How to cock your bird this Christmas

Phil the test manager, Going Postal

I am hoping not too many spelling errors this time.

It’s that time of year where you will be wanting a nice moist bird, perhaps Chicken or Turkey for Christmas, so to help you I have the following method for you to try.  Maybe do one now, to get the practice in before the big day.

Firstly, select your bird, my preference is one with huge breasts.  If you are just starting out though, I would start off with one where the breasts are about a handful, then work your way up.

I expect most the men (who identify as men) on GP let their other half do the cooking, what I say, at least for this one special day of the year is for you to do it.  There is nothing quite as satisfying as opening the legs of your bird, giving her a good stuffing, then tying them up etc.

The thought of tackling a big bird can be quite daunting.  More than anything else, she must not be dry: we like our birds moist.

This method is great whether your like dark meat or white.

How long will it take after you stick it in:

Working out how long to cook her depends on the weight of your bird after stuffing it.

  • If your bird weighs more than 4kg (around 9lb)

Calculate 20 minutes per kg, plus 90 minutes to finish.

  • If your bird weighs less than 4kg (around 9lb)

Calculate 20 minutes per kg, plus 70 minutes to finish.

  • You will need:
  • 5-6kg (11 to 13lb) bird, thawed and giblets removed
  • 75g (3 ounces) butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Chestnut, cranberry and pine nut stuffing (optional) – You may have your own favourite type of stuffing of course.

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/gas 4.  Place the bird in a roasting tin (or dish), remove the string from the legs and open them out.  This is where you’ll do the stuffing, in the cavity.  Just spread the legs open & stuff it in as far as it will go.
  • Tie your birds’ legs together, it keeps the inside moist.
  • Dot the softened butter over your bird, this will also help keep her moist. Season with as much salt and freshly ground pepper as you like.
  • Cover your bird loosely with aluminium foil and seal it around the sides of the tin (again, it helps to keep her moist).
  • Calculate the cooking time (see above).
  • Baste your bird with the buttery juices every hour or so using a turkey baster (or a spoon) to keep her from drying out.
  • Remove the foil for the final half hour of cooking time (don’t throw it away, you’ll need it again later).
  • Test to see if the juices run clear by inserting a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh.  If you see pink, then pop her back in the oven for another 15-20 minutes and check again.  Your bird is done when the juices run clear when you pierce her.
  • Take out of the oven and pop the foil on that you didn’t throw away back on.
  • Rest for at least half an hour, though a whole hour if you can), which allows your bird to relax and she will now be ready to serve.

Enjoy.
 

© Phil the test manager 2018
 

Audio file