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A guide to Christmas turkeys

A guide to Christmas turkeys

Choosing a turkey for Christmas is a fine art – no one wants to end up with something that’s too big to fit into the oven, or one that’s too small to feed the 12 people coming over for Christmas dinner!

Thankfully there’s still plenty of time to get it right, so we’ve put together this handy guide to making sure you get the right turkey for your table.

HOW TO CHOOSE A TURKEY

Whether you’re ordering your turkey online, heading to the butcher’s or opting for a supermarket bird, there are a number of things to take into account when you’re splashing the cash on your Christmas centrepiece.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand where your turkey has come from, and familiarise yourself with the welfare terminology. Daniel Nowland, Jamie’s in-house expert on all things food and farming related, has put together a great go-to guide that clearly spells out the differences between turkey farming categories. As a rule of thumb, organic and free-range birds are the best.

If you’re considering taking the stress out of the Christmas food shop and doing it all online, Paul Kelly’s multi award-winning Bronze traditional turkeys come highly recommended by Jamie’s food team. These gorgeous free-range birds are ridiculously flavoursome, succulent and moist, and they can be delivered to your door in time for Christmas. Good butchers will be able to point you in the right direction to make sure you buy the right sized bird for your dinner. But if you’re going solo and heading to the supermarket, use this rough guide and you’ll have plenty for the main event, along with a little extra for leftovers.

  • 3kg serves 6 to 7
  • 4kg serves 8 to 10
  • 5kg serves 10 to 12
  • 6kg serves 12 to 14
  • 7kg serves 14 to 16
  • 8kg serves 16 to 18
  • 9kg serves 18 to 20

When you’re picking your turkey, keep an eye out for those with a dry appearance, as they’re usually better than those with a wet sheen to the flesh. A dry bird will have been hung and dry-plucked, which tends to result in better quality meat and superb flavour. Bear in mind that a good turkey may not look perfect: one that’s free of blemishes probably hasn’t had an active life and will lack flavour.

If you’ve left it late and there are no fresh turkeys available, or you’re going away and you won’t have time to shop for one, a good free-range frozen turkey is nothing to be afraid of! Remember to carefully check the packet instructions for thawing times, though, as it’s really important to follow these properly.

HOW TO PREPARE A TURKEY

Take your turkey out of the fridge 30 minutes before you intend to put it in the oven. This way, your oven will have plenty of time to preheat, and you’ll get less shrinkage.

Remember, there’s no need to wash a turkey – any bacteria will be killed during cooking.

Before you pop it in the oven, check for giblets (the gizzard, heart, liver or other small organs). They’re usually supplied in an oven-safe plastic bag and are sometimes in the cavity of the bird, so remember to remove them before cooking. They might look a bit weird, but don’t throw them away – they’ll add great flavour to your gravy!

HOW TO COOK A TURKEY

Make a note of the weight of your turkey and the suggested cooking time if you buy your bird online or from a butcher. Supermarket turkeys should be clearly labelled to make this easy.

Calculate your cooking time using the weight as a guide, and don’t forget: your turkey will need to come out of the oven before carving to rest and get lovely and flavoursome. Turkeys between 4-6kg should be rested for 1½ hours, and ones from 6-10kg can rest for two hours.

Heat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.

  • 4-5kg – cook 2¼ to 2½ hours
  • 5-6kg – cook 2½ to 3 hours
  • 6-7kg – cook 3 hours to 3½ hours
  • 7-8kg – cook 3½ to 4 hours
  • 8-9kg – cook 4 to 4¼ hours
  • 9-10kg – cook 4¼ to 4½ hours

Roast the turkey for the required time, or until the juices run clear from the thickest part of the thigh if you pierce it with a knife or a skewer.

Using a thermometer, check the internal temperature of the turkey. A supermarket high-welfare bird should be cooker to at least 70ºC. If you have a dry-plucked, dry-aged, excellent quality bird, you can cook it to 65ºC.

Then leave to rest, carve, and enjoy the best Christmas turkey ever! For a real show-stopping bird, try out Jamie’s best ever roast turkey recipe.


Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 5½ hours

  • 1 7kg turkey
  • 3 carrots, halved lengthways
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half across the equator

For the lemon & sage butter:

  • 100g butter, softened
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

For the traditional stuffing:

  • 150g butter
  • 1 onion
  • 450g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • salt and pepper

For herb and sausage meat stuffing:

  • 450g sausage meat
  • 100g dried apricots, chopped
  • 100g dry cranberries
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • salt and pepper

Gordon Ramsay Turkey Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Anytime Occasion

Gordon Ramsay likes to keep in mind when he is cooking a turkey is to keep it moist at all times. Even though you might think that the turkey will lose some moisture during cooking, you will find that it will continue to cook and that it will not dry out at all.

Ingredients

1 Tbsp Crushed Black pepper

2 Onions Peeled and Halved

Lemon (Juiced) from Inside Cavity

Turkey Trimmings from wings, neck

Directions

  • In a bowl, mix the ingredients mentioned above for Butter Mixture under the skin. Add olive oil prevents the butter from burning.
  • Season inside of the turkey with salt and pepper. Put the halved onions inside the turkey it will give sweet flavor. Then add the lemon, bay leaves as well will add a bittersweet spicy flavor. Place the turkey upright as the inside is filled.
  • Gently lift the skin off the turkey body, starting from the breast’s back, gently loosen it with your fingers to create space to add the butter mixture. Try not tearing the skin because the butter will run out during the cooking. Undo the skin off the top of the thighs and then turn the turkey around. Undo the skin from the front of the turkey as well.
  • Take small amounts of the butter mixture formed into balls and put it under the turkey skin. Now gently pull back the skin and press down on the butter balls to spread it all around. Make Sure, the whole breast is covered with the butter mixture. This will keep the turkey breast moist. Use the left-over butter mixture over the top of the breast, legs, and thighs. This is best if done the night before, then covering the turkey with foil and putting it in the refrigerator.
  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • The next day, put the turkey in a roasting pan and drizzle olive oil on top make sure the turkey is at room temperature before placing it in 425 F oven for 10 mins to brown the turkey quickly.
  • After 10 mins, remove the turkey from the oven, then baste with the pan’s juices. Now put bacon on top of the turkey breast skin. This helps protect the turkey breast and prevents it from drying. After basted turkey again with juices from the pan.
  • Now turn the oven temp down to 350 F. Finish cooking the turkey for 2 1/2 hours longer, basting every 45 mins.
  • Test if the turkey is cooked by stick a knife in the thigh’s bottom and see if the juices run clear. Then cover the turkey and allow it to rest 45 mins. It might seem a long time for the turkey to rest but remember the turkey does not need to be steamy hot as you are serving the turkey with hot gravy. The longer the turkey has rested, the more flavor it develops.
  • Remove the excess fat from the roasting pan and place the pan back on the heat. Remove the bacon strips from the top of the breast and chop them to bits. Remove the onion from the cavity, peel the skin, and dice it.
  • Add the bacon and onion to the baking pan. Add rosemary sprigs and chopped tomatoes. Mix well. Then add the excess trimmings from the turkey. Then pour in the dry cider to bring a lovely apple flavor. As the cider reduces, pour the resting juices from the turkey.
  • When the liquid has reduced by half, mash the gravy pieces to extract the most juices out of it. Then add chicken stock and reduce again. Taste the gravy. Then sieve it. Use the back of a ladle to push it through the sieve. Pop in a sprig of rosemary and leave it to infuse.
  • Add walnuts to the bottom of the gravy boat and ladle in the gravy. Now it is ready to serve with the turkey.

Recipe Video

Notes

Related:

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Cooking for me has always been an "art" infused in traditions. My career inspired by Hell’s Kitchen, the West Side of Manhattan which boasts one of N.Y. City’s best independent restaurant communities along with Gordon Ramsay no-nonsense approach towards always being your best.

