The turkey may be the star of many a celebration, Thanksgiving and Christmas being the two which immediately spring to mind. Millions are sold over the holidays to be enjoyed with family and with friends. So, with so much at stake, it is imperative that you cook your turkey safely. There are food poisoning reports every year, some of them extremely dangerous, but with a little care, good hygiene practices and a safe, reliable thermometer, you can minimize the risks, and instead of worrying sit back and enjoy the celebrations.
The Safest Ways to Cook a Turkey
1. Allow approx 450g / 1 lb uncooked turkey per person. which will allow a generous portion per person and plenty left over for Boxing Day recipes and buffets.
2. DO NOT WASH THE TURKEY and always start cooking turkey at room temperature. If cooked straight from the fridge, the inner part of the turkey will take too long to reach temperature, and the rest will dry out.
3. To test if the turkey is cooked: use a meat thermometer or probe*** pierced into the thickest part of the thigh. The turkey is cooked when it reaches 80C/175F .
4. If you don't have a thermometer, pierce the thickest part of the thigh with a small sharp knife, the juices given off from the meat should run clear. If they are at all pink in color, return the turkey to the oven and cook until the juices run clear.
5. Always leave the turkey to rest for between 30 - 60 minutes before carving; this makes for a tender, succulent turkey.
Finally - do not forget to make the gravy using all the lovely juices from the cooking of the turkey. It is quite straightforward and making your own is certainly the best gravy to use, it is just delicious.