Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Secrets of the Perfect Turkey; What a Carve-Up: But It's Easy to Spoil Such a Large Bird as a Turkey by Either Cooking It Too Little or Too Much

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Secrets of the Perfect Turkey; What a Carve-Up: But It's Easy to Spoil Such a Large Bird as a Turkey by Either Cooking It Too Little or Too Much

Article excerpt

Byline: JASMINE GARDNER

TOMORROW is the day. The sprouts, the sausage meat, the potatoes and the turkey are at the ready, and no doubt that throbbing mass of food spilling out of the fridge is filling you with a minor sense of panic. Getting the turkey right is the biggest stress on Christmas Day and leaving it to guesswork risking an undercooked or dried-out offering is just not going to cut it with the family. To help out, we asked four experts how they cook their Christmas turkeys. Here are their tips for a perfect feast.

ANGELA HARTNETT

Preparation: Begin by bringing the turkey up to room temperature. I smother the whole bird in butter, season well and cover the breast with good quality bacon. Wrap foil loosely around the turkey, leaving a pillow-like gap. The parcel must be firmly sealed but with room for air to circulate during cooking.

Cooking time: Just 30 minutes per kilogram works best.

Temperature: Start at 180C then remove the foil and turn the temperature up to brown the turkey for the last 30 minutes.

Top tip: Add stock to the roasting tray before covering with foil to add moisture and allow the turkey to steam as well as roast.

Twist: For a fiery kick and Moroccan flavour, cover the turkey with harissa paste.

Stuffing: I definitely advocate cooking the stuffing in the bird. I use an apricot and sausage stuffing, with dried apricots, sausage meat, sliced almonds and flat-leaf parsley mixed with a couple of chopped and fried onions and some butter.

TOM AIKENS

Preparation: Remove the wishbone for ease of carving. I stuff the neck end of the turkey and the other end with fresh herbs like lemon, thyme, rosemary and parsley. I then smear in vegetable oil and season with course sea salt and pepper.

Cooking time: Give it a 15-minute blast on a high heat for colour and a further 30 minutes per kilo.

Temperature: Start at 200C for those initial 15 minutes and turn the oven down to 170C for the rest.

Top tip: Do not take the turkey straight from the fridge to the oven always let it reach room temperature first. …

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