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Christmas Roast Turkey & Ham

If you want an easy and stress free Christmas day in the kitchen then this is for you. I have calculated the cooking times for various weights of turkey in a handy chart below. My “No Hassle Turkey & Ham” guide below is a life saver, it will make your life so much easier Christmas day and even allow you to spend a lot more time with your family rather than in the kitchen. This doesn’t compromise on the quality or flavour, in fact you will end up with delicious, perfectly moist turkey, It even works if you overcook the turkey!

Christmas dinner is my favourite meal of the year to cook. A lot of people get stressed about it as getting the timing right can be really difficult. This recipe will help you get it right this year and ensure everything runs smoothly on the day. Below is a chart with step by step times for 6 different turkey weights. Check the weight of yours, (it will be on the packaging or receipt) then follow the times on the chart for that weight. The cooking time is calculated using a simple formula: cook for 20 minutes at 180°C or gas mark 4, then the rest of the time at 160°C or gas mark 3. The rule with turkey is 20 minutes per 500g, plus 20 minutes extra. Rest it for 15-30 minutes before you carve. I love to create a nice rub to on my turkey before roasting, it which adds a great flavour.

This is for a 2.5kg/ 5.5lb bird, see the table below for cooking times for other weights.

Ingredients:

• BiaMaith Turkey Seasoning or

• 1 tbsp paprika

• 2 tsp salt

• 2 tsp white pepper

• 4 tbsp olive oil

Method:

1. Mix together then rub all over the turkey before roasting, or use your BiaMaith turkey seasoning, half the pack for 1 – 2.5kg or the full pack for 5kg or over.

Turkey Cooking Tips and Things to Note:

Remove the turkey from the fridge 1 hour before you plan on cooking it, longer if it is a really big one, say 1.5 hours. This allows the turkey cook more evenly.

  1. Place the turkey in a roasting tin, cover with foil, and follow the chart below to suit the weight.
  2. Remove the foil just before you baste for the first time. Basting involves spooning the turkey’s juices over it during cooking to keep it moist. Removing the foil will allow the skin to go brown and crispy during the last stage of cooking.
  3. Resting meat is very important – rest a small bird for 15 minutes and a larger bird for 30 minutes. Loosely cover with foil to help keep it warm.
  4. I don’t recommend stuffing a turkey if you are an inexperienced cook and the chart below isn’t for a stuffed turkey. If you do stuff yours, ensure the stuffing is piping hot in the centre.
  5. To check if your turkey is cooked, pierce the thickest part between the breast and the leg with a knife or skewer.
  6. The juices must run clear with no trace of any pink or blood. If not, pop back into the oven for 15 minutes or so, then test again.
  7. I strongly advise getting a food thermometer as it is the best and easiest way to tell if your food is thoroughly cooked. Check in a few spots to ensure the temperature is 72°C or above all over.

Roasting a turkey can be daunting for many people but please don’t worry, it really is very easy once you take your time and ensure you follow the method and recipe you have chosen to follow, be it mine or someone elses.

Take your time and plan each step in your head, read the recipe and picture yourself following each step, picture yourself turning on your oven, getting the roasting tin from your press and so on. Do this again and again in the days up to Christmas, trust me, it really will help you when you start cooking for real. It helps you get familiar with every step you must follow and it also helps you see any issues you may have, be it needing a bigger roasting tin or to adjust the oven shelf or maybe you are low or don’t have one of the ingredients like a seasoning, oil etc.

Cooking your Turkey

  • Remove the turkey from the fridge 1 hour before you plan on cooking it, longer if it is a really big one, say 1.5 hours. This allows the turkey cook more evenly.
  • The rule when cooking is 20 minutes per 450g and 20 minutes over.
  • Sprinkle 1/2 your BiaMaith Turkey Seasoning over the turkey or you can also use 1 tbsp paprika mixed with 2 tsp coarse ground black pepper (use3/4 tsp if using ground) and 1 tsp salt. Cover the turkey loosely with tin foil for ¾ of the cooking time, then remove it for the remaining time to allow the skin to brown.
  • It is important you allow the cooked turkey to rest, Cover with foil to keep it warm and allow to rest for 10 to 30 minutes depending on the size of the bird.
  • Follow my guide and do all this Christmas even morning then allow the turkey to cool before portioning for the next day as per my guide.
  • You can choose to coat the turkey breasts in rashers while cooking which will give it even more flavour and help keep the meat moist. Remove them when you remove the foil to allow the meat to brown.

