Ideally your Christmas turkey will be succulent and cooked to perfection. However, for many home chefs when the proud moment arrives their turkey fails to impress. In trying to ensure their bird is properly cooked, many overcook their Christmas centrepiece resulting in a dry and less than appetising feast.
Digital food thermometer company ETI Ltd has been working with Celebrity Chef Nick Nairn to reassure home chefs and help them to cook their Christmas turkey to perfection, with the minimum amount of fuss.
Even the most inexperienced of home cooks no longer needs to keep stabbing the breast with a knife, or think about removing the legs, to ensure that they’re not going to poison their family with undercooked poultry.
By using the fast response temperature probe of a Thermapen food thermometer they can know instantly (three seconds), whether the turkey breast meat is cooking too fast or the legs need a bit longer, and adjust the temperature accordingly – or use foil to cover the breast.
Celebrity TV chef Nick Nairn says, he routinely uses the Thermapen at his cookery school in Aberdeen; “Thermapen thermometers totally take the guesswork out of knowing when your Christmas turkey is ready”.
Nick adds, “The way to check is by inserting the Thermapen into the centre of the thickest part of the breast and also the thickest part of the thigh. Both should give a reading of 75?C or above. The skill is finding the lowest temperature you can – if you poke the Thermapen probe right through and it hits the hot pan, it will show a high temperature, so move it up and down to find the lowest reading at the centre of the meat”.
“Once the turkey hits the right temperature, take it out and leave the bird to rest, loosely covered with foil. The temperature actually rises when it’s resting but as long as you’ve hit that at the coolest point you’re fine.”
The SuperFast Thermapen gives an accurate reading in less than 3 seconds and is available from www.etiltd.com Retailing from £48 it makes a superb Christmas gift for the chef of the house.
If the turkey is frozen it is essential that the bird is defrosted completely before cooking. To calculate defrosting time:
• In a fridge at 4?C allow between 10-12 hours per kilogram.
• In a cool room below 17?C allow between 3-4 hours per kilogram.
• At room temperature allow 2 hours per kilogram.
• Always test the turkey with a Thermapen to accurately ensure that there are no hidden ice crystals.
• When fully defrosted refrigerate until ready to cook.
Preheat your oven to 180?C and calculate your cooking time for an unstuffed turkey:
• Under 4.5kg, allow 45 minutes per kg plus 20 minutes.
• Between 4.5kg and 6.5kg, allow 40 minutes per kg.
• Over 6.5kg, allow 35 minutes per kg
• Cover your turkey with bacon/foil during cooking and uncover for the last 30 minutes to brown.
Is it done yet?
All ovens vary, so it is important to check your turkey is cooked properly and the safest way is to use a Thermapen.
• Insert the Thermapen into the centre of the thickest part of the breast and the thickest part of the thigh. Both should give a reading of 75?C or above.
• Rest the bird for 15-20 minutes before carving.
• When cool cover and refrigerate as quickly as possible since if left out at room temperature food poisoning bacteria can quickly multiply.
Tel: 01903 202151