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AGA CHRISTMAS TIPS

 Tips

Top AGA Tips

Remember the AGA 80:20 rule: 80% of your cooking should take place in the ovens, 20% on the hotplates, typically these are things which take less than seven minutes to accomplish.

When cooking a lot of food requiring a high temperature in the roasting oven, avoid using the simmering plate apart from essential tasks such as heating milk and making sauces. Keep the simmering plate insulating lid down as much as possible.

If the simmering oven is completely full of food cooking, allow a longer composite cooking time than for when cooking just a couple of pans, especially in the case of root vegetables. The cooked food will keep hot without spoiling.

Get ahead
To cook ahead, pre-roast the potatoes and parsnips the day before, until they just start to colour. Drain off the fat, cool and then keep covered in the refrigerator till the following day. Bring back to room temperature for several hours before finishing off on the floor of the roasting oven for 20-30 minutes. Don’t place cooked roast potatoes in the simmering or warming ovens or they will not remain crisp. Instead, place the filled ovenproof serving dish on the AGA toaster on the floor of the roasting or baking oven, with a cold plain shelf above to prevent them over browning.

Most vegetables can be prepared the day before: peel potatoes and keep covered with water in the fridge, with carrots and parsnips in polythene bags. Shred cabbage and trim tiny Brussels Sprouts – remove any discoloured leaves, then store in a polythene bag with a little water in the refrigerator overnight.

How large a turkey will fit in an AGA oven?

The AGA is known for its large ovens.  The roasting oven is big enough for a 13kg (28lb) bird.

Turkey:

Allow 450g (1 lb) per person, weighed when plucked and drawn
Allow 225g (8 oz) per person, for boned and breast-only roasts

Goose:

Allow 900g (2 lb) per person, weighed when plucked and drawn
Allow 450g (1 lb) per person, for boned and breast-only roasts

This allows for second helpings and a manageable quantity of leftovers that can be safely used up within two to three days. If you are short of refrigerator space, a car boot in December may be cold enough for the safe storage of an uncooked bird once you have taken delivery of it from your butcher. Alternatively, consider using an unheated room or an animal-proof shed or garage.

I've pre made my AGA Christmas pudding, but how do I heat it up on the day?

To re-heat your Christmas pudding on Christmas Day you don't need to re-steam it in the conventional way. Simply wrap the china, plastic or foil pudding basin in several layers of foil and place in the simmering oven all morning, next to the turkey if necessary. Over several hours it will slowly heat through ready for serving piping hot at the end of your meal. Custard and brandy sauce may be made towards the end of the morning and kept hot until wanted, covered, in the warming or simmering ovens. 

How can I keep a lot of plates warm ready for serving?

If you have a lot of plates and serving dishes to heat, fill your dishwasher with all your china and put it on a heat only (drying) cycle, or on the shortest wash option.

Do a dummy run beforehand if necessary to time the length of the programme, and then you can set the dishwasher off at just the right time to result in hot dry dishes ready for your Christmas meal. This tip never fails to impress onlookers. It is especially useful if you are cooking for more than ten people with a 2 or 3 oven AGA - the simmering oven can then be used exclusively for cooking and keeping food hot.

Vegetable tureen lids and gravy boats are best warmed at the back of the top plate of the AGA where they heat through without the handles getting too hot. Protect the enamel by using a cloth, chef's pad or piece of kitchen paper.  

Why are my ovens losing their heat?

When cooking a lot of food requiring a high temperature in the roasting oven, avoid using the simmering plate apart from essential tasks such as heating milk and making sauces. Keep the simmering plate insulating lid down as much as possible.

If the simmering oven is completely full of food cooking, allow a longer composite cooking time than for when cooking just a couple of pans, especially in the case of root vegetables. The cooked food will keep hot without spoiling.

 

Back to the AGA Christmas Guide.

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