How to cook your Christmas Bird
How to cook your Turkey, Goose or Duck
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- 1 Turkey, Goose or Duck
- 1-2 onions or a handful of shallots
- A couple of clementines or an orange (optional)
- A bundle of wintry herbs: rosemary, bay and/or thyme
- A few crushed garlic cloves (3-4)
- A few star anise or a cinnamon stick (optional)
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Take your bird out of the fridge and unwrap at least an hour before cooking.
- Place the bird in a roasting tin, breast-side up. Heat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7. Cut an onion into 4-6 pieces. Put some in the cavity. Halve or quarter an orange or clementine. Pop inside the cavity with a few sprigs of rosemary, thyme and/or bay and a few garlic cloves. Tuck in a few star anise or a cinnamon stick to add to the party of flavours, if you like.
- Dust with salt and pepper – be generous with salt as it crisps up the skin. Rub in the salt and pepper. Put a few more hunks of onion and some rosemary around the bird. Flip the bird over so it's breast side down. (The generous layer of fat on the back, drips down and bastes the breasts as it cooks). Do the salt and pepper rub again. If you see any feather stubs, not to fret - they're from the bird being hand-plucked and they burn away when roasted.
- Roast for 20-30 mins, till nicely bronzed.
Turn the oven down to 170°C/Gas 3 and cook for the following times
- • 4kg - 2 hrs • 5kg - 2 ½ hrs • 6kg - 3 hrs • 7kg - 3 ½ hrs • 8kg - 4 hrs • 9kg - 4 ½ hrs
- Use your insticts. Ovens differ. Your good judgement doesn't. If it seems done before time's up, do the pierce test. Pierce the fattest part of the leg with the tip of a knife. If the juices run clear, it’s done.
- Carefully flip the bird over to brown the breast. Crank the heat back up to 220°C/Gas 7. Roast for 20 mins, or till the breast is nicely golden.
- Rest the bird (and yourself) for at least an hour before carving. A chef's trick is to let it rest as long as it cooked.
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