How to cook and carve a turkey

KellyBronze organic turkey

One of the happiest occasions of the year is to have your family and friends around to celebrate the festive season, and at the same time one of the most terrifying and time consuming tasks at Thanksgiving and Christmas day is cooking the turkey, the centre piece of the family table. The results are usually dry and tasteless turkey, wasted money and meat. Generally speaking, a big disappointment, but fear not! here is a guide from my visit to the KellyBronze back in August on how to cook and carve your organic fresh turkey that your family will eat and have seconds. 

First of all, ask your local butcher to source organic fresh turkey like KellyBronze.  This type of turkey can be found in the UK and in some countries around the world. This special breed of turkey are grown slowly to full maturity, for over 6 months. These birds are free range, organic, reared and processed the Kelly way. They are dry plucked (no added water) and hung for the maximum possible time to give it a deep, rich and gamey flavour.  Because they are mature the meat ‘sticks’ to their bones making them a firmer bird. They won’t collapse when cooked, unlike other turkeys that are not fully matured and therefore haven’t got much meat either. A 5kg KellyBronze can be cooked in around 2 hours and it serves easily 15 people. They are not cheap, but they have so much tender meat you wouldn’t believe!

Using a meat thermometer makes life so much easier

1. Preparation
-store the fresh turkey in a cool place, preferably in the fridge
-on the day, place the turkey in a roasting tin breast down, this way the fat from the back
-leave it out of the fridge to rest for 2-3 hours
-add season salt and pepper, onions, giblets and 1 cup of water to the roasting tin
2. Cooking
-pre-heat the oven to 140C, if fan assisted oven or if not, 180C, as guideline 20 mins per kilo
-organic turkey skin will crisp up nicely without tin foil
-don’t stuff the whole cavity of the turkey, the air needs to circulate to cook to perfection
-cook the bird breast down for approximately 1.5 hours, after this time turn the turkey around by the legs and cook for a further 30 mins to bronze the breast skin
3. Presentation
– very important and useful is the use of a meat thermometer to check when the turkey reaches 65C. Once it reaches this temperature the turkey is ready, regardless of having some blood running through.
– rest the turkey for 1 hour to optimise flavour and succulence, the cooking process still carrying on out of the oven, don’t cover the bird with foil, the turkey will still be hot after resting time. While it rests, you can cook or finish off  the side dishes.
-carve the turkey – enjoy it!
 4.Carving the turkey

KellyBronze – lots of meat in a bird!

with a sharp knife and carving fork, cut through the skin of the tight and peel off back the legs, next peel off the wings that will expose the breast. Again with a sharp knife follow closely the line of the bone and keep it tight that way you can get most of the meat out.

 take your time to carve the turkey

peel the skin off the breast and legs, slice the breasts and legs. Pour the piping hot turkey stock over the bird. Serve! Another great tip I learnt at the farm was how to make skin turkey crackling by simply placing the turkey skin in a tray under the heat for 15 mins to crisp up further – turkey crackling – who knew? It’s delicious.

due to the fully maturity this meat is marbled, very moist and tasty

 For some more ideas for your Thanksgiving and Christmas check out Great British Chefs  recipes using turkey and for more festive recipes

happy thanksgiving!

A helpful  cooking times guideline when cooking a KellyBronze turkey

I was a guest at KellyBronze farm. Thanks  to Paul Kelly for the turkey cooking & carving masterclass and farm tour. This post was first published at the Great British Chefs blog