Most of us only have occasion to cook a turkey once a year, so it’s no wonder that unfamiliarity and a whirl of socialising and gift-giving all combine to make us feel a bit stressed on Christmas Day. Turkey disasters can vary from the bird being too dry to half-raw, so follow our tips to give yourself the best chance of success.
- If your turkey is frozen, take it out and put it in the fridge at least 24 hours before required. An hour before you start to cook it, take it out of the fridge to bring it up to room temperature.
- Put one lemon, cut in half, one orange and a small, peeled red onion into the body cavity before roasting. This will help keep the meat moist and flavourful.
- Calculate the cooking time at about 40 minutes per kilo. Cook the turkey at 200 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes before covering the bird with foil and reducing the heat to 180 degrees Celsius for the rest of the cooking time. About 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove the foil to encourage a crispy, golden skin.
- Cooking the stuffing separately makes it much easier to calculate cooking times for the bird correctly, so there’s less chance of the meat drying out in the oven.
- It’s vital to rest the turkey before serving it, as this makes the meat more tender. Turn it onto its breast when resting it, so the juices run down. You can let it rest for anything from 30 to 60 minutes before carving, so that’s just enough time to finish off sauces and vegetables without getting stressed.
- Before serving, skim off excess fat from the roasting tray and pour the meat juices into the gravy.
Merry Christmas from everyone at the Swettenham Arms, and a very Happy New Year. We look forward to seeing all our friends and customers in 2015.