Saturday 10 December 2011


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We seem to cook turkey only at Christmas, when so it can be a daunting prospect. However, by following these steps I aim to help you achieve the perfect roast turkey. 

Turkey, fresh or frozen
Stuffing mixture
6 oz butter
8 oz bacon rashers
Salt and pepper to season

You will need to calculate the cooking time of the turkey. This will be a guideline only, as ovens and birds will vary. For example a 14 lb (6.5 kg) turkey will take 40 minutes at gas mark 7/220C, then 3.5 hours at gas mark 3/170C and 40 minutes at gas 6.

Oven Ready Size   Starting Temperature    Roasting Temperature    Browning Temperature
                                  425F/ 220C/ Gas 7       325F/ 160C/ Gas 3         200C/ Gas 6

8 - 11lb/3.5-5 kg        30 mins                          2.5 - 3 hours                     about 40 mins
12 - 14lb/ 5.4 kg        40 mins                          3 - 3.5 hours                     about 40 mins
15 - 20lb/ 5.7-9kg      40 mins                          3.5 - 4.5 hours                  about 40 mins  

Keep the turkey refrigerated until approximately 4 hours prior to cooking, so that it can be cooked at room temperature.

Prior to cooking your turkey you will need to remove the giblets.  They should be bagged and located within the body cavity. 

Preheat the oven to gas mark 7/220C.

Select your stuffing for the turkey.  Place one third between the flesh and the skin in the neck end, and two thirds in the body cavity.

Cover the turkey in 6 oz/ 175 g softened butter.  Lay the bacon over the turkey breast, ensuring you overlap rashers.  Season with salt and pepper.  
If you have purchased a frozen turkey allow plenty of time for the bird to defrost. Leave to stand at room temperture for 24-30 hours or until fully defrosted, and then place in the fridge.
Place two sheets of tin foil across your roasting tin at right angles to each other.  Place the turkey on its back in the middle of the foil and seal, allowing enough room for air to circulate.

Cook for 40 minutes at gas mark 7/220C and then 3.5 hours at gas mark 3 / 170C. Take the turkey out of the oven and bast with the juices.  Remove the foil.  Increase the oven temperature to gas mark 6 / 200C and cook for another 40 minutes. Part way through remove the bacon to allow the breast to brown.

Remove the turkey from the oven. To test if the bird is cooked, pierce the fattest part of the leg with a skewer to see if the juices run clear (without any trace of pink). Cover with foil and allow to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes prior to carving.

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