Top tips for cooking your turkey

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  • Before you buy
    Make sure you have enough space in your freezer for the turkey. You may have to move some shelves around and you won’t want to have to waste any food to squeeze it in. If you want to cook a fresh turkey, make sure you order it in advance to be picked up on Christmas Eve.

    Other things to think about
    Make a list of all the things that will need to go in your oven. Potatoes, stuffing, pigs in blankets, parsnips, Yorkshire puddings… it all adds up. Practice putting in all the trays you know will need to fit in there and see how much space your turkey’s going to take up – just so you don’t have a last minute panic on the day. You might need some things to share trays, or you might have to make some decisions like to buy readymade Yorkies which only take a few minutes as they can go in once everything else is out and you’re getting everything else out onto the table.

    What size turkey should I buy?
    As a minimum, the best way to work out the maths is to buy a pound of turkey per person. So if there are 8 of you eating, you’ll need and 8llb bird, 10 of you, a 10lb bird and so on.

    Thaw your bird
    It’s a bit of a Christmas joke, not getting the turkey defrosted in time, but unfortunately it’s a common mistake. Turkeys are big birds, and we all tend to buy a bigger one than we need so we’ve got cold cuts for the next few days. This means, it will take longer to defrost than an average chicken for your Sunday roast.

    Cooking times
    You’ll probably have to put your oven on first thing in the morning and get your turkey in the oven before you even start opening any Christmas presents. It’s the biggest part of your main meal, so make sure you leave enough time to get it cooked perfectly.

    Scroll down to find our brilliant turkey timer, which will show you exactly when you’ll need to take your turkey out of the freezer to make sure it’s completely defrosted and how long you’ll need to cook it for to make sure it’s cooked through.

    You will need to defrost your turkey in the lowest part of your fridge, but make sure you take it out just before you go to bed the night before so it’s at room temperature before it goes in the oven.

    How to roast your turkey

    Stuffing: if you’re using a meat stuffing, make sure it’s at room temperature before it goes into the turkey. Put about two thirds into the bird’s neck and pull down the skin to cover the opening. Put the rest into the cavity.
    Butter and bacon: smother your entire turkey with a layer of butter then lay strips of bacon over the entire breast. This will make sure all the moisture stays in and the white meat keeps nice and juicy.
    Foil: cover the whole turkey (and tin) in foil. Make sure it’s airtight, but that there’s enough room in the parcel for the hot air to circulate and cook your meat.
    Roasting: put the turkey in the oven (use our turkey timer to find out for how long and at what temperature) and remove the foil 40 minutes before the end. Once the bacon has crisped, you can push it down into the tray so the breast skin can brown. Before removing the turkey from the oven, check the juices are running clear from the thickest part of its legs.
    Resting: make sure you leave your turkey to rest for at least half an hour (covered with the same foil) before serving.

    Tesco ingredients to help you make your Christmas dinner a festive feast

    Tesco Finest Bronze Frozen Turkey 3.6Kg – 5.0Kg Serves 6-10 People