Turkey Cooking Times by Weight

Weight1KG/ 2lb1.5KG/ 3.3lb2KG/ 4.4lb2.5KG/ 5.5lb5KG/ 11lb7.5KG/ 16.5lb
Pre-heat oven12:2012:0011:3011:1009:3007:50
Start cooking at 200c, 180c fan, GM612:4512:2011:5011:3009:5008:10
Turn oven to 180C, 160C fan, GM412:4512:2011:5011:3009:5008:10
Baste, remove foil13:2513:1513:1012:5012:1009:30
Baste    13:1010:30
Baste     11:30
Baste     12:30
Remove & rest13:4513:4513:3013:3013:3013:30
Carve14:00:14:0014:0014:0014:0014:00
Baste means to remove the turkey from the oven, then spoon the cooking juices from the tin over the turkey before placing back in the oven for the remaining cooking time. This helps keep the turkey moist.

The Ham

Cooking a ham is very easy, you simply pop it into cold water so it is covered then allow it sit for up to 4 hours before changing the water then boiling it until cooked. You can also choose to change the water halfway through cooking rather than soaking the ham in cold water. If you choose to do it this way then you can keep the water to cook your potatoes in, which will give them a lovely flavour.

Cooking your Ham

Either soak your ham or change the water halfway through cooking as explained above. Pop the ham into a pot then cover with cold water.

Add:

Ingredients:

• 1 Pack of the BiaMaith boiled ham seasoning or

• 1 cinnamon stick

• 1 tbsp english mustard or powder

• 3 star anise

• 6-10 cloves

• 3 tbsp brown sugar or 1 glass of coke

Method

Place the pot with the water, ham and above ingredients onto your hob, bring to the boil then boil for 25 minutes per 450g and 25 minutes over.

Once cooked, remove from the water and allow to drain.

Palce onto a roastig tin then either remove the fat or cut criss cross lines though then cover with the glaze or mustard, sugar and spice mix.

Roast in your pre-heated oven 180C or GM4 for about 45 minutes. If you use a glaze, remove the ham from the oven and baste with the glaze every 15 minutes or so.

Remove from the oven, allow to rest for 10 minutes then carve and serve. Or allow the ham to cool if following my no hassle turkey and ham guide below.

No Hassle Turkey and Ham

Christmas morning can be hectic, especially if you have kids or family coming to stay. Having to cope with dinner for a pile of people on top of everything else can be stressful. This recipe will show you how to make life a lot easier by preparing your turkey and ham in advance. It gets two of the biggest jobs out of the way and eases some of the stress.

  • Roast your turkey as per my turkey recipe
  • Boil then glaze your ham
  •  Make your stuffing of your choice

Method

  1. Allow the turkey and ham to cool then carve even slices from each.
  2. Lay a nice sized slice of ham on a baking tray or roasting tin, top this with a ball of stuffing, then some of the brown turkey meat followed by 2 nice slices of turkey. These last two slices should overlap and cover the rest.
  3. Repeat until you have as many portions put together as you need. Use another roasting tin or baking tray if needed.
  4. Using the roasting tins as a guide, cut a piece of baking parchment so it just fits inside the tin, then soak it in water.
  5. Pour about 50ml of water in with the turkey and ham portions, cover with the baking parchment, then cover the whole tin with tin foil. Store in the fridge until needed.
  6. To re-heat, pre-heat your oven to 180°C or gas mark 4.
  7. Place the roasting tins or bring trays in and leave for 15-20 minutes. Dish up all the vegetables and spuds as you normally do for Christmas.
  8. Remove the trays from the oven and then carefully remove the foil and parchment. You now have beautifully moist and perfectly portioned turkey and ham ready to serve.
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