An ‘easy does it’ celebration: turkey

Are you a turkey and stuffing kind of family? Perhaps you prefer a juicy roast beef, or need something special for veggie guests this year? Whatever your tradition, we have some tasty suggestions – with a choice of sides and wines to match – to make the main event a big success.

In this first blog, we’ll cover the turkey…

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The carving ritual, the crunch of the crisp, golden skin and the steaming, succulent meat – for lots of us, it just isn’t Christmas unless there’s a bird on the table.

For best results

As a guide, cook turkeys under 4kg for 35 mins per kg and 40 mins per kg for turkeys over 4kg. Allow 20 mins extra per 500g of stuffing – and only stuff the neck.

And other birds

Tip-top prep tips – How to cook your turkey to perfection every time

Use a butter rub – This will give a crispy skin and add flavour to the meat. Ease the skin from the flesh using a tablespoon, working your way up from the cavity. Mix 150g butter with salt, pepper and chopped thyme and rosemary. Push half under the skin, massaging to spread it out, and rub the other half over the top. Leiths Cooking School goes further in suggesting you roast your turkey draped in a butter-soaked cook’s muslin.

Go smaller – If you’re catering for a particularly large group, opt for two smaller turkeys rather than getting an even bigger one. They will cook more quickly and evenly, giving better results. More guests doesn’t always mean longer in the kitchen!

Get brining – Plan ahead and submerge your bird for 8 hrs in water with 4tbsp sugar and 4tbsp salt. Rinse and pat dry before cooking for super-juicy meat.

Tie the legs loosely – The tighter you bind them, the longer they’ll take to cook, meaning the rest of the meat could dry out. If you don’t mind not presenting the full bird at the table, remove the legs and cook the crown on its own. This will dramatically reduce the cooking time and help keep the moisture.

Let it rest – Leave your turkey to rest for at least 20 mins after removing it from the oven, loosely covered in foil, to seal the juices in.

Wine matching – great with turkey

Go for middle-weight wines with depth to match the richness of your meal:

1. Mystery Hill Padthaway Chardonnay 75cl £9.99
2. Bioletti’s Block Merlot 75cl £11.99
3. Beronia Tempranillo Rioja Especial 2011 75cl £11.99

From Ocadolife – read the magazine online here

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