The centrepiece on the Christmas – and indeed Thanksgiving – table is, for so many of us, a turkey.
This Christmas, I wanted to share my top tips for the perfect turkey. It’s been delicious work re-testing my recipe, to make sure it works faultlessly for you on the big day.
Good food starts with good shopping. The turkey you buy really matters. My view is that I’d rather eat meat less frequently and make it really amazing when I do. And if there’s ever a time to buy something good, it’s surely this time of year.
Having conducted independent, extensive taste testing, I’m firmly of the conclusion that the most delicious turkey I have tried is from Copas. Based on their family farm near Cookham, Copas rear and sell their turkeys through their website with home delivery and selected retailers.
The flavour and texture of the meat is unparalleled; juicy, tender breast and richly flavoured, succulent leg meat, and wonderfully thick, dry skin, that turns fantastically crisp and golden once roasted.
Copas turkeys have been carefully reared, hung and slaughtered to ensure the birds enjoy the best life and produce the most delicious centrepiece for a celebration.
What to buy?
I recommend buying what you need for the number of people you need to serve. Don’t feel the need to go overboard, because it’s Christmas. I like to have leftover turkey, and use it in delicious pies, curry and just cold with salads, cheeses and chutneys over the festive week. I therefore budget to have some leftover meat when making my calculations. Cooked turkey freezes very well, so you can ensure every scrap is used and enjoyed.
If you like a mix of white and brown meat, then a whole bird is probably for you. If no-one in your house eats brown meat, you may be best off buying a turkey crown. The crown joint is quicker to cook than a whole bird. For an even quicker option, I occasionally will joint the whole turkey, open up the breast and debone the legs and stuff both, tying them up with string and roasting them for around an hour, creating a quick-cook, easy-carve option. This, however, is probably best attempted by the advanced cook. I’d suggest a crown for a novice cook.
Cooking, resting and carving
My recipe for roast turkey is below. You need to ensure you know the weight of the turkey to calculate the cooking time, and most birds will come labelled with their weight. Whole birds will take longer to cook.
What makes all the difference is resting meat once it has been roasted. I recommend a minimum of 20 minutes, but a large turkey will happily sit for up to an hour, becoming juicier and more tender as it rests. Don’t worry about it getting cold – this will only happen once it is cut.
To carve, I strongly recommend doing this in the kitchen or sideboard. There is no way I’d take a whole turkey to the table to carve. Make sure your carving knife is really sharp. I like to remove the legs and wings from a whole bird, before slicing the breast. Slice the breast as thinly or thinly as you like. My preference is for reasonably thin slices.
This Christmas, I’ll be online on Twitter to help with your Christmas cooking queries. So, please do follow me @charlotte_pike_ and get in touch if you need to.
[yumprint-recipe id=’52’][yumprint-recipe id=’51’]This is not a sponsored post.