How to Cook a Christmas Turkey (& all the trimmings!)

Sophie's Tips

For many of us, turkey is ubiquitously associated with Christmas, the centrepiece in an elaborate spread that can be days(or even months!) in the making. We've teamed up with Pipers Farm to give you all the info on prepping and cooking your turkey this Christmas.

Pipers Farm has been making Christmas’ memorable for the past 30 years, passionately supporting small-scale family farms that produce food, honestly with integrity and to ensure all families can eat with complete confidence and satisfaction. This Christmas, when you are choosing your turkey this year, you can rest assured that every Pipers Farm bird has had the very best list and has been reared with real care.

How to Cook a Christmas Turkey (& all the trimmings!)

The Provenance

For us, when it comes to delicious turkeys, it goes without saying that the provenance of the turkey is key. Our turkeys are a labour of love hatched in the early Spring, they roam freely amongst Devon pasture for at least seven months, which is twice the length of supermarket Turkey.

Ranging on pasture, our turkeys are fed a totally natural diet, eating forage as a good proportion of their diet, along with windfall apples, fodder beet and wholegrains. Once our turkeys have reached natural maturity, they are plucked by hand and hung for the time-honoured tradition for 12 days. Our team of amazing butchers prepare each bird by hand, wrapping them with a pretty posy of herbs to add to your stuffing. Your bird is then safely secured in our recyclable sheep’s wool packaging and delivered to your day ready for the big day.

How to Cook a Christmas Turkey (& all the trimmings!)

How to cook your Properly Free Range Turkey

It is imperative to check the size of your oven and roasting dish. We recommend about two portions per kilo. Our smallest bird at 4.5kg will feed around 8-9 guests. However, bear in mind Christmas is a gluttonous time, and the turkey is so delicious, so allow yourself half a kilo extra to keep your guests sated, not just for the day itself but for any leftovers the next day! 

When it comes to stuffing your turkey, the most harmonious is that of rich fruit, plenty of herbs and a small amount of acidity to cut through the fat. Fatty bacon, breadcrumbs, oats, and barley to help bind the stuffing together. 

How to Cook a Christmas Turkey (& all the trimmings!)

If you can, remove your turkey from the fridge the night before. This allows the turkey to arrive at room temperature. It also gives the skin time to dry off - if you want to create crispy skin with yielding meat, it is imperative the bird is dry. Take the turkey and pierce the fattiest parts of the underside of the bird. You are aiming to pierce just the skin and fat without puncturing the flesh. Give the parson’s nose a thorough piece, however, leave the breast intact. 

Season the cavity and then fill generously, without overpacking, your choice of stuffing. Season the legs and breast with sea salt and a twist of black pepper. Place the bird on a rack and then place the whole thing into a roasting tin. Halfway through cooking, add roast potatoes into the fat filled pan. There is no need to brine your bird; because we have taken so much care slow-growing and hanging every Bronze turkey, they are succulent and delicious without the need for brining. 

Cook the turkey for approximately 20-25 minutes per kilo. If you are stuffing your turkey, then simply add the weight of the stuffing to the weight of the bird and calculate the total weight and cooking time. 

How to Cook a Christmas Turkey (& all the trimmings!)

The best indication of when your bird is cooked is when it is easy to shake hands with it. Grab a tea towel or an oven glove and gently twist the drumstick to the side. As soon as it ‘gives’ this is the best indication that the bird is cooked. 

Resting time is essential, so give your bird plenty of time to rest - say 30-40 minutes at room temperature. Carve and serve with all of your favourite Christmas trimmings! 

How to Cook a Christmas Turkey (& all the trimmings!)

Leave room for the rest!

It goes without saying that there’s always room for more, from our Pigs in Blankets and our Cranberry sauce to our Properly Free Range Goose fat to make the best roasties around. The Christmas Turkey isn’t quite the same without all its friends! 

How to Cook a Christmas Turkey (& all the trimmings!)

Just a tipple to end

Once all is said and done, a nightcap never hurt anyone. Choose from our delectable Blackcurrant Liqueur for a sweet treat or perhaps our rich Ruby Port alongside a groaning cheese board as a midnight snack? Christmas time is all about indulgence, and what better way to treat yourself than with good food & drink.

If your Christmas lunch menu is looking this good, then your table setting should be a feast for the eyes too, we've got some of Sophie's Tips on setting the table this Christmas! Read them hereWe'd love to hear all about your Christmas dinner? Perhaps you have a family tradition or a unique lunch menu like no other! Let us know in the comments below.

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