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Introducing The Crown Selection - See range here

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How to Cook Christmas Dinner - Step-by-Step Guide

Donald Russell has all the delicious food you need for a festive feast, so you can get prepared for the upcoming season. Ranging from seafood starters to decadent desserts, as well as dinner selection boxes, our Christmas shop has all the trimmings to help you plan a stress-free meal for the big day.

Plan Ahead

One of the most important parts of a successful Christmas dinner is planning ahead. Creating your dinner menu in advance can take away a lot of the seasonal stress by accounting for picky eaters and allergies, so your guests will tuck into their meal with gusto. Having your menu set out means you can make up your shopping list, with plenty of time to make any necessary tweaks or add a few extras. Not only that, but it also makes the buying process more efficient and that much quicker – and means you can find the best value for money.

Another key way to be prepared is booking a food delivery to your home, this gets a big part of the Christmas worry sorted and out of the way. Ordering your Christmas food online, for delivery to your door, allows you to get a head start without being at the mercy of what’s left on the shelves, with the added bonus of avoiding the supermarket stampedes! You can order your meal online or over the phone from Donald Russell and pick a delivery date that suits you, up until 22nd December. We will deliver your food straight to you so all you need to do is defrost and cook it - with little to no prep time involved. Hooray!

Once you’ve decided exactly what’s on your Christmas dinner menu, it’s a good idea to categorise your food items into those that can be precooked and those that will need cooked on the day. This allows you to set out your timings for each element of the meal and work them around the rest of your jolly activities. Remember to factor in time to put your feet up!

Keep Things Simple

Cooking an entire Christmas dinner can seem like a daunting task sometimes, however not everything needs massive prep times or an excess of bells and whistles. A great way to make the process easier from the get-go is kicking off with a simple yet delicious starter or appetiser, something light like classic seafood. Beginning your dinner with tender Scottish salmon smoked over rich oak wood or wild prawns caught in the Atlantic in a retro prawn cocktail, are low-fuss ways to set the tone for the dishes to come. If you’re not a big fish fan a meat filled, all-butter puff pastry for sharing is a fun and equally tasty way to start.

The Show-Stopper

Donald Russell stocks a range of turkeys for a show-stopping centrepiece suitable for gatherings of around 5 people up to 15 servings, so you and your guests can all have your fair share, with enough for turkey sandwiches the next day.

Our British Slow-cooked Bronze Turkey Crown is perfect for a mid-sized group, with different sizes to choose from so you can order what will suit your situation best. This turkey crown is expertly hand-prepared and slow-cooked to create a wonderful texture and flavour combination for your fully prepared centrepiece.

For a larger gathering, our British Dry Aged Bronze Turkey is a luxury addition to your table. These turkeys are slow-grown and free-roaming from the world-renowned Kelly Family. The birds are then hand plucked, traditionally hung and dry-aged to bring out the best of the flavours for you to enjoy.

If you are having a smaller get together, our Stuffed Turkey Breast with Spiced Apple & Cranberry is a fully flavoured, hassle-free option. This juicy turkey breast is generously filled with a subtly sweet apple and cranberry stuffing, to create a classic mix of flavours.

A top tip for dealing with frozen turkeys is to allow enough time for the bird to defrost. It may sound obvious but it’s important to allow 12 hours of defrosting time for every kilogram of meat, which can mean up to three days of defrosting!

Another recommendation when cooking a turkey dinner, is to use a meat thermometer or pop-up timer. Using this kind of tool takes the guess work out of the task by monitoring the bird’s core temperature which should remain at a minimum of 65°C for 10 minutes.



If you decide to stray from a traditional turkey dinner, there are plenty of other Christmas centrepieces to choose from, as well as handy cooking hints and tips.

Sticking with a poultry centrepiece, our Free-range Apple Fed Cockerel is fed on a special diet of grain and apple for a unique depth of flavour.

Our Slow-cooked Large Lamb Shoulder is a delicious alternative for a mid-sized group to enjoy. This cut is marinated with garlic lemon and rosemary, and slow-cooked for 10 hours so the British lamb is gorgeously tender and full of flavour.

Looking to impress your guests with a touch of luxury? Look no further than our 5-Bone Rib Roast! This grass-fed British beef is traditionally dry-aged for at least 28 days, for a deeply rich flavour, before being hand-prepared by our expert Butchers in Aberdeenshire.

