Whether you're roasting your first bird this Christmas or hosting for the 26th time, use this handy guide to roast the perfect holiday turkey. Then hopefully you won’t end up with a dried-out bird on Christmas Day.
Here’s 12 quick tips to ensure your turkey is cooked to perfection.
- When processing a bird, Christchurch turkey farmers Croziers recommends tucking the legs of the turkey in close so the drumsticks stay moister during cooking.
- Don’t truss the legs tightly with string or you can have areas of uncooked thigh meat, or you can overcook the breast meat if you keep it in the oven too long trying to cook it – if you use string, keep it loose.
- The more quickly you can freeze (or preferably snap freeze) a fresh carcase, the more moisture you keep in the meat.
- When thawing a frozen turkey, allow:
- 8 to 12 hours per kilo if in the fridge (4˚C)
- 3 to 4 hours per kilo in a cool room (17.5˚C)
- 2 hours per kilo at room temperature (20˚C)
- Once thawed and in the fridge, a raw turkey roast will keep for two days.
- When roasting, for a bird under 4kg allow 20 minutes per kg + 70 minutes. If the bird is over 4kg allow 20 minutes per kg + 90 minutes.
- To get a lovely brown skin, brush the bird with olive oil before cooking.
- Use a large roasting pan but try not to use one with high sides or it can be difficult to baste and the lower part of the bird won’t brown up.
- Some cooks flip their turkey, starting off with the bird upside down (lying on its breast) before turning it over after an hour – this supposedly helps to keep the breast meat moist.
- If that sounds too difficult, place a bit of water in the bottom of the roasting dish, place tinfoil over the breast, cook at 120˚C for four hours, then remove the foil with 30 minutes to go so the skin goes brown.
- If you want stuffing, it’s going to add to your cooking time if you actually stuff it inside the bird and it will tend to cook unevenly. Pack it in loosely so there’s room for expansion. Another option is to cook stuffing separately in a roasting tray – the bonus is that the top will go crispy.
- Leave the turkey to stand for at least 15-20 minutes before carving.
And now that you know what to do to prepare that perfect turkey, here are 3 recipes from 3 well known cooks for that perfect tasty Christmas plate.
First up is Nadia Lim’s Christmas Turkey with amazing apple, sage and cashew stuffing.
Next up is Angela Langbein and her Roast Turkey with Lemon Gravy using her 'brining Turkey' cooking method.
Lastly it wouldn’t be Christmas without Jamie Oliver and here he is with his Christmas turkey with onion and sage stuffing.
All that's left is to toast your fellow Christmas guests and dig in!
If you're looking for a vegetarian dish or a delicious alternative to a traditional Christmas roast, we've picked out 10 mouth-watering recipes to inspire you. Make sure you follow us on Facebook or read our other Blog articles for the '10 Best Alternative Christmas Mains' recipes.