Now For A Tasty Bird This Christmas
Christmas day fast approaches and our thoughts turn to preparing
the most important meal of the year, no festive plan would be complete
without the centrepiece of the British culinary year, the turkey.
British households will consume ten million turkeys this Christmas,
it may come as a surprise that the popular bird, uniquely associated
with British festive celebrations, originates from America.
stories claim to explain exactly how Britons began their relationship
with the characterful animal, but we do know for certain that it
first arrived in the 16th Century. The turkey achieved a position
of favour (and flavour!) with loving support from Royalty such as
George II, who kept a flock at Richmond Park.
local farmers all over Britain produce quality farm fresh turkey
so there is no need to go to such lengths for a succulent festive
year, the National Farmers' Union is again running its successful
"Turkey hotline". A fresh, locally-reared turkey direct
from the farm is now only a telephone call away, supporting local
producers, high standards of animal welfare and bringing great taste
to the Christmas menu.
is the perfect year to buy a farm fresh turkey as they are guaranteed
to come with a feeling for funk and more groove than your granny!
Because a happy turkey is a tasty turkey, all the farmers taking
part in the NFU Turkey Hotline have been playing a "chill-out"
Christmas CD to their flocks. The CD, produced by the NFU, contains
a range of tracks aimed at having a positive calming influence on
the birds, including wind chimes, the sounds of the forest and Gregorian
varieties of turkey are available from the Turkey Hotline including
the traditional bronze and specialities such as the Kelly Bronze
and Wirral White including organic and free-range birds. The Turkey
Hotline is open from 8am to 6pm, from Monday to Friday during the
Christmas season, call 0870 060 3436.
favourites such as duck, pork and beef are also available from local
to prepare the perfect Christmas turkey
The day before, remove giblets and make stock with them. Stuff the
neck with chestnut or sausage stuffing. Add weight of stuffing to
weight of turkey to calculate cooking time. Spread softened butter
on the bird. The breast can be covered with strips of streaky bacon.
Stand in a large roasting tin on a wire shelf, if possible.
the slow method, preheat the oven to Gas mark 3, 160*C, 325*F.
For the quick method, preheat the oven to Gas mark 8, 230*C, 450*F.
Use the chart below to calculate the time*
WEIGHT SLOW METHOD QUICK METHOD
3.5 - 4.5kg (8 - 10lb) 3.5 - 3.75 hours 2.25 - 2.5 hours
4.5 - 5.5kg (10 - 12lb) 3.75 - 4 hours 2.75 hours
5.5 - 6.5kg (12-15lb) 4 - 4.25 hours 3 hours
7.5kg (16lb) 4.5 hours 3.25 hours
9kg (20lb) 4.75 hours 3.5 hours
* These two cooking methods have been tested but good results depend
on the accuracy of the oven thermometer. Use an oven thermometer
if in doubt.