Turkey and other meat

A picture of Delia's Turkey and other meat how to cook guide

Q I have the same problem with my turkey every year. How can I tell when it is cooked?
A Delia shows you exactly how to check that your turkey is cooked in her step-by-step guide

Q I’ve never cooked a turkey before and I’ve heard that they can take an eternity to defrost. Can you shed some light?
A Delia always prefers to buy a fresh turkey, as some frozen ones that are available can be rather wet and bland. However if you do buy a frozen one, you must follow certain guidelines.
Most shop-bought frozen turkeys will have defrosting instructions on the packaging and you should follow these carefully. If, however, you have no instructions, the main thing to do is make sure you allow enough time – it’s advisable to defrost poultry in the fridge as this ensures that the outside of the bird does not become unacceptably warm whilst the middle is still defrosting. The rule of thumb is a minimum of 24 hours of defrosting time for every 5lb/2.25kg of turkey, so be warned: it can take 4-5 days to defrost a 20lb turkey. A completely thawed bird will last for an additional 1-2 days in the refrigerator. If you need to speed up the defrosting time, it is safe to defrost the bird in a large sink of cold water. Submerge the wrapped bird in cold water and check or change the water every 30 minutes to make sure it remains cold. Allow 30 minutes per pound to defrost in this way. Remove the giblets as soon as you are able. For Delia’s guide to a less stressful day, cooking your turkey for Christmas, see:
The last 36 hours

Q I’m nervous about what to do with turkey once it’s cooked. What’s the best way to carve it?
A Delia writes:‘First of all make sure you allow your freshly roasted turkey to rest before attempting to carve it – this means that all the juices that bubble up to the surface during cooking are able to flow back into the flesh, ensuring it stays succulent. Cover the turkey with foil and leave it to stand for about 45 minutes – it will be fine at kitchen temperature.’

Also, when you’re ready to carve, follow this sequence, as recommended by Paul Kelly of Kelly Turkeys:

Hold the leg by the end knuckle, cut close to the body and twist off. Repeat with the other leg.
Carve the dark meat off the legs.
Similarly, remove the wings and cut in half if too big.
Slice the breast meat from one half then repeat with the other.

Q Help! I need inspiration. What will I do with all the leftover turkey?!!!
A Before you get too bored with turkey, don’t try to disguise it too much and just serve it with salad and pickles or in sandwiches. Once you tire of that, check out our What's Left recipes

Q I’m catering for 10 hungry relatives this year. How do I know what size turkey to buy?
A Delia loves Kelly free-range turkeys, which are for sale on the website in the following size bands:

Small, 4kg, serves about 6-8 people
Medium, 5-6kg, serves about 10-12 people
Large, 8kg, serves about 12-16 people

Read Delia’s thoughts on turkey and other poultry

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