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Our best ever turkey recipes

1. Classic roast turkey

Celebrate Christmas the traditional way with this classic roast turkey recipe. To ensure it stays beautifully moist, the bird is part-cooked in a parcel of foil with a glass of red wine and streaky bacon draped over the breast to protect it. Nutmeg provides subtle spicing, and we’d suggest adding apricot sausage skewers and stuffing around the turkey 30 mins before the end of cooking for extra meaty flavour.

2. Turkey crown with roast garlic & pancetta

If you have a smaller crowd to feed or just don’t want to content with bones when carving up a whole bird, then a turkey crown is the perfect alternative. This Italian-style recipe is wrapped in crisp pancetta slices, which locks in moisture, and is stuffed with a fragrant lemon and garlic ciabatta mixture. We’ve ramped up the flavour even further with a sweet, boozy kick from marsala in the gravy. No wonder it’s one of our most popular roast turkey recipes!

Check out more delicious turkey crown recipes.

3. Roast turkey with lemon & garlic

Want to try something a little different this year? We’ve given traditional roast turkey a subtle twist with the help of some simple storecupboard ingredients. Lemons, onions and garlic are used as a fragrant stuffing, while a zingy butter under the skin provides moisture. If you have time, season the meat up to three days before with a thyme, pepper and salt brine to keep it more succulent. You can also achieve a satisfyingly crispy skin by leaving the turkey uncovered so the outer layer dries out.

4. Roast turkey breast wrapped in bacon

Tired of classic whole roast turkey? Try mixing it up with this mouthwatering retro roll, which delivers all the essentials in one juicy bite. Simply wrap turkey breast, sausagemeat, sage and cranberry sauce in strips of streaky bacon for a punchy parcel which is sure to impress your Christmas crowd.

Get more brilliant turkey breast recipes and tips on how to cook turkey breast.

5. Brown sugar & spice-glazed turkey with candied carrots

‘Sugar, spice and all things nice’ could be just what your turkey is made of this Christmas. For maximum flavour and succulence, rub the turkey with our aromatic spice mix as far ahead as possible to ensure the flavours penetrate throughout the meat. Finish the bird with a maple syrup glaze and serve with candied carrots and fresh herbs.

6. Brined roast turkey crown & confit legs

Get the best flavour from your turkey crown with minimum effort by using a dry-brining technique to tenderise the meat. Also, cooking the legs and wings separately means that you don’t overcook the breast. Our recipe uses a flavoursome brine mixture of salt, herbs, citrus peel, sugar and peppercorns, which should coat the legs and wings up to four days before the big day, and the breast on Christmas Eve. With such a sumptuously succulent result and leg meat that literally falls off the bone, this is sure to become a festive favourite.

Find out more about this method in our guide on how to brine a turkey.

7. Cider roast turkey

Calling all cider lovers! It may be Christmas Day but you needn’t part with your favourite fizzy beverage. Roasting the turkey and veg in gorgeous cider juices will allow the fruity flavour to permeate the meat, and for good measure, we’ve included a rich, boozy gravy to serve.

These irresistibly sticky glazed apples, pears & shallots provide the perfect side for your cider-roasted turkey. Glaze the fruit with quince or redcurrant jelly before and after roasting, then serve these sweet golden beauties around the bird for the ultimate festive centrepiece.

8. Wild mushroom, port & thyme turkey wellington

Try something different and impress your guests with this showstopping – yet stress-free – turkey wellington. Rather than flapping with carving up a whole bird before your dinner, this recipe can be prepped a few days in advance, then all you have to do on the day is bake it in the oven and carve into thick slices. Stuffed with a mouthwatering mixture of herby porcini and chestnut mushrooms, and encased in buttery puff pastry, it may turn out to be everyone’s favourite wrapped gift this Christmas!

Pining for more pastry? We’ve got plenty of wellington recipes.

9. Turkey crown kiev

Chicken kievs are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, so why not recreate this classic family favourite in your Christmas dinner? This turkey crown comes smothered in an irresistibly buttery baste of garlic and parsley flavours and is finished in a characteristic crunchy breadcrumb coating.

