Galton Blackiston's guide to cooking a succulent turkey

You may have seen this Michelin-starred chef on TV; he's also won great acclaim through his cookery books. Here's his expert guide to cooking the perfect turkey.

Galton Blackiston's guide to cooking a succulent turkey

Choosing a turkey
When choosing a turkey, allow about 500g of meat on the bone for each person. This will give you enough for the meal with some left over. So a 4kg turkey will feed about 6-8 people; a 5kg bird will feed about 10 people and so on.

Check your equipment
Don’t forget to make sure you have the right size roasting tray for your bird and that it will fit in the oven.

Defrosting a frozen bird
If you do opt for a frozen bird, defrost at a cool room temperature. It will take about 2 hours for every 450g.

Preparing the bird
To make carving easier, remove the wishbone before stuffing and cooking. This is located at the neck cavity end of the bird. Using a small, sharp knife cut through the flesh around the wishbone just deep enough to free it.

Stuff the turkey at the neck end of the bird, not the cavity. Secure the flap of skin underneath with a skewer. Stuff with woody herbs such as thyme and rosemary, halved oranges or onions for added flavour.

Now you are ready to truss the bird to give a neat shape prior to cooking. Trussing forces the legs close up against the body of the bird, which stops them drying out. Take a long piece of string ­and slide under the turkey to lie between the wings and the legs. Run both ends along the gap between the legs and the body and under the end of each drumstick. Bring the ends of the string to the outside of the bird and over the top of the drumstick ends, and tie up closely.

Cooking the bird
Now weigh your turkey and calculate the cooking time. For small birds and crown roasts (4kg and under) allow 20 minutes per kg, plus 70 minutes. For birds over 4kg, 20 minutes per kg, plus 90 minutes. Cover the turkey and tin loosely with foil. Remove for the last 30 minutes of cooking to brown the skin. Pierce the thickest part of the leg to check it is cooked. If there are any traces of pink in the juices, cook for another 15 minutes and test again.

To guarantee your turkey is moist and juicy, rest covered tightly with foil for 30 minutes.

To carve the turkey, hold the bird in place on a board with a carving fork. Cut between the leg and breast on each side, bending the leg outwards then cut through the joint to free it. Cut each leg in half through the joint, then slice the meat from the drumstick and thigh bones. Starting at the neck end carve the breast meat away, slightly on an angle, into neat slices.

Looking for a local supplier of free-range turkeys?

Click here to visit Big Barn's site – just type in your postcode.


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