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French roast turkey

French cooks do not 'dry roast' their poultry as is most often the custom here. Instead the bird is covered and roasted with stock in the roasting tin, which keeps the flesh moist. Turkey is the ideal bird for this method of cooking as turkey meat, especially on the larger frozen birds, does tend to dry out quickly. The traditional French stuffing for turkey is Chestnut and sausagemeat, but any favourite stuffing can be used with equally good results.
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ingredients

1 turkey
100 - 175 g (4 - 6 oz) butter, melted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
900 ml (1 1/2 pints) turkey stock (made with the giblets)
1 tbsp flour
1 wineglass red wine or port

method

1. Wash the turkey and dry thoroughly with a clean tea-towel or kitchen paper. Put the prepared stuffing into the turkey cavities, both neck and body, and tie or sew with trussing string, securing with skewers if necessary.

2. Brush the bird liberally with half the butter and sprinkle with plenty of salt and black pepper. Put the bird on a rack in a roasting tin.

3. Brush the remaining butter onto greaseproof paper or foil and use to cover the bird. The amount of butter used will vary depending on the size of the turkey.

4. Pour 600 ml (1 pint) (1 pint) of the stock into the roasting tin under the rack and roast the turkey in a warm oven (160°C/325°F or Gas Mark 3) for the required cooking time (see table), basting the bird occasionally with the stock and adding more stock if necessary.

5. Remove the greaseproof paper or foil for the last 15 minutes to brown the skin. To test if the bird is cooked, pierce the thigh with a skewer; if the juices run clear it is ready to serve.

6. Remove from the oven and transfer to a hot serving platter, discarding the greaseproof paper or foil, trussing string and skewers (if used). Remove any surplus fat from the roasting tin, leaving the stock and sediment. Pour the hot stock and any remaining cold stock into a jug and set aside.

7. Put the roasting tin on top of the stove and stir in the flour. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly, then gradually add the stock and red wine or port.

8. Bring to the boil, stirring, then lower the heat and simmer gently for a further 1 to 2 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Serve separately in a gravy boat.

table for cooking turkey

For an 8-10 lb (3.5-4.5 kg) turkey:
Cook for 30 minutes then reduce the temperature to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C) and cook for a further 21/2-3 hours. Then give it a final 30 minutes (uncovered) at gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).

For a 12-14 lb (5.5-6.5 kg) turkey:
Cook for 40 minutes then reduce the temperature to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C) and cook for a further 3-31/2 hours. Then give it a final 30 minutes (uncovered) at gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).

For a 15-20 lb (6.75-9 kg) turkey:
Cook for 45 minutes then reduce the temperature to gas mark 3, 325°F (170°C) and cook for a further 4-5 hours. Then give it a final 30 minutes (uncovered) at gas mark 6, 400°F (200°C).

To tell if the turkey is cooked, pierce the thickest part of the leg with a skewer then press the skewer against the leg to see if the juices run clear without any trace of pink – if the juices are clear, the turkey is cooked.

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