Kenny Tutt’s Perfect Christmas Turkey
The humble turkey has been appearing on our tables from the 16th century. If done right, for Kenny it is still the undisputed king of the Christmas spread. As with other classics there are many, many top tips and dos and don’ts on the quest to achieve the perfect #JuicyBird. Kenny’s main tip above all else is to cook to temperature to avoid the meat drying and to banish any Christmas stress.
Prep: 20-30 mins
Cook: Remove bird at 62-65°C when probing thickest part of the bird, between the breast and thigh (without touching the bone)
1 x 5-6kg good-quality free-range turkey (dry plucked if possible)
Glug of vegetable or sunflower oil
50-60g softened unsalted butter
Good pinch of sea salt
Freshly ground white pepper
4 roughly chopped carrots
2 quartered onions
3-4 sticks of celery
1 star anise
3-4 cloves of garlic
Generous splash of white wine
1 pint of chicken stock
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
Kenny’s top turkey tips
To stuff or not to stuff — Stuffing is beautiful for a proper festive plate but stuffing the cavity does affect the way the bird cooks meaning the meat can dry out. Kenny makes the stuffing separately using decent sausage meat, fresh thyme, sage, breadcrumbs, and dried apricots.
Release the bird — untruss your turkey. Keeping the legs tied up can mean the breast meat dries out before the thighs and legs are fully cooked.
Bring to room temperature — remove the turkey from the fridge and bring to room temperature. This will take at least an hour and help get an even cook.
Butter it up — soften the butter with the back of a dessert spoon in a bowl, then season with sea salt and freshly ground white pepper. Smear the seasoned butter all over the turkey before going in the oven.
To cook the turkey
1. While the bird is coming to room temperature, preheat your oven to 200°C/ 180°C fan/ gas 6.
2. Fill your roasting tin with carrots, onions, celery, garlic, the star anise and a good pinch of salt. Place the turkey rubbed with the butter on top of the vegetables and place into the hot oven.
3. After 1 hour remove the turkey and give it a good baste with the melted butter.
4. After approximately 2 hours use your Thermapen to probe the thickest part of the bird, between the breast and thigh (without touching the bone). You’re looking for 62-65°C. Remember the temperature will rise by 8-13°C when resting, which will allow it to come up to a safe temperature of 74°C (for safety, the temperature should read 74°C for 30 seconds or 70°C for 2 minutes).
5. If the temperature isn’t high enough, return to the oven and check in 15-20-minute intervals.
6. When the turkey reaches 62-65°C take it out of the oven and allow it to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 1 hour. The temperature will continue to rise to over 70°C. There is no need to cover as this will continue to cook the bird in its own steam.
7. To make a delicious, quick gravy deglaze the pan with a good splash of white wine and add a pint of chicken stock. Strain and reduce for 5-10 minutes over a high heat, season and add a tablespoon of redcurrant jelly.
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