Tips for those Christmas turkeys – get thawing now

So, who worries most about getting things wrong with the Christmas turkey? 

The answer is: Londoners, according to researchers. They say only in Scotland and Northern Ireland do they fret more ahead of the big day. 

We will take their word for it. Whether you worry or not about how to get it right, there are some golden rules to observe to ensure there are no mishaps.

Here are some tips from the company Ice Headshop and Rachael Kiss, marketing and online manager at the catering company Alliance Online.  

Think ahead and defrost thoroughly 

Meat can’t reach a safe temperature for consumption while frozen and although the meat may look cooked from the outside, the inside will remain raw if it goes into the oven fully or partly frozen.

If you are cooking a whole turkey, our advice is that you’ll need to take it out of the freezer two days prior to cooking, so it can fully defrost in the fridge. In fact, turkey should be at room temperature when going into the oven to cook evenly. 

Don’t overstuff the turkey 

Whilst filling your turkey with an array of herbs and stuffing may be tempting, this can actually affect the cooking of the bird. If the turkey is overstuffed, it can stop the heat getting right through the meat meaning that the centre may be undercooked. 

Avoid the unwanted gift of food poisoning by opting for less stuffing and try lightly seasoning the bird with salt, pepper, sage and thyme. Of course, check that the meat is thoroughly cooked through before serving, we recommend using a meat thermometer to be extra safe and looking for a temperature of at least 75°C in the thickest part of the turkey, between the breast and thigh. 

Avoid a dry turkey with a flavoured butter 

Turkey is a lean meat, which means that it can become dry quite quickly if cooked incorrectly. But don’t stress, there are a couple of ways you can lock in the moisture and serve up a succulent bird.  

Whip up a flavoured butter that you can put on top of and between the skin and meat before cooking- garlic and lemon work well, not forgetting your seasoning. This will keep the meat juicy, while also adding another flavour.

“Be careful not to tear the skin during this step as the butter will escape. Another tip is to add a drizzle of olive oil over the bird, as oil has a higher smoke point it will help keep the butter from burning in the oven.” 

Picture: Wikimedia Commons/D. Gordon E. Robertson)

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