How to cook Christmas turkey

Nigella Lawson
Here's the Christmas bonus: Top turkey tips straight from Nigella and exclusive to this site.

Don't be alarmed by the shortness of the cooking time below. Do remember to take the turkey out of the fridge in good time; it should be at room temperature when it goes in the oven.

To roast the turkey:

Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6 and keep it at this temperature for the first 30 minutes. Then turn it down to 180C/Gas 4.

Put it breast down in the roasting tray: the only fat deposits in a turkey are in the back and this allows them to percolate through the breast meat as it cooks; it makes for the tenderest possible, succulent meat. Turn it the right way up for the last half hour of cooking to brown.

Cooking times:

For the following weights of turkey you need to cook it for these times. Remember when stuffing the bird to weigh the stuffings before adding them to the turkey as you'll need to count them in the total cooking time.

It is not possible to give one serve-all timing based on per kilo; this time decreases as the weight of the bird increases. But if you are buying a true Bronze turkey as recommended (and these times are for this superior bird) you can consult those who are selling it to you.

To see for yourself that the turkey is ready, poke a skewer or fork where the meat is thickest - behind the knee joint of the thigh - and if it is cooked the juices will run clear.

And one final reminder - if you are using the times above ALWAYS cook the turkey from room temperature, not straight from the fridge.

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Friday 12 October 2007
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