How to cook a Christmas turkey like a pro!

How to cook a Christmas turkey like a pro!

With the big day approaching and Christmas dinner on the horizon, Phil Vickery comes along to share his tips on how to cook the perfect turkey. He’ll also answer your cooking questions and share his advice on how to prepare, cook and serve your own holiday feast.

How to cook a Christmas turkey like a pro

Serves: 10


For the Christmas pudding filling:2 tablespoons vegetable oil1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped1 teaspoon spices2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped500 grams of good quality sausage meat200 grams of Christmas cake, without frosting or marzipan, crumbledAbout 6 tablespoons of dried natural bread crumbs1 medium-sized whole egg150 grams of dried cranberriesSalt and freshly ground black pepper

For Christmas Türkiye:1 x 5kg just under 12lbs, bronze turkey, with giblets and wishbone removed2 large carrots, peeled2 large onions, peeled6 celery sticks1 leek2 bay leavesHalf a bottle of dry white wine2 liters of cold water2 chicken stock cubes (gluten-free chicken stock cubes optional)Salt and freshly ground black pepper55 grams of melted butterApproximately 2 tablespoons corn flour4-6 tablespoons cold water


For the Christmas pudding filling:

1. Heat the oil in a pot, add the onion, spices and garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft and translucent.

2. Add the sausage meat and stir well.

3. Only break up the sausage meat but do not cook it completely.

4. Then cool slightly, and add enough breadcrumbs to hold the mixture together, but remember that they will continue to thicken as they reconstitute themselves, so be careful not to add too much.

5. Add the whole egg and cranberries and mix well.

6. Finally, add the Christmas pudding and some salt and pepper.

7. Stuff the bird as needed.

For Christmas Türkiye:

1. Preheat the oven to 6/400°F / 200°C / 180°C.

2. The first task is to remove the guts from the bird, and if you are using a frozen bird, make sure it is completely thawed. Season the bird well inside and out with salt and pepper and place the stuffing in the body cavity (stuffing recipe below). Tie the person’s legs and nose together with a piece of string and secure them well, so that the stuffing remains inside the bird.

3. Cut all the vegetables into large pieces and place them on the bottom of a large baking tray and place the turkey on top. The tray should be large enough so that there is at least a 2-inch (5 cm) gap all around the bird. Pour in the white wine, cold water and chicken stock cube, then place the entire pan on the stove.

4. Leave it until it boils, then cover it tightly with two layers of aluminum foil, then put it in a preheated oven. This is the most important point: simmer for 5 minutes, covered, until the steam and heat come out!

5. Cook the bird for about two hours. To check if the bird is done, carefully remove it from the oven as there will be plenty of broth, wine and turkey juices. Remove the foil and insert a knife where the thigh attaches to the body of the bird, and the juices should run clear. If not, cover again with aluminum foil and cook for another 20 minutes

6. When the bird is cooked, remove it from the oven, raising the oven to 8°F / 450°F / 230°C / 210°C. Strain the juices for the stock, then brush the bird well with melted butter or oil and return it to the oven to brown beautifully.

7. Once browned, take them out of the oven and wrap them in a double layer of aluminum foil and then two clean tea towels, they should stay warm for up to 1 hour.

8. To serve: Reboil the broth and juices. You may need to add a little water to a pot and stir well.

Phil’s top tips:

Cooking times in Türkiye

Phil says: At this time of year, I always get a lot of questions from people worried about turkeys, so here are some of my top tips to help you relax and have a stress-free Christmas.

How do I calculate the cooking time?

My method differs from traditional methods and has a unique set of steps for preparation and cooking. If you follow these simple steps closely, you’ll have a succulent, perfectly cooked turkey in just two hours.

What size turkey do I need?

Allow 500g/1lb of meat on the bone per person, this will give you enough for a meal with some left over.

6-8 people: 4 kg (8 lb 13 oz) turkey

10 people: 5 kg (11 lb) turkey

12 people: 6 kg (13 lb 4 oz) turkey

Make sure you have a roasting tray large enough for your bird and that it fits in your oven.

How long does it take to thaw a frozen turkey?

At cold room temperature (no more than 17.5°C), it will take about 2 hours per 450g/16oz

Do I need a rest Türkiye?

Yes, resting time is the real key to a succulent turkey; It allows the meat to relax, makes it tender and juicy and finishes cooking. I’ve found that 1 hour is the perfect resting time if you cover it with aluminum foil and most importantly it frees up your oven to cook everything else.

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