Vegetables, Sides and Trimmings

Forget the Christmases of years gone by when you wasted Christmas Eve in the kitchen prepping and fretting, peeling and chopping. At Donald Russell, we are giving you the gift of time this Christmas. With a specially selected range of sides and trimmings, all our food comes frozen ready for you to defrost and cook.

For an authentic Scottish twist on your Christmas dinner, we suggest adding our Traditional Scottish Stuffing with Added Whisky. This award-winning side is a traditional pork stuffing with whisky soaked apples and a Scottish white pudding centre.

A staple side in any Christmas dinner are Roast Potatoes with Beef Dripping. Our tasty British potatoes are infused with beef dripping for exceptional crispiness and a hint of rosemary for an extra layer of flavour. The aroma coming from your kitchen will get everyone’s appetite ready for dinner.

Our Carrots with Wild Garlic Butter are fully prepared, ready to roast and bursting with flavour, adding some depth to this popular side.

As well as this, our Honey Roast Parsnips are fully seasoned and glazed, ready to be cooked as a delicious vegetable side to your main course. 

A controversial side recommendation that divides us all, Buttered Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta & Black Pepper. These sprouts are fully prepared and ready to heat, with juicy pancetta and black pepper butter to add a delicious twist to Christmas classic. Delicious enough to convert the most ardent sprout-haters!

Last but not least, would it even be Christmas dinner without Pigs in Blankets? For a luxury twist on the festive staple, try our Venison Pigs in Blankets. Rich Scottish venison sausages, wrapped by hand in crisp streaky bacon. Top tip – make sure you pop some on your plate before they all disappear!

Don't Forget the Sauces

In the heat of the kitchen, sauces and gravy can easily fall victim to being forgotten, even with forward planning. To avoid missing out on the all-important sauces Donald Russell have a number of handmade options to choose from.

Our Traditional Poultry Gravy is made from premium stock and ingredients to create a delicious blend of flavours to enhance the main event.

Bring your beef to life with a generous, steaming hot helping of our Traditional Beef Gravy. This gravy adds a richness and flavour to bring out the best in any of our grass-fed British beef roasts.

Christmas dinner isn’t just about the gravy though, your plate needs a sauce too! Our Sourdough Bread Sauce is a traditional, creamy accompaniment with a burst of festive flavours from cloves, nutmeg and bay leaf, and a tangy finish from traditional sourdough bread.

Last but certainly not least, the delicious fan favourite that is Cranberry & Port Sauce. This sauce is packed with the classic, warming festive favours of sweet cranberry enhanced with rich port and spiced apple, for an extra kick of flavour.

Whether you only have one or load on lashings, these delicious winter flavours are a must. If you are really looking to impress, try making your own gravy with our range of recipes, like Rich Onion Gravy, Lamb Gravy with Rosemary & Garlic or Rich Poultry Gravy.

End the Night on a High Note

Now the main event is devoured, unbuckle your belt because there’s always room for dessert!

For a traditional finish to your festive feast, our Luxury Figgy Christmas Pudding and Luxury Christmas Pudding are full of juicy fruit and rich brandy for a blend of classic flavours set to wow your guests.

Another classic seasonal dessert is our Traditional Christmas Cake. This fruitcake is expertly handmade and topped with a delicious layer of sweet marzipan and packed with flavour, for a delightful festive dessert. This premium cake also takes out the trouble of having to make your own - a lengthy process in a busy time. Wrapping presents or sipping mulled wine are much better uses of time!

If you’re after something slightly less conventional, our Raspberry Snowball Meringue Cheesecake is sure to go down a treat. This thick, creamy cheesecake is topped with raspberry sauce, sweet white chocolate and light meringue pieces, perfect for the big finale.

One last important pudding decision: custard or ice cream? It’s Christmas after all, treat your guests to both. Tuck in!


Our Christmas Food Selection

We know the festive season can be a stressful time which is why we’ve created a range of delicious products to make it all easier for you. From Scottish seafood starters and tasty trimmings, to succulent British roasts and decadent desserts, we’ve got it all. Our Christmas Shop contains only premium quality products made with the best ingredients for the best taste and experience for you.

To take the stress out of dinner we have a number of Christmas Selections available so you can get your whole meal in one hand-picked box. Simply choose the selection you like, and have it delivered straight to your door, so you can avoid wasting precious time on last-minute dashes to the supermarket. We’re here to make this Christmas memorable with top-quality food for you.

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