Work out what size bird you will need based on the number of people you are having for dinner. For example, a 3-4kg bird will feed between four to six people.
Preparing some of your foods the day before easing the pressure of cooking a turkey on Christmas Day.
‘Making the desserts, soups, and vegetables the day before will make a huge difference to your chances of getting through the day without being stressed out,’ said Adrian.
Treat it like any other Sunday dinner:
‘Just relax ..treat it just like any other Sunday dinner where you take the turkey out of the oven every hour to baste it using the juices from the tray’.
Adrian advises to make sure the turkey is cooked to perfection cut into the leg and check if the juices are nice and clear. The meat should NOT be pink but should be white and piping hot.
Ideally, if you have a thermometer you can check the temperature in the meat is 75C.
And then when you take it out let it rest still wrapped in tin foil for about an hour and a half which gives you ample time to get your vegetables ready.
Cook From room temperature:
If you put a cold turkey in a hot oven you will shock the meat which will immediately toughen it up and dry it out.
You need to leave the turkey to defrost properly…you should allow 24 hours for every 2kg to 2.5kg which means it could take three days to defrost a 7.5kg turkey!
There should never be any icicles on the meat.
Mix things up:
‘Try new things with your turkey to keep things interesting,’ said Adrian.
‘For example this year I plan to use a bit of smoked garlic butter over my turkey. You can also use something Christmassy like a clementine placed into the cavity or add herbs, rosemary, and thyme.
‘Another thing you can do is place the turkey on a base of vegetables like carrots, celery, and onion. You mash them together and mix in some white wine and flour.
‘You spoon off the fat and add some water if it dries up but when you pass it through a sieve you have the perfect gravy.’
Things NOT to do when cooking a turkey
If you have been handed the onerous responsibility of cooking the turkey for the Christmas dinner but you have no clue what can go wrong, fear not.
We have spoken to TV chef Adrian Martin to find out what are the major pitfalls that typically catch novice cooks out.
Adrian said you would not believe the seemingly blindingly obvious mistakes frantic cooks can easily make, and also served up some really useful advice.
Here is what he said you need to watch out for if you don’t want to be dishing out the turkey to the dog.
DON’T wash the turkey:
‘People think they need to wash their turkey but all they are doing is spreading germs and bacteria everywhere,’ explained Adrian.
You can rub butter over the bird and under the skin to help flavor the turkey and the skin and season it with salt and pepper.
Just be sure that before and after you handle your turkey, you wash your hands with warm soapy water and dry with a clean towel.
Cooking straight from the fridge is a major NO-NO:
You need to cook your turkey at room temperature otherwise you will shock the meat, making it tough and dry.
Plus it should be noted raw poultry and meat can contain germs like Salmonella and Campylobacter, so it’s important to cook these foods thoroughly. Preheat your oven to 180°.
Make sure your oven is big enough for your turkey:
‘It might seem obvious but a lot of people buy a turkey that is too big for their oven,’ said Adrian.
‘So make sure you can fit your turkey in your oven before buying it. Another thing you see happen is people cook the turkey upside down and don’t turn it over so it doesn’t cook properly’.
Cover your turkey in tinfoil:
Keeping your turkey in tinfoil holds in the air and retains all the juices.
If you don’t have tin foil the skin darkens and can blacken before the inside meat is cooked.
You should only take the tin foil off in the last half hour to brown the turkey.
Always allow the turkey to rest before you serve. Do this by covering with tin foil and then with a couple of tea towels.
This will ensure the bird can rest without losing too much heat and it also allows all the juice back into the bird for a moist turkey.
Use the juices to base the turkey:
On the hour open up the tinfoil and use the juices to baste the turkey every hour.
And when you want to make sure it is cooked stick a knife into the leg, which takes the longest to cook, to see if the juices are clear.
Make sure to check out our great recipes that are easy to make and to try at home. Be the hit of the party or crawl into a man's heart with these recipes: Starter & Appetizers Recipes, Meat Recipes, Chicken Recipes, Seafood & Fish Recipes, Pizza Recipes, Pasta & Lasagna Recipes, Vegan & Vegetarian Recipes, Dessert Recipes, and other General Recipes.