10. Perfect pancetta & roast shallot-stuffed turkey

Last but certainly not least, it’s a showstopping turkey to tantalise your guests’ tastebuds. Rather than wrapping the bird in pancetta, we’ve pushed this under the skin, which helps to seal in the moisture. Pull out all the flavour stops with a zingy citrus baste, plus a lemon, thyme and shallot stuffing, which will all meld beautifully with the juices whilst cooking. Prepare a luxuriously rich madeira gravy to accompany the roast and let your culinary creation take pride of place at the table.

Want more recipe ideas? Take a look at our turkey collection.


How to cook a Christmas Turkey - Roasting times, recipes and tips for Christmas dinner

Most people only cook turkey once a year so would be forgiven for making a mess of it .

It shouldn&apost be a nightmare though and we promise it won&apost be with this fool-proof guide to getting a tasty juicy and satisfying Christmas turkey.

And as food is so important we asked the experts at Waitrose for their tips on on turkey cooking times and all things related to the iconic Christmas dinner staple.

Tie up your apron and take notes for your Christmas dinner preparation from our handy guide. If you need more inspiration for your Christmas dinner menu, we have recipes for cocktails, Christmas desserts and how to get perfect roast trimmings.

Why do we eat turkey at Christmas?

Eating turkey at Christmas is a tradition going back to medieval times. Large fowl was the centre piece in the houses of the rich Geese, duck, partridge but to name a few. Turkeys were introduced in the Tudor times and because of the plentiful meat on them, they soon grew in popularity. In post war Britain, modern farming methods facilitated more turkeys to be reared and the traditional turkey is still the most popular meat to eat over the festive period.

Read More
Related Articles

How do I pick a Christmas turkey?

There&aposs lots to choose from but start with how many people you are going to feed. Whole birds are the best value and the leftovers of the turkey are great for cooking stock. Crowns and breast on the bone crowns are easier to carve as the leg bones have been removed. For the ultimate convenience, the joints are easy to carve and come in a foil tray to cook the joint in, there’s also no waste. For those who need a gluten free stuffed turkey, we have our gluten free stuffed turkey parcel with a pork gingerbread and apricot stuffing.

Read More
Related Articles

Read More
Related Articles

What are the benefits of fresh over frozen turkeys?

Fresh turkeys are ready to cook, whereas with a frozen turkey, you have to ensure you’ve allowed time for it to defrost. At Waitrose we enable our customers to order their fresh turkeys and pick it up when it is convenient for them.

Read More
Related Articles

Why do some turkeys cost more than others?

The cost of the bird depends on the breed of the turkey, how long it is grown for and whether it is free range or grown indoors. All of these factors will affect the cost.

Read More
Related Articles

How to cook a turkey?

First make sure that you check your oven. All ovens runs at different temperatures and not necessarily the one that it says on the dial. All cooking instructions are checked in ovens that have been calibrated and so to get the best from your turkey, this is a must.

Take your turkey, put butter under the skin and season the skin. Cover with foil which you tuck under the turkey not over the tin.

Read More
Related Articles

Preheat the oven to 140C and then cook in the oven for 23 minutes per kg plus 2hr and 40 mins - long and slow. This allows the turkey to cook gently ensuring a moist turkey as the end result.

Half an hour before the end of the cook, remove the foil and return to the oven to crisp the skin. Remember to check that the turkey is cooked by piercing the turkey to check that the juices run clear.

Leave to rest for at least half an hour. If you wrap in foil, the turkey will stay warm for an hour. When you take your turkey out of the oven it will continue to cook.

Christmas Dinner 2018

What are the best turkey cooking times?

At Waitrose, our turkey crowns - which are the breast in the bone without the legs and wings- come in a cooking bag which helps to cook the crown more quickly.

Preheat the oven to 140C and cook for 29 mins per kg plus 1hr 17 mins.

If you want a crisp skin, take the cooking bag off 30 mins before the end of the cook.

For more information check our article on how long you need to cook a turkey .

