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The Best Xmas Turkey?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
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BWZN93BWZN93 Forumite
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edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
Ive bought my turkey and its now happily residing in my freezer till defrost time (well, massive turkey breast thingy as there is only me and boyf!) and im now wondering what I'll do with it.

Im pretty good at making roast chicken dinners but I know that turkey is a whole other bird and can get pretty dry if not done properly.

As ive never cooked a xmas dinner before, I need to know what is the best way to cook the turkey, what I should/should not do, and what will make it the best turkey ever.

Whilst im thinking of it, does anyone have any great recipies for the other bits of the dinner, e.g. stuffing, special veg, hm cranberry sauce etc??

Jo xx


  • squeakysqueaky Forumite
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    There are all sorts of side dish recipes mentioned in some of the threads listed in the new Christmas sticky at the top of the board. :)

    As far as I can remember though, this is the first big question on cooking a turkey.
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  • bobsa1bobsa1 Forumite
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    I saw part of an item on GMTV the other day and I think he used mincemeat under the skin, could be wrong. It looked nice so if anyone could clarify I'd love to know.

    I do know you can put butter (unsalted) or bacon under the skin to keep it moist.
  • IcemaidenIcemaiden Forumite
    641 posts
    I always cook our turkey overnight christmas eve very slowly and put it upside down with breast side in the baking tin so that all the juicers keep it nice and moist. The only downside is you have to keep getting up every two hours to check it. I only flip it over when I take the foil off right at the end to brown. I've done this two years running now after reading it in a cooking magazine and haven't had any complaints.

    As for the suffing, I must confess mine comes from M&S but I tell people I make my own!!
    Rebel No 22
  • lily_the_pinklily_the_pink Forumite
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    Somewhere I have a recipie for cooking chicken/turkey at gas mark 1/2 - its one of those things I have been meaning to try for ages (a famous chef - the bloke who runs the restaurant in Bray does this) but it wont be at christmas!!

    My MIL always cooks the night before - I always do everything on the day as I find this less cumbersome - plus I like all the juggling food in the kitchen as it gets me out of being sociable before I have had a few drinks.

    Delia and BBC both have some ways of roasting turkey - I would go for the easiest method possible. (Partly why I get a small turkey as I find easier to do than crown)

    Make sure you defrost properly.,1238,RC.html

    I am fairly traditional with side dishes - brussels, roast or mashed parsnip, bread sauce, stuffing - will try to make my own this year (I say this every year then buy some from M&S). It will all be on the delia website.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
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    Years ago when I had just come home from the maternity hospital after having my eldest daughter my husband and I had left it until the last minute to buy the turkey, and there was only this huge bird of 24lb left in the butchers . bearing in mind that there was only me an husband and week old daughter it seemed rather excessive but as it was only a fiver we bought it. The butcher recommended that we put it on as soon as we got home at gas mark one and cook it over night. this we did and by the following afternoon it had bee cooking for nearly 20 odd hours. We had a bit of a struggle actually getting the darned thing into the oven. It was the best turkey we had ever had it almost dropped off the carcass. Mind you the legs were like ostrich legs they were so big. We went round to our neighbours giving out huge platefuls of cooked turkey .Not many folk had freezers in 1966 and my neighbours were so pleased that we never had a problem getting baby sitters.
    Since then I always used to put the turkey on a very low heat last thing on Christmas eve,the smell in the morning is wonderful.
    Now I am on my own I don't bother with a turkey but get a small crown as there would be too much waste on a proper bird. Last year our local huge Tescos over-ordered, and just before they shut on Christmas Eve they were selling them off for £2.00. I got one and stuck it in the freezer for my daughter for Easter.She has a husband and five children so very little goes to waste there
  • silverfoxdudesilverfoxdude Forumite
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    Thank god jw for asking this question, I didnt dare incase I looked a plonker.... I have never cooked a turkey before and there is one in my freezer now! I dont want to give everyone food poisoning!!!!
  • HOLsaleHOLsale Forumite
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    jw1096 wrote:
    As ive never cooked a xmas dinner before, I need to know what is the best way to cook the turkey, what I should/should not do, and what will make it the best turkey ever.

    Whilst im thinking of it, does anyone have any great recipies for the other bits of the dinner, e.g. stuffing, special veg, hm cranberry sauce etc??

    Jo xx

    ok, some tips on great turkey... i get rave reviews doing this

    turkey has loose skin so you can stuff food underneath it
    tear a hole near the leg joint and cram the breast full of butter and roasted garlic or other herbs you like do this on both side. you can do this with the legs too but dark meat tends not to dry out so you can skip the butter but add roasted garlic and/or herbs instead

    stuff a few apples in the cavity of the bird OR if you make a stuffing without meat in it you can cook that inside. i make cornbread and sage stuffing each year and this gets cooked inside the bird. the only thing about cooking it in the bird is that you have to cook the bird longer, thus the definate need for butter under the skin (besides both the bird and the stuffing taste much better this way) DO NOT cook stuffing with meat in it inside the bird unless you want food poisoning

    ok this bit is very important... turn the bird upside down, breast side on the bottom of the pan then cover with aluminium foil. cook it until it only needs another half hour or so then turn it over (you may need help and some bbq tools for this) and cook the last half hour uncovered so the skin can brown

    i guarrantee this to be a winner!

    as for cranberry sauce

    put cranberries into a sauce pan then add just enough orange juice to make them barely start to float. add in sugar to taste you can add more at the end if need be. cook on med until most of the oj is evaporated. then grate in a generous amount of nutmeg and add cinnamon and perhaps a bit more sugar. you can also add in brandy or cointreau at this point. cook on low for a few minutes more then it's ready. keeps for several days in the fridge so this is good to do on say the 23'rd of dec

    i'll get the cornbread recipe out tomorrow then tell you how to turn that into cornbread and sage stuffing...mmmmmmmmmmmmmm
    founder of Frugal Genius UK (Yahoo Groups)
  • Chris25Chris25 Forumite
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    All your Christmas recipes on here... :xmassign:
  • zarzar Forumite
    284 posts
    At least two recipes from celebrity chefs I've seen recommend removing the legs and cooking separately so you don't have to overcook the breast.

    Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recommends using the legs, wings, neck and giblets to make coq au vin and then roasting the rest unstuffed fast without drying out the breast (his recipe is in the meat cookbook but I don't like to post the whole thing here as not sure about copyright, but I'm sure there are lots of versions on the net).

    Jamie Oliver has a recipe in the first edition of delicious magazine (December 2003) for turkey with brasied leeks where you remove the legs and chop them in half and roastthem for half an hour with olive oil and onion. Then you add lots of leeks (6!) and dried porchini and wine and herbs and garlic, cover the breast with butter and bacon and put it on top of the legs/leeks that are in the roasting tray and roast for 2 hours or so.

    edit: just noticed this won't help OP as they don't have a whole turkey but hopefully might help someone else!
    This Christmas will be the first time we've cooked a turkey as we have visitors for the first time - had a chicken last year. I've done a big chicken using the Jamie Oliver recipe and it was scrummy. :snow_grin I think I will try HFW's suggestion this Christmas as hopefully it will give a good mixture of tasty roasted meat that isn't too dry, and tender fall off the bone meat from the legs au vin. He would be proud of us as we have ordered our turkey from our local organic farm shop 3 miles away. :rudolf:
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