Roast turkey is undoubtedly the most common meat eaten on Christmas Day. In fact research has shown that over eight out of ten of the UK families would not have anything other than roast turkey and all the trimmings at Xmas!
As with all poultry, turkeys must be cooked properly. Salmonella food poisoning could be contracted if the meat is left even slightly undercooked. This is particularly relevant to frozen birds. They must be thoroughly defrosted.
Nearly all shop turkeys are now oven prepared, no need to remove the insides or pluck feathers. The only thing that needs doing is removing the giblets from inside the carcass. The giblets should not, however, be just thrown away. They should be boiled in a saucepan to make very tasty gravy stock or the liver can be used finely chopped in stuffing.
If the turkey is going to be stuffed more time must be allowed for the turkey to cook to a specific interior temperature. Cooking times will be increased if the legs of the turkey are trussed. The turkey should then be covered in streaky bacon and the whole bird covered in foil which should only be removed when the meat is cooked to allow the skin to crisp and brown. Consult recipe books for cooking times as larger turkeys will obviously take much longer to cook.. And don’t fprget the gravy boat for that perfect turkey gravy.
Use a large cooking tray and make sure it is big enough to collect all the juices that seep out. Place the pan on the lower shelf of the oven, not too hot, as the turkey will not cook completely on the inside if not place on the bottom shelf or in an oven that is too hot. Dark meat takes a lot longer to cook than light meat so make sure that the dark meat part of the turkey is placed at the back of the oven where it is usually hotter. The best chopping board will accommodate a full size bird.
Before the big day invite family and friends round. On Christmas Eve make sure vegetable and other preparations are in hand. On the day, an early get up is required to get everything under way. Serve the oven cooked turkey dinner and the drinks when guests have arrived and enjoy. Worry about washing the pots later!