Turkey recipe from Jonathan Moore, Waitrose Executive Chef

Butter-Roasted Turkey

A good size of turkey for the average family is 6.4kg oven-ready. This will easily feed 8 people with plenty left over for Boxing Day. Waitrose Bronze Feathered Free Range Turkey is an excellent choice. As there are so many accompaniments to the traditional lunch it is best to keep the turkey fairly simple.

Ingredients

6.4kg Waitrose Bronze Feathered Free Range Turkey

Freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC, gas mark 4. Remove the giblets from the turkey. Calculate the cooking time allowing 45 minutes per kg plus 20 minutes.

Spread the butter over the turkey making sure that the thighs are particularly well covered. Place the bird breast-side down in a large roasting tin then season the turkey well with salt and pepper.

Cover the turkey loosely with a large tent of turkey foil leaving plenty of space between the flesh and the foil. Secure the foil around the edges of the roasting tin.

Cook the turkey for the calculated cooking time but remove the foil for the last 45 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C, gas mark 6 when you remove the foil and turn the turkey breast-side up. Baste frequently with the juices during this last period of cooking.

Insert a skewer into the thickest part of the turkey thigh. If the turkey is cooked through the juices should run clear. If not cook the turkey for longer. Always check the turkey is cooked using this method - don&apost guess! Tip the turkey to let the juices run into the tin then place it onto a warmed carving plate. Cover the turkey loosely with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes. This allows the turkey juices to rise to the surface, making the turkey more succulent to eat and easier to carve.

Read More
Related Articles

Cook&aposs tips

If you don&apost want a whole turkey, or your family prefer white meat, choose a Waitrose Turkey Breast Crown. They are quicker to cook and very simple to carve with no waste.


How to Cook a Juicy Turkey

Trick number 1. ACCURATE THERMOMETER

It&rsquos impossible to tell whether you turkey is cooked all the way through without a thermometer. Because of the fear of serving a raw turkey and making your guests sick, people usually overcook it, which results in a very dry turkey.

You need to cook your bird until the internal temperature of this thickest part of it registers 165F or 75C.

Trick number 2. SMALL TURKEY.

What I mean by a small turkey is the one that weighs no more than 10lbs. With an array of side dishes on your holiday table, there is rarely a gathering, which requires more meat.

Just think back of your past Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners and try to remember how many leftovers you ended up with. (By the way, I have a few recipes for them as well. My Leftover Turkey Soup is a huge winner. I believe you will also love my Hearty Turkey Stew. )

I know what you are thinking right now&hellipYou are thinking, you have a large family and you NEED a huge turkey to feed them all. No, you don&rsquot.

Buy two 10 lbs turkeys if you must but don&rsquot buy a 25 lbs beast. It will never, ever be juicy. End of story.

Trick number 3. LOADS AND LOADS OF AROMATIC HERBS AND TENDER LOVING CARE.

Turkey loves herbs and you cannot go wrong with loading your bird up with a mix of thyme, sage, rosemary, parsley, garlic and lemon.


Keen to buy your free-range turkey or goose direct from a farmer but not sure if there's one near you? Try Big Barn, which allows you to search a map of the UK for your nearest option, and in many cases place your order straight away online. bigbarn.co.uk/turkey

A lighter red or a richer white are the best matches for the turkey-based Christmas dinner. They're wines with enough substance to handle the competing trimmings (and plenty of acidity to cut through the fat and carbs) but without too much tannin to swamp the white meat.

Stéphanie Colinot's luminous-red Irancy Vieilles Vignes, France 2010 (from £18.90, Beaconsfield Wine Cellars, Bottle Apostle, Hoults Wine Merchants, Polygon Wines and the Secret Cellar) from northern Burgundy cleanses like cranberry sauce while The Millton Vineyards Riverpoint Viognier, Gisbourne, New Zealand 2011 (£12.99, Vintage Roots) is a lush, exotically scented white treat.


