How to cook turkey: The perfect temperature for moist meat and ‘brilliant’ roast potatoes

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Looking to make sure Christmas dinner is perfect this year? An expert chef has revealed the secret to cooking the best roast turkey and what temperature the oven needs to be to ensure the big bird doesn’t end up dry.

Hexo Electrical Testing partnered with Masterchef finalist Stacie Stewart to help the nation cook the best Christmas turkey – a perfectly tender, juicy crowd-pleasing centrepiece. 

Speaking about how she cooks the bird, Stacie said: “I cook my turkey within some of the most prestigious kitchens across London and the world at 183C for most of the cooking time, then turn the temp up to 220C for the last 30 minutes.

“This gives a crispy skin but isn’t long enough to dry the turkey out. 

“It’s also a perfect temperature for brilliant crispy roast potatoes!”

Stacie even shared her step-by-step guide for a perfect turkey and crispy roast potatoes.  

Turkey

1. In a large roasting tin, arrange two sheets of foil, placing the turkey on top of the two sheets. Fold the sheets of foil loosely over the turkey, leaving a large air gap between the turkey and the foil.

2. Place the turkey into the preheated oven, and roast for three and a half hours, basting every 40 minutes.

 3. After three and a half hours, remove the bird from the oven and increase the temperature to 220C.

 4. Once out of the oven, drain any surplus juices into a jug or bowl. Baste the bird again and return to the hot oven for 30 minutes. This will give the skin time to brown and become crisp, but the inside will stay juicy.

 5. Whilst the skin is browning, allow the fat to rise to the top of the jug and remove, saving the juice for the gravy.

 6. Once the turkey is browned to your liking, remove it from the oven, and place the reserved oil/ fat for the roast potatoes in the oven to heat up.

 7. Check the thickest part of the turkey with a small sharp knife, if the juices run clear the turkey is done.

 8. Cover the turkey once cooked with tin foil and leave it to stand for at least 30 minutes before carving.

Roast potatoes

1. Whilst the oil is heating in the oven, place your peeled and chopped potatoes into a large saucepan covered with cold water and salt.

 2. Simmer the potatoes for four to five minutes until tender around the edges.

 3. Drain the potatoes and shake the potatoes until rough around the edges.

 4. Remove the baking tray with hot oil from the oven, and carefully place your potatoes into the hot oil/goose fat, ensuring to coat the potatoes in oil.

 5. Reduce the oven to 200C before placing the baking tray back into the oven.

 6. Roast potatoes for 30 minutes, turning once or twice during cooking.

 7. Remove when browned to your liking and season with salt to serve. 

Stacie top Christmas cooking tips: 

Shop the essentials: Buy extra-wide foil, kitchen roll, clingfilm, non-stick baking paper and a large spoon for basting. A skewer or meat thermometer is crucial for testing the turkey.

Buy fresh turkeys: Order a fresh turkey from your butcher or supermarket. Ask whether they deliver, one less thing to worry about. 

Check it’s properly cooked: Insert a skewer into the thigh if juices run clear the turkey is cooked. If juices run pink, put back in the oven for 15-30 minutes. Pull legs away from the breast so heat can flow.

Rest the turkey: Cover cooked turkey loosely with foil, also with clean paper towels to keep heat in. It can sit for two hours and still be piping hot when carved. Resting is essential.

Carve from one side: To carve a big bird easily take one leg off, cut this in half. Carve the meat from the leg, slice the thigh. Cut the wing off as close to the breast as possible and slice breast meat on the diagonal. 

For further information visit Hexo Electrical Testing. 

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