Perfect Roast Turkey!

This entry is filed under Christmas Recipes.

Crispy skin and moist meat. Perfect!

Crispy skin and moist meat. Perfect!

If you want a nice moist bird this Christmas and not a dried up nasty one, make sure you read my top ten turkey tips  PLUS to make sure the day runs smoothly, take another look at the Christmas Countdown!


Christmas Eve: Rinse the bird inside and out with cold water. Thoroughly pat dry with a kitchen towel. Season the cavity with salt then leave the bird somewhere cool overnight.

Christmas Morning: Fill the main cavity with a mixture of roughly chopped onion, celery, carrot, 2 bay leaves, a handful each of fresh sage and thyme and one of either allspice or juniper berries.

Loosely fill the neck cavity with your chosen stuffing. Don’t pack too much in, as it swells during roasting and will otherwise leak out. Secure the neck flap with a skewer or toothpicks and place the bird in a roasting tin. Or make your life easier with a foil throw away tin.

Next, cover the breasts only with ice packs (be sure to avoid the legs) and leave for 30 minutes allowing the rest of the bird to come up to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 220ºC/Gas 7.

Fill and boil the kettle.

Brush the turkey all over with oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. Tuck the wing tips under the breasts so the turkey sits upright. Now place the bird on a wire rack in the roasting tin and insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh without touching the bone.

Next pour on enough boiling water to come two inches up the side of the roasting tin. Cover the turkey with plenty of tin foil, tucking it under the lip of the roasting tin to create a steam bath and carefully slide the bird into the oven. N.B: You will need to check the water levels now and again, topping up when needed, but not too much as you want concentrated meat juices to add to your gravy at the end of cooking time. So bare this in mind when adding water.

After 30 minutes, reduce the temp to 170ºC/Gas 3 and roast the bird for approximately 15 minutes per pound.

When the bird is nearly cooked and approx 30 minutes cooking time remains, increase the temp to 220ºC/Gas7  Remove the foil, carefully pour the turkey juices into the gravy then return the bird to the oven to crisp and brown the skin.

Take the turkey out the oven immediately the thermometer in the thigh reads 165F/73C . Your bird is ready for resting. If you don’t have a thermometer, pierce the meatiest part of the thigh. When the juices run clear, it’s cooked.

Rest the turkey loosely covered with tin foil for 30 minutes before carving.  Serve with bread sauce and spiced cranberry relish.
Plus the following vegetables:

Brussel sprouts

Pureed parsnips
Honey glazed carrots
Red cabbage
Perfect roast potatoes

8 Responses to “Perfect Roast Turkey!”

  1. Uma says:

    In the words of Michael Winner…Calm Down Dear! All working normally again.
    Phew! This Christmas lark is summin else! Just as well it only happens once a year.
    Let me know how it goes.

  2. Julian says:

    Is it me ??
    Here I am all ready to read about how to produce perfect roasties and everytime I “click” on the link I get the sprouts page appear!! Having just lashed out for the first time on goose fat I need to know !!!!! Needless to say in my mind the whole success of the Christmas dinner rests on me being able to produce the perfect spuds but actually it probably doesn’t matter.

  3. Ginger says:

    This sounds wonderful & like the others have said, so logical! I’m vegetarian myself but I do roast a turkey for my husband at Christmastime. I love the dressing & all the special veggies with gravy so I’m not really deprived of anything.

    I’ve always done my Nana’s dressing recipe & followed her strict rules on roasting a turkey as well & yours really comes about as close as I’ve ever seen to hers! I will definitely try adding the water to the roaster tho’…that I hadn’t heard of.

    Thanks so much for sharing all this with us!
    Merry Christmas!

  4. Wendy says:

    Like the others say… what a logical idea! Can’t believe I have never heard of it before… well done Uma! And thanks!

  5. MaryMoh says:

    Your roasted turkey looks very delicious. I haven’t roasted a turkey yet. Thought I go dizzy when I see the huge size…LOL. Thanks for sharing all the tips. Maybe I should try on a big chicken first 😛

  6. Janice says:

    Oh wow, I’m really excited about the ice pack/bag idea, it makes so much sense. Will try this on my bird! I will be going for resting the bird on a bed of carrots, onions etc rather than a rack as it makes for very yummy gravy.

  7. Uma says:

    Thanks Malcolm. Yes a bag of ice cubes is fine

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