CTS Foreyule Feast - Turkey Instructions
It has been traditional to buy the turkey from S. Fabish & Sons on Mill Road
(tel. 353092), now Andrew Robinson. There's no reason why another local butcher
couldn't be used, though Fabish's / Robinson's have served us very well.
It's usual to buy a fresh turkey, rather than frozen - they usually taste better,
and it saves a lot of faff with defrosting. In order to ensure that
one of the desired size can be obtained on the day, it's a good idea to reserve
it in advance - about a week's notice should be sufficient.
As for size, an allowance of between ¾ lb and 1 lb per head seems to be
about right. A reservation can probably be made fairly safely before the exact
final numbers are known - there's usually some left over.
Equipment and Extras
- Large roasting tin - can be borrowed from Mark Waller
- Wide "turkey" foil (1 metre) - from supermarkets
- Basting - butter, lard or bacon rashers
There are a variety of instructions for cooking turkeys - the details here
seem to work well. In practice, the most important thing is that the bird is
fully cooked: if it's overdone, it may be a bit drier and tougher, but if it's
underdone, there's a distinct risk of food poisoning! The test is to pierce
the thickest part of the meat with a skewer or knife - it's cooked only
when the juices run clear.
As far as overall timing goes, preparation is 10-15 minutes, cooking is 4-4½
hours, and standing and carving is perhaps another 30 minutes. The carved meat can be
served directly onto the plates of the queuing participants, or onto a pre-warmed plate
for later self-service.
- Start with a fresh turkey (or a fully defrosted frozen one).
- Remove any packaging, and such things as rubber bands around the legs,
and ensure the giblets are removed from the central cavity.
- Wash the turkey thoroughly in cold water, inside and out. Pat dry with
- Apply lumps of butter or lard for basting, or alternatively use rashers
of bacon (note this colours the outer meat pink!). Wrap in foil and place in
the roasting tin.
- Cook in the centre of a pre-heated oven, at 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
The cooking time is 15 minutes per lb (450g), plus 25 minutes.
- Once an hour, take the turkey out and baste it in its own juices.
- For the last half-hour, open the foil (and remove the bacon, if present - a cooks'
perk!) to allow the skin to brown.
- As the turkey approaches its nominal cooking time, test for clear juices as above.
If it's not done, continue cooking and repeat the test every 15 minutes.
- Once the turkey is cooked, take it out of the oven, and let it stand for 10-15
minutes before carving.
Last update 2001-10-25 by Mark Waller