The turkey is a large, cultivated fowl probably of North American origin, which is much prized for its fine flavour and high proportion of flesh to bone. Although turkey has become synonymous with festive occasions such as Christmas, and Thanksgiving Day in the United States and Canada, it is now available all the year round.
Turkeys can be bought fresh, but are now more easily available frozen and oven-ready. If you are buying a fresh turkey, its flesh should be firm and white and the wattles should be bright red. A fresh turkey should hang for several days before it is plucked, drawn and trussed. A frozen turkey must be thawed com-pletely before cooking, preferably in the refrigerator or a cool larder. On average, turkeys weigh from 10 to 12 pounds, although an 18-pound bird is not at all unusual. Approximately 1 pound per person should be allowed for a generous serving.
There are many different ways of cooking turkey, and any recipe requiring CHICKEN is suitable for turkey – although
% :%’ the cooking times will be longer. Turkey particularly lends itself to a variety of stuffings. Often two stuffings are used, one being placed in the stomach cavity, the other in the neck end; if you are only using one stuffing, however, it should be placed in the stomach cavity.
The traditional accompaniments to roast turkey are boiled and/or roast potatoes, Brussels sprouts, peas and, in America, baked pumpkin. Traditional garnishes include small chipolata sausages, bacon rolls and brown or BREAD SAUCE.
The basic way to roast turkey, is to preheat the oven to very hot 450 °F (Gas
Mark 8, 230°C). Rub the inside of the cavity and outside skin with salt and pepper. If you are stuffing the turkey, spoon the stuffing into the cavity or cavities, pressing it in well. Close the openings and fasten with a trussing needle and string or skewers. Place the turkey in a large roasting tin. Using a pastry brush, coat the turkey generously with melted butter and place the tin in the oven. Roast the turkey for 10 minutes,then reduce the oven temperature to warm 325°F (Gas
Mark 3, 170°C).
If the turkey is stuffed, allow 20 minutes to the pound; if it is not stuffed, allow 15 minutes to the pound. Baste the turkey frequently to prevent the breast meat from becoming dry.
To test if the turkey is cooked, pierce the thigh with the point of a sharp knife. If the juices that run out are clear, the turkey is cooked.