Turkey tips for Christmas dinner - carving a roast turkey

Turkey tips for Christmas Dinner

From how much to buy to how to cook. And a little something extra!

Buying

Not sure how big a turkey to buy? It depends on if you’re getting a whole bird, a crown or a prepared joint.
WHOLE TURKEY: Up to 6 people, 650g each. Up to 12 people, 600g each. Over 12 people, 550g each.
TURKEY CROWN: Up to 6 people, 500g each. Over 6 people, 400g each.
BONED TURKEY JOINT: 250g each.

Preparing

Frozen turkey should be thoroughly defrosted before cooking. Timings depend on the size of the bird and the temperature where you’re defrosting it. The cooler the temperature, the longer defrosting time is needed.
FRIDGE (4 degrees C): 10 hours per kilo
COOL ROOM (eg 17 degrees C or cooler): 4 hours per kilo
ROOM TEMPERATURE (20 degrees C): 2 hours per kilo

Fresh and fully defrosted frozen turkeys should be stored in the fridge and roasted within 48 hours.

Take the turkey out of the fridge an hour or so before cooking so it doesn’t start at a ‘cold’ temperature.

Roasting

If your turkey is trussed, cut the string to let the legs hang loose. It will cook more evenly.

Make sure the turkey will fit in your oven! If not, take the legs off and roast them separately.

Whole turkeys should be roasted for 40 mins per kilo at 180 degrees C. Cover the turkey in butter and bacon to keep in moist when cooking. Cover the turkey loosely with foil, and remove the foil 30 mins to an hour before the end of cooking to allow the turkey skin and becon to brown and crisp (the bigger the bird, the longer the time). Baste the turkey regularly throughout the cooing time, up to every 30 minutes.

To ensure your turkey is ready at the end of the cooking time, stick a metal skewer into the thickest part of the leg – if the juice that runs out is clear, it is fully cooked. Or use a meat thermometer with probe and check it has reached an internal temperature of 70 degrees C.

When you take the turkey out of the oven, it needs to rest. Cover it loosely with foil and put it somewhere warm for at least 30 minutes. Larger birds can rest for up to 2 hours, and the meat will stay perfectly warm for up to an hour, which gives you plenty of oven space for pigs in blankets and roast potatoes.

Don’t forget the roasties!

The secrets of fab roast potatoes are to par-boil them for 10 minutes, drain and shake in the pan to rough up the edges, and when you put them into the roasting dish the oil must be really hot – almost smoking. Turn them carefully in the dish to coat them with the oil and roast them for 40 minutes at 200 degrees C.