Christmas Dinner on Your Range Cooker
Christmas should be the ultimate time to shine for your range cooker, the long nights and cold weather perfect as an excuse to spend lots of time getting cosy with your cooker!
Range cookers and Christmas dinner are truly a match made in heaven – but you need to be prepared to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Below you can see the top recommendations from Aga accessory supplier Blake & Bull on having the perfect Christmas dinner with a range cooker:
Check your fuel supplies
If you have an oil or solid fuel cooker make sure you have plenty of fuel for the big day. Many oil tank gauges are unreliable so use a dipstick if you have one. Running out of fuel mid-way through cooking won’t make you a family favourite!
Increase your oven temperature on Christmas Eve
A range cooker is a storage heater that only has a limited amount of heat to give. A large meal like a Christmas dinner will greatly reduce the heat reserves so make sure it is well-heated before you start cooking the big meal (remember to turn the heat down before you start cooking to avoid burning the food though).
Allow for different oven temperatures
Range cooker ovens can vary greatly in temperature. Lower ovens will cool quickly when the roasting oven is in use for long periods, not the best when cooking a large Christmas dinner. Make sure you regularly test the heat of these lower ovens to check the food is cooking correctly – avoid putting key items in here as they may struggle to heat up correctly.
Don’t drain your oven’s energy by using the hotplates
Keep the radiant heat on your larger items and try to avoid using the hotplates whilst it’s cooking. Many Aga range cooker owners will abide by the 80/20 rule. Only 20% of the total cooking should be done on the hotplates. Hotplate cooking time ideally for no longer than 7 minutes. Try and use the simmering oven for vegetables and other side dishes only. Don’t even think about boiling water on the range cooker – this is an easy way to waste all your range cooker’s energy!
Prepare your oven shelf racks
By preparing your oven racks the night before you will avoid wasting heat with the oven doors open on the big day.
Maximise your oven capacity
The silver rack shelves that come as standard in many range cookers take up lots of room, consider investing in a tray that fits directly onto your oven runners – this will free up plenty of oven space and means you can keep everyone happy with their favourite side dish!
Pre-warm your cooking equipment.
Storing your baking trays and dishes in the simmering and warming ovens on Christmas Eve as well as piling your pots and pats on a drying rack above your oven means they will be ready to cook on Christmas Day without wasting the initial energy needed to heat them up.
Don’t cook everything at once
Pre-cooking some elements of your Christmas dinner will reduce the strain on your oven for cooking several items at once. Roast potatoes taste wonderful when pre-roasted: put them in the oven in the morning until they start to brown. Next drain off the fat and leave at room temperature until ready for the main event. For the super-prepared, this can even be done the night before. Just make sure you refrigerate the potatoes then bring back to room temperature before cooking.
Guard your cooker!
If everyone has a peek inside the oven your cooker will lose a substantial amount of heat. Keep a wary eye on hungry family members trying to grab a sneaky look inside the oven.
Enjoy the big day
A range cooker is a great focal point for all the family to be sociable and catch up with each other. Enjoy your time with your loved ones and make sure you savour the special moments. Wwhilst keeping one eye on the Christmas dinner of course!