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How to Cook a Turkey & my Favourite Stuffing Recipe

The turkey is the centrepiece of both the traditional Christmas Dinner, Thanksgiving Dinner and the 4th of July Dinner and it's great for any other special occasion, which is why cooking it properly is so important. Mess it up and not even the best side dishes will save you! 

Turkey is becoming very popular because it is relatively low in cholesterol and high in vitamins that boost the immune system. It's also very juicy and tasty! 

So here are some tips on how to prepare & cook your perfect Turkey! 

A juicy & tender whole roasted turkey really does add to the sense of occasion at Christmas or Any time!
1. First things first. Buy a Fresh Turkey if you can. Don't buy a turkey that has been pre-stuffed as mishandling or incorrect cooking can cause bacteria to multiply inside the stuffing.

2. It's so important that if you're buying a frozen bird, that you thaw your turkey completely before cooking. If it’s done improperly, bacteria can multiply to a point where even oven temperatures won't be able to kill all of them off. This can cause food poisoning. 
The safest thing to do is to thaw your turkey in the fridge, but if you don't have the room, put it into a roasting tray in a cool room, covered with a dry cloth until it defrosts. You should leave the turkey in its original wrapper until you're ready to cook it.

3. If you're placing the turkey in the fridge (raw meat should always go the bottom shelf) also put it on a tray to catch all the juices that may leak out.  It takes approximately 2 days for a 15 pound turkey to fully defrost.

4. Don't wash your Turkey. The water splashing around will spread more bacteria than you are washing off it.

5. Add some extra flavour by loosely filling the cavity of the bird with some peeled vegetables like carrots, celery, onion & garlic which work great together. 

6. Before roasting, coat the outside of the turkey with real butter and season it with sea-salt and ground black pepper. Cover the complete bird with streaky bacon to add more flavour and to keep it from browning too much. Don’t forget to cover the legs too!

7. Loosely cover the complete bird with tin foil and scrunch it up around the edge of the tray. Once you get the turkey in the oven, resist the temptation to open the oven door! Every time you open the door the temperature drops and all the moisture escapes increasing the likelihood of a dry bird.

8. Have your oven Pre-heated to 180°C (170°C for fan assisted ovens), 365°F, so that the turkey is going into a hot oven.

The simple rules for Turkey cooking times are: 

If it weighs Less than 4kg (8½Lbs) weight cook for 20 minutes per kg
then add 70 minutes extra time.

If it weighs More than 4kg (8½Lbs) weight cook for 20 minutes per kg
and add 90 minutes extra time.

  • To Convert Pounds (lbs) to Kilograms (kg) multiply by 0.46
  • To Convert Kilograms (kg) to Pounds (lbs) multiply by 2.2

Here's a cooking Time example:
20 lbs weight Turkey = 20 x 0.46 = 9.2kg weight

9.2 kg x 20mins =184 minutes.
Add 90 = 2
74 minutes. 
Divide this by 60 (minutes in an hour) = 4 hours and 35 minutes Turkey Cooking Time.




8. About 30 minutes before the turkey should be done, remove the foil from the breast to crisp up the skin.

9. Test the turkey using a sharp pointed knife by inserted the knife the meaty area above the top of the leg. Push in the blade and the gently ease down on it. Juice from the turkey will run down the blade.
If the juices run clear then it is cooked. If there are traces of pink in it give it another half an hour in the oven and test it again.


If you have a cooking thermometer ensure that the centre of the thickest parts return a temp of 75°C.

10. After you take the turkey out of the oven let it rest, under the loosened foil, for about 15 minutes before carving. This lets the hot juices relax and spread evenly through the meat, giving a moist and juicy bird.

No. 11. Relax and Don't Panic... :)

My Favourite Stuffing Mix

This is a stuffing recipe that I have used for years. It is versatile and adaptable and can be used with any type of meat. This makes enough for 8 people - generous portions!

This is my recipe but you can add whatever herbs you like to your stuffing!

My Ingredients:
250g (10oz) butter
200g (8oz) diced onion
100g (4oz) diced red onion
100g (4oz) grated carrot
1 tblsp chopped thyme
1 tblsp chopped parsley
1/2 tspn cracked black pepper
2 cloves garlic diced
1 tablespoon of Mixed herbs
300g (12oz) white breadcrumbs made with crusts and all
300g (12oz) wholemeal breadcrumbs made with crusts and all
Use Gluten Free Bread if you wish

My Method:
1. Simply place the butter and all other ingredients, except the crumbs, on a medium heat and cook gently, stirring, until the onions and other veg are soft.

2. Add the breadcrumbs and mix in well until the crumbs have absorbed all the butter and juices.

3. If the stuffing feels a little dry (depending on the type of day, the weather, the heat of the kitchen or one of another hundred amazingly uncontrollable conditions) I tend to add a little splash of my favourite white wine at this stage and mix well and then add a little of the cooking juices from the cooked turkey just before serving.

