How to cook a turkey to perfection: Christmas turkey tips
How to cook a turkey to perfection: The perfect Christmas turkey
Christmas is nearly here and if there's one thing we know about this holiday, it's that a little bit of preparation makes life a whole lot easier.
So if like us you're already starting to panic about cooking that troublesome turkey then fear not, we'll help you be prepared.
We've asked Copas, the award-winning turkey company for some help on how to cook a turkey to perfection. There will be no bog standard turkeys on our tables this year. Oh no. We're going to have the best bloomin' turkey dinner out there.
Want to know how to make the perfect Christmas turkey? Read on.
How to start:
The trick is to start by choosing the bird (clever huh). Copas suggest a free range turkey is probably your best option. It's more expensive than your average turkey - but will taste a lot better - and it's not as pricey as going organic.
Size-wise, make sure you buy a bird that will fit in your oven. It's sounds obvious but so many people forget this! You probably need about 500g of raw meat per person.
Don't forget to fully defrost your turkey if you've kept it in the freezer, you don't want to be having Christmas dinner at midnight. On Christmas eve, take the turkey out of the freezer, place it on a tray, cover it in tin foil and put it on the bottom shelf of the fridge.
You can get a lot into a turkey, so don't be scared of packing lots in! If you can muster up the energy to make stuffing then go for it. Copas suggest some good quality Cumberland sausages make a good base.
Fill the neck cavity only and remember to recalculate your cooking time to include the extra weight of the stuffing. The one thing that Copas strongly advise is not to fill the body cavity of the bird with your stuffing. If it's all too much, just cook your stuffing separately, if you want.
If you do really want to add some stuffing there, why not add the following - an onion, some garlic, half a lemon. The more flavours the better!
You might want to cover your turkey in bacon or butter for that added meaty, melty flavour.
Top tip alert! Cook the turkey breast side down until the last half hour. That keeps the breast meat succulent but also allows the meat to cook easily.
The Copas guys say: "Pre-heat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas 8 (or 210°C for fan ovens). Cook your turkey at this temperature for the first 30 mins & then lower the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 (or 170°C for fan ovens). Total cooking time will be approximately 30-35 mins per kg."
To see if your turkey is ready, plunge a fork into the deepest part of the thigh or the breast. If the juices run clear your turkey is probably done.
Once it's cooked, remove the turkey from the oven and allow it to rest in a warm place for about 15 to 30 minutes.
So it's all cooked, now you can just relax. Right? Right?! Not quite. You've just got to get past that final hurdle, the carving but really it's not that tricky.
Copas suggest cutting the wings and legs first by holding them by the knuckle and twisting them off. You then just pull all that lovelu succulent meat off the bone.
Only when this is done do Copas say to move onto the main body of the bird. Carve the breast meat from one side at an angle following the breast bone. Repeat on the other side but only when you've finished on the first side. Carving at an angle will make the most of the grain of the meat.
Now don't forget - there's plenty of tasty meat on the sides of the turkey, close to the backbone. This is where the oysters are. (not actual oysters but succulent round pieces of meat).
This one is easy. Pile up your plate, smother it in gravy and dig in. Yum!