Roasting a Turkey
Ideally, the best way to thaw a whole turkey is very slowly in the refrigerator. Thaw out in a deep dish to catch any water for a full 48 hours prior to cooking.
When ready to prepare the turkey for roasting, remove from its bag over a sink as liquid some will have collected in the bag. Make sure you take a note of the exact weight of the bird before discarding the bag. Croziers turkeys have their legs tucked into a skin flap so gently pull the feet free of the skin and remove giblets. Wash the turkey well in cool water especially inside then leave to drain, feet down in the sink. Optionally you can cut off the tail or just cut out the oil gland in the tail.
When the turkey has been stuffed there is no need for any toothpicks or string, simply tuck the feet back into the skin flap so the turkey is in the same position as when you removed it from its bag. Don't forget to season the outside with a rub of butter or a brush of extra virgin olive oil and a healthy sprinkle of salt and pepper.
A perfectly roasted turkey can be difficult to achieve due to dryness in the flesh. I combat moisture loss by roasting in a large oven bag. This cooks the turkey partially by steam from juices released then trapped in the bag. Tuck the wings under the body. Place stuffed and seasoned turkey breast side up into a large oven bag then fasten with a piece of string. Another tip is to line your baking tray with foil before placing on the turkey. This is great for a speedy clean up if there are any leaks but not necessary if you want to make gravy in the pan.
Roast your turkey at 160°C making sure the oven is to the correct temperature before placing the turkey in it. Roasting times can be worked out by checking the exact weight on the bag. Allow 35 minutes for each kg of the bird plus an extra 15 minutes. This means a 5kg bird will take 3 hours while a 3.5kg bird will take 2½ hours. The weights of turkey's vary a little so it is a great idea to work out the exact cooking time using the exact weight referred to on the bag.
Always let your turkey rest before carving at least 15 minutes or 30 minutes if possible. Left in its bag to rest, it won't loose too much heat. This allows the juices to settle keeping as much moisture in the flesh as possible. You will know your turkey hasn't rested enough if juices start to seep onto the chopping board during carving.
Carving is not as difficult as it may appear to be. Start by cutting away the legs then the thighs and wings. From there place the turkey in front you, breast facing forward. Placing you knife on top of a breast, cut towards the wings in thin slices. When the breasts are sliced, remove the stuffing, then it is just a matter of salvaging as much meat as possible from the carcase on both sides.