Christmas turkey recipes

It just wouldn’t be Christmas dinner without a roast turkey – that’s what around 90% of Brits believe, anyway. But despite this, it’s surprisingly hard to find two people that agree on the perfect Christmas turkey recipe. To help make sense of all the conflicting advice that’s out there, here’s a few pointers and ideas to help you get your favourite meal exactly how you like it.

To stuff or not to stuff

You don’t have to stuff a turkey if you don’t want to. Most people like the flavour of stuffing though, which is why most recipes suggest it. The only drawback can be that it can dry out the bird, so meat-based stuffing’s like pork and sage can be a good solution as the fat keeps the meat moist. The stuffing can always be cooked separately too.

The perfect roasting time

There’s plenty of disagreement about this, but there should be no doubt that an overcooked bird isn’t at its best. As a general guideline, for a 3.6 kg turkey – enough to serve 4 to 6 people, it’ll take about 2 hrs 20 minutes at 190°C, or 170°C in a fan oven, 375 °F or Gas Mark 5. A 4.6 kg roast will be ready in 3 hours and 2 minutes, and for even larger birds, add an extra 20 minutes for every kilogram. If you’re using stuffing you’ll need to increase the total cooking time by 10 minutes for every 500g used too.

Which way up?

By roasting the turkey upside-down, the juices from the bottom of the bird will run through the breast of the bird as it cooks, keeping it moist and full of flavour. Alternatively, you can bard the breast by laying strips of bacon or pancetta across it. This gives a great flavour to the meat, but remember to removes the strips 30 minutes or so before the end to let the skin crisp up. Chop up the bacon and mix it with the sprouts or greens, or just eat it as a chef’s perk. You deserve it!

Everyone loves leftovers

Turkey sandwiches aren’t the only option on Boxing Day.

Bernard Matthews

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