Your top Christmas turkey – and wine – tips from UCB

December 2016

Nervous about roasting the turkey on Christmas Day – and confused about the different stuffings?

Baffled by which wines to serve as family and friends gather round to raise their glasses?

Well, worry no longer because the culinary experts at University College Birmingham have come up with some top turkey cooking tips and wine pairings for festive feasting.

We have put together a special film to show you how to prepare and cook a delicious lemon and thyme roast turkey in just one-and-a-half minutes. (The video lasts 1 minute and 30 seconds – the actual cooking time is quite a bit longer.)

Our recipe for a 5 kilogram bird, to serve eight to 10 people, is featured with our YouTube video, which you can watch above.

So now you have got the turkey sorted, it is time to turn to the drinks.

Wine expert Amy Hollier, who developed UCB’s Wine Find app, has compiled a list of great wine pairings that will delight the palate while bringing out the best in your food. 

Aperitif: Popular Prosecco is a firm favourite because it’s so easy to drink. But if you want to try something different why not try a Crémant du Jura or Crémant d’Alsace? They are perfect aperitifs.

Smoked salmon: smoked salmon needs a wine with good acidity to cut through the oiliness of the fish.  Sauvignon blanc is a good pairing as it often has a zesty character that really lifts salmon. New Zealand sauvignon blanc is always full of character, or try a French classic like Sancerre.

Roast turkey: turkey isn’t an overpowering meat so it’s best to pair the wine to the accompaniments of a festive meal, such as the rich gravy, vegetables and stuffing. If you prefer white wine, try a full-bodied viognier or an oaked chardonnay. For red, go for a medium-bodied wine, definitely not full-bodied as this will overpower the dish. Try a pinot noir, rioja or a merlot.

Roast goose: Riesling or pinot noir. Goose is quite a rich, fatty bird so a white wine with good acidity, like a dry Riesling, works well, or maybe a light red.

Cheese: people immediately think port is the ideal accompaniment to cheese, which it is for hard cheeses and some blue cheeses. However, goats’ cheese goes well with sauvignon blanc due to the lemony characteristics in both the wine and the cheese. Washed rind, soft, creamy cheeses work well with oaked chardonnays and full-bodied whites.

Christmas pudding: if you have a dark, sticky pudding then you need a very sweet, unctuous wine. Try Pedro Ximenez sherry, Madeira, tawny port or Tokaji Aszu.

Chocolate desserts and petits fours: a dark dessert wine such as black muscat is a great pairing for chocolate, as is a full-bodied cabernet sauvignon.