Roast turkey, sweet potato stuffing

I cook my turkey for far less time than most. The trick is in the resting. You can time it as I suggest below, or you can use a meat thermometer. The latter is the most accurate method to determine the readiness of your bird. Insert the point of the thermometer at the thickest part of the leg – when the temperature reads 65C, the bird is ready to be removed and rested. (The temperature applies to a higher-welfare, traditional breed.) Resting results in juicier meat and should be for a minimum of 35 minutes

For the stuffing
sweet potatoes 1kg
light open bread, such as ciabatta 200g
pancetta, in the piece 250g
olive oil 2 tbsp
banana shallots 350g
sausage meat 500g
thyme leaves 2 tbsp
sage leaves 6

For the turkey
turkey 4.5kg
goose fat 6 tbsp

Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Peel the sweet potatoes, cut them into large pieces, then steam, in a steamer basket or a colander over boiling water, until very soft and crushable – 25 minutes or so. Tear the bread into postage-stamp-size pieces, scatter over a baking sheet and bake until dry and pale gold.

Cut the pancetta into 2cm cubes. Warm the oil in a frying pan, add the cubes of pancetta, and fry until fragrant and the fat has turned golden. Peel and finely chop the shallots. Remove the pancetta as soon as it is ready, then add the shallots to the pan. Break the sausage meat up, stir briefly into the ingredients in the pan, then set aside.

Mash the sweet potatoes roughly with a fork, then add the dried bread and the pancetta, the shallots, the thyme leaves and the sage, finely shredded. Season, mix thoroughly, then shape half the mixture into 16 balls, each slightly bigger than a golf ball. Stuff the remaining half of the mixture into the turkey, pushing it deep inside the body of the bird.

Place the turkey in a roasting tin, baste it generously with the goose fat and roast for 25 minutes. Lower the heat to 180C/gas mark 4 and continue roasting for a further 2 hours. Baste the breast of the turkey twice with the cooking juices from the roasting tin during this time. (Be quick, so the oven doesn’t lose any heat.)

Halfway through roasting, when the bird has been cooking for about 75 minutes, turn it over and place the remaining balls of stuffing around the sides. Alternatively, and this is what I often do, bake them in a little goose fat in a separate baking tin.

Remove the turkey from the oven and let it rest for 35-45 minutes. Don’t skip this, no matter how everyone pleads for their dinner. I cannot emphasise this enough.


How to cook a Christmas Turkey - Roasting times, recipes and tips for Christmas dinner

Most people only cook turkey once a year so would be forgiven for making a mess of it .

It shouldn&apost be a nightmare though and we promise it won&apost be with this fool-proof guide to getting a tasty juicy and satisfying Christmas turkey.

And as food is so important we asked the experts at Waitrose for their tips on on turkey cooking times and all things related to the iconic Christmas dinner staple.

Tie up your apron and take notes for your Christmas dinner preparation from our handy guide. If you need more inspiration for your Christmas dinner menu, we have recipes for cocktails, Christmas desserts and how to get perfect roast trimmings.

Why do we eat turkey at Christmas?

Eating turkey at Christmas is a tradition going back to medieval times. Large fowl was the centre piece in the houses of the rich Geese, duck, partridge but to name a few. Turkeys were introduced in the Tudor times and because of the plentiful meat on them, they soon grew in popularity. In post war Britain, modern farming methods facilitated more turkeys to be reared and the traditional turkey is still the most popular meat to eat over the festive period.

Read More
Related Articles

How do I pick a Christmas turkey?

There&aposs lots to choose from but start with how many people you are going to feed. Whole birds are the best value and the leftovers of the turkey are great for cooking stock. Crowns and breast on the bone crowns are easier to carve as the leg bones have been removed. For the ultimate convenience, the joints are easy to carve and come in a foil tray to cook the joint in, there’s also no waste. For those who need a gluten free stuffed turkey, we have our gluten free stuffed turkey parcel with a pork gingerbread and apricot stuffing.

Read More
Related Articles

Read More
Related Articles

What are the benefits of fresh over frozen turkeys?

Fresh turkeys are ready to cook, whereas with a frozen turkey, you have to ensure you’ve allowed time for it to defrost. At Waitrose we enable our customers to order their fresh turkeys and pick it up when it is convenient for them.

