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Allysons Perfect Roast Turkey Guide

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Allysons Perfect Roast Turkey Guide

Here's all the information you'll ever need for making sure your roast turkey is an outstanding success.



  1. Purchasing If you are buying your turkey fresh take it straight home and keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Do not buy the turkey more than two days in advance if fresh as they are best kept in the butchers fridges where the temperature is controlled.
  2. Defrosting Frozen Turkey Do not under estimate the amount of time it takes to defrost your turkey and under no circumstances try to cheat and speed it up by microwaving or placing in warm water. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of food poisoning in the western world and much is due to poor food handling in the home over the hot summer months. Each turkey will have instructions on the pack for defrosting times. Allow 2 days in the coldest part of your fridge. For large turkeys it may take longer. There should be no ice crystals in the cavity of the bird before you prepare and stuff him. Never stuff the turkey and either freeze or place into the Fridge as this will be a great breeding ground for bugs. Stuff the turkey just before you cook him.
  3. Preparation Prepare your stuffing and forcemeat (if using) a day in advance and keep it refrigerated. Wash the bird well and wipe clean and dry with paper towel. Pack the prepared stuffing firmly into the cavity. If you plan to stuff the crop (neck) end of the bird you will need to use a forcemeat or sausage meat stuffing (see below). Pack the forcemeat loosely under the skin as it will expand during cooking and bring the skin under the bird. Twist the wings under the turkey to hold down the crop end. Tie the turkey legs together or place them together under the skin fold that is often in tact. If wished truss the bird with string . I try to keep it all simple and I secure the stuffing end with bacon or a piece of apple and place a skewer through the legs just the leg and thigh joint to hold the legs firmly in place. Brush the bird with melted butter and if wished place rashers of streaky bacon on top of the breast part of the turkey to keep the breast moist. Remove these in the last half hour of cooking to brown and crispen the breast skin.
  4. Weigh the bird and calculate the cooking time. For every 500 grams allow 30 minutes at 180ºC. Allow the bird to stand for 15 minutes before carving. In this time you can prepare the gravy. If you do not have scales then check the size on the packet and allow an extra 30 minutes for the stuffing weight. All frozen turkeys will have cooking times on the back of their packets and many have a timer which will take all the guess work out and will pop up when ready. However to make sure it's not cooked to far in advance before you eat - or that it's ready on time check out in advance the cooking time. Cook the turkey in an oven dish. I cook my turkey on a rack above the dish and pour in about 1 cup water into the dish below. This assists with making juice for the gravy and ensures that the juices do not burn, as well as creating steam to keep the bird moist. Roast in the lower section of the oven to avoid the turkey breast being too high. Once cooking time is up rest for 15 minutes while make the gravy.
  5. Gravy Take the bird from the pan and pour off the juices. Skim off the fat and return 3 tblsp of fat to the pan and place over a low heat, ( or use butter ). Make up the juices to 1½ cups with chicken or turkey stock. Add 2 tblsp flour to the pan and stir for 1 -2 minutes until frothy. Gradually stir in the reserved juices and stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to lift any sediment off the bottom into the gravy. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 1½ cups
  6. Forcemeat This is the stuffing that is placed at the crop end of turkey. For easiness buy very flavoursome savoury sausages and squeeze out the meat and use. Alternatively roll into balls and pan fry and serve alongside the turkey.
  7. Stuffing Stuffings can add great flavour and variation to your roast turkey. Brushing the turkey with a glaze during cooking will add new flavour for the gravy as well as a beautiful colour for presentation. Stuff the turkey just before cooking. If you do not want to make a stuffing then place a whole apple on the inside to help the bird keep shape. You will need around 3-4 cups stuffing for a 2.5 - 4.5 kg bird. Above that allow 5-6 cups stuffing. Any left over stuffing can be used to fill the crop end in place of sausagemeat.
  8. Servings 2.5kg - 3.5kg serves 6-10 3.5kg - 5kg serves 10-15 5kg - 7kg serves 15-20
  9. Roasting Bag Check the back of the turkey bag for roasting times in a roasting bag. Normally it is about 5 minutes less per 500 grams. I prefer to cover with bacon and you get a much nicer golden colour. If you cook in a bag, remember to remove it about 30 minutes before the end of cooking time to allow the turkey to brown and keep all the juices for the gravy.

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