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Buying, Defrosting, And Cooking Your Christmas Turkey In A Rangemaster Oven, Plus Making The Gravy!
Posted by Alison Baker Wednesday, 11th December 2013
If you are cooking a turkey for the first time it can be daunting! Here are some tips to help you produce the best roast turkey ever!
Before You Buy the Turkey.
It is vital that the turkey is completely thawed before cooking.
- 8-11lbs/4-5kg 20 hours room temperature or 65 hours in fridge.
- 11-13lbs/5-6kg 24 hours room temperature or 70 hours in fridge.
- 13-15lbs/6-7kg 30 hours room temperature or 75 hours in fridge.
- 8-9kg 40 hours room temperature or 80 hours in fridge.
- 19lbs-24lbs/9-11kg 48 hours room temperature or 96 hours in fridge.
The packaging will normally give guidelines but do allow plenty of time. Defrosting can be speeded up by submersing the turkey in a clean sink filled with COLD water. Change the water frequently. You can use the defrost setting on your Multifunction oven (sit the turkey on a trivet in a roasting tin) but remember not to use the adjoining oven or grill at the same time as heat will be transmitted to the oven being used for defrosting. No heat should be applied for safe defrosting. This is to prevent food poisoning, which is why it is also very important that the turkey is fully cooked before being eaten. So, before cooking and during defrosting, keep the turkey cold.
As soon as you can, remove the giblets from either end of the turkey, this will speed defrosting. It will be easier to remove the giblets from the large cavity if you either un-tie the string or remove the legs from the loop of skin they are tucked into.
"Remember to wash your hands after touching the raw turkey and clean any work surface or utensils that come into contact with it."
The giblets can then be made into stock for gravy the day before: remove the giblets from the plastic bags, wash and place in a large pan, with an onion and some seasoning. Cover with water and bring to the boil and simmer gently for about an hour. Pour the stock through a sieve into a clean bowl or large jug and allow to cool, and then refrigerate. Discard the giblets. Remove any solidified fat from the surface of the cooled stock before using.
Getting the Turkey ready for the oven
- Rinse the inside and outside of the turkey with water and blot the outside dry with kitchen paper. Season the inside with salt and pepper and put quarters of peeled onion into the main cavity with a few bay leaves, this will flavour the turkey during cooking and also the juices that come out during cooking, will in turn flavour your gravy. Discard these when the turkey is cooked
- Tuck the ends of the legs back into the flap of skin or tie with string. Push the parsons nose (the lump on the bottom of the turkey) between the legs.
- Rub the turkey all over with softened butter but make sure not to contaminate any un-used butter with raw turkey.
- Make sure your roasting tin is large enough for both the turkey and all the juices that come out during cooking. The tin needs to be deep enough to come about a quarter of the way up the turkey, but not too large for the oven. If using the fan oven, remember to allow room for the heat to circulate. Do not use a tin with a removable base.
- Streaky bacon rashers laid across the breast of the turkey will add moisture and flavour during cooking. Add enough cold water to cover the base of the tin, this will turn to steam during cooking and help keep the turkey moist.
- Place the turkey in the roasting tin and cover loosely with tin foil.
- It is a good idea to cook the turkey breast side down for about half an hour, this helps to keep the meat moist and allow the heat to reach the leg areas. Be careful not to leave it upside down for too long as the skin will tear and spoil the finished appearance. If you have a large turkey, ask someone to assist you with turning it. When the turkey is turned over the bacon rashers can then be laid over the turkey breast and legs.
- Rather than stuffing the turkey cavity, cook your stuffing separately this will speed up cooking time. Either use a ready prepared stuffing mix, a chilled ready-made one or make your own (which can usually be frozen ahead of time, remember to thaw properly)
Cooking the Turkey
Put the shelf to the height that will accommodate turkey in the oven. This will depend upon the size of turkey being cooked.
Preheat the oven:
- Gas Mark 4
- Conventional Oven 180ºC
- Fan Oven 170ºC
- Calculate the cooking times at 18-20 minutes per 1lb/450g. Place the turkey into the hot oven.
- Baste the turkey once an hour during cooking by tilting the tin and using a large spoon, pour some of the juices over the turkey. Ideally lift the turkey out of the oven each time and close the door, thus retaining the oven heat.
- When putting the turkey back into the oven, turn the tin around.
- Remove the tin foil 30 minutes before the end of cooking to allow for complete browning.
- At the end of the calculated cooking time, test to see if the turkey is cooked by inserting a skewer or small sharp knife into the thickest part of the leg and thigh. If the juices run clear, the turkey is cooked. If the juices are pink return the turkey to the oven for an extra 10 minutes and keep checking until they run clear.
- If you are unsure about it being cooked, pull the leg away from the breast. If it pulls away from the breast quite easily and there is no blood visible in the flesh or near the bone, the turkey is cooked.
- When fully cooked place onto a warmed serving platter, cover with clean foil and a towel. Allow to rest for 30 minutes .
- The turkey will remain hot and it will be easier to carve after this resting period.
- Roasting a turkey produces a lot of juices. If you can, pour all these juices through a sieve, into a large jug. As the liquid cools, spoon off the fat that rises to the top.
- Put some of the fat back into the roasting tin, the amount will depend upon the number you are feeding but about 4 tablespoons is a guide.
- Now stir in 4 tablespoons of flour mixing in well scraping up all the turkey residue from the tin. Cook this over a low heat stirring all the time; a whisk works well at this stage. Begin to gradually add the cooking juices from the turkey (that you have removed the fat from).
- Increase the heat and bring to the boil. If the gravy is too thick add some stock from the cooked giblets or water and a stock cube. Taste, and add salt and pepper if necessary or another stock cube. You can add extra flavour to the gravy with a splash of wine, a spoonful of cranberry sauce or redcurrant jelly, or some orange zest.
- Allow the gravy to simmer gently; it may be easier to pour the gravy into a large pan at this stage. Use a ladle to spoon the gravy into a warmed gravy boat/jug when everyone is at the table, making sure it is piping hot.