Read More
Related Articles

Why do some turkeys cost more than others?

The cost of the bird depends on the breed of the turkey, how long it is grown for and whether it is free range or grown indoors. All of these factors will affect the cost.

Read More
Related Articles

How to cook a turkey?

First make sure that you check your oven. All ovens runs at different temperatures and not necessarily the one that it says on the dial. All cooking instructions are checked in ovens that have been calibrated and so to get the best from your turkey, this is a must.

Take your turkey, put butter under the skin and season the skin. Cover with foil which you tuck under the turkey not over the tin.

Read More
Related Articles

Preheat the oven to 140C and then cook in the oven for 23 minutes per kg plus 2hr and 40 mins - long and slow. This allows the turkey to cook gently ensuring a moist turkey as the end result.

Half an hour before the end of the cook, remove the foil and return to the oven to crisp the skin. Remember to check that the turkey is cooked by piercing the turkey to check that the juices run clear.

Leave to rest for at least half an hour. If you wrap in foil, the turkey will stay warm for an hour. When you take your turkey out of the oven it will continue to cook.

Christmas Dinner 2018

What are the best turkey cooking times?

At Waitrose, our turkey crowns - which are the breast in the bone without the legs and wings- come in a cooking bag which helps to cook the crown more quickly.

Preheat the oven to 140C and cook for 29 mins per kg plus 1hr 17 mins.

If you want a crisp skin, take the cooking bag off 30 mins before the end of the cook.

For more information check our article on how long you need to cook a turkey .

Turkey recipe from Jonathan Moore, Waitrose Executive Chef

Butter-Roasted Turkey

A good size of turkey for the average family is 6.4kg oven-ready. This will easily feed 8 people with plenty left over for Boxing Day. Waitrose Bronze Feathered Free Range Turkey is an excellent choice. As there are so many accompaniments to the traditional lunch it is best to keep the turkey fairly simple.

Ingredients

6.4kg Waitrose Bronze Feathered Free Range Turkey

Freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 180ºC, gas mark 4. Remove the giblets from the turkey. Calculate the cooking time allowing 45 minutes per kg plus 20 minutes.

Spread the butter over the turkey making sure that the thighs are particularly well covered. Place the bird breast-side down in a large roasting tin then season the turkey well with salt and pepper.

Cover the turkey loosely with a large tent of turkey foil leaving plenty of space between the flesh and the foil. Secure the foil around the edges of the roasting tin.

Cook the turkey for the calculated cooking time but remove the foil for the last 45 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C, gas mark 6 when you remove the foil and turn the turkey breast-side up. Baste frequently with the juices during this last period of cooking.

Insert a skewer into the thickest part of the turkey thigh. If the turkey is cooked through the juices should run clear. If not cook the turkey for longer. Always check the turkey is cooked using this method - don&apost guess! Tip the turkey to let the juices run into the tin then place it onto a warmed carving plate. Cover the turkey loosely with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes. This allows the turkey juices to rise to the surface, making the turkey more succulent to eat and easier to carve.

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Cook&aposs tips

If you don&apost want a whole turkey, or your family prefer white meat, choose a Waitrose Turkey Breast Crown. They are quicker to cook and very simple to carve with no waste.


Greaseproof paper and foil

If you’re not using muslin to wrap your turkey, you may need greaseproof paper. Once you are happy with the colour of your turkey, up to 30 minutes before the end of the cooking time, take a large sheet of greaseproof paper and run it under the tap. Squeeze out the excess water, then unscrunch it and put it over the bird for the remaining cooking time. (Foil also works, and doesn’t need wetting.)

Turkey legs and breasts cook at different speeds, with legs requiring a shorter cooking time at a higher temperature. If you roast them together, you can risk the legs being a little chewy or the breast being overcooked and dry. A good compromise temperature is 180C/Gas 4 – neither legs nor breast will suffer overly, and you can turn the bird at various degrees to attract more heat to the legs, or cover the breast with foil or rashers of bacon to prevent it from burning. Alternatively, remove the legs before cooking and roast them separately.