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Do's and don'ts for cooking the perfect turkey for a festive feast

21 NOVEMBER 2012

Central to the festive feast on Christmas Day is the classic roast turkey, created into a delicious centrepiece and then shared by families all over the country and beyond, who come to celebrate this tradition every year.

And to prepare your tasty turkey dinner, celebrity farmer and presenter of Jimmy's Food Factory, Jimmy Doherty, reveals the do's and don'ts of cooking the perfect turkey. Take note – our Christmas dinner is fast approaching.  


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DO leave the turkey to stand at room temperature for two hours before cooking and leave to stand after cooking for 30-60 minutes before carving.

DO place the bird breast down, seasoning the back of the bird with salt and pepper. Most of the fat deposits are on the back of the bird which will let the turkey cook in its own juices.

DON'T stuff the bird, just place a large peeled onion in the cavity for extra flavour. Cook the stuffing separately.

DON'T be tempted to use tinfoil to stop the bird drying out, this will steam the skin rather than crisp it.

DO check every 10 minutes by inserting a skewer into the thigh and when the juices run clear remove from the oven.

DON'T make the gravy by adding granules to the stock, which will ruin it. Simply skim the excess fat from the top of the stock and then scrape all the delicious crispy bits off the bottom of the roasting tin. Re-heat the stock and then carve the meat into the stock before serving.

Based on a traditional New England harvest menu, a thanksgiving meal also usually features a menu of meat, cranberries, pumpkin pie, and other root vegetables.

But for smaller families who may find a turkey to be too much, take a scoopful of New England tradition with a classic clam chowder, or a smaller bird such as chicken, guinea fowl or pheasant.

So why not spruce up your Sunday roast chicken for the event by simply creating a gorgeously mouthwatering stuffing of honey-butter chorizo and finish off the meal with a vibrant red beetroot tart?

New England Clam, Salt Cod and Bacon Chowder

Roast Chicken with Honey, Butter and Chorizo Stuffing

Cranberry and Orange Glazed Turkey Crown

American-style Beetroot Pie

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