with salt next to salt cellar
Ruffling. Quickly blanching your potatoes then ruffling them in a dry pan will give you a perfectly crisp roast potato… as long as you’re using the right variety. I use King Edward as they’re a good all-rounder, and the results are the most consistent.

7. What’s your favourite meal to make with Christmas leftovers?

Scones on wire rack with plates and cutlery
My British friends have influenced me over the years, and I now enjoy a curry as much as they do. It must be delicately spiced and not too overpowering. I like mine served with steamed brown rice and some wilted garlic spinach on the side.

8. What’s the best way to serve Brussels sprouts?

Chorizo and almond sprouts in bowl
Sprouts are delicious prepared in many ways as long as they haven’t been cooked to death for hours. I like mine quickly blanched, sliced in half, then sautéed with some bacon lardons and cooked chestnuts.

  • Turn this polarising Christmas side dish into something special with our chorizo and almond version. 

Enjoyed these festive ideas? Read our other celeb top tips...

Jose Pizarro's top tips for Christmas dinner
Tommy Banks' top tips for Christmas dinner
12 ways to do Christmas like Nigella
Nadiya Hussain's top tips for Christmas dinner

What are your top tips for getting ready for Christmas day? Leave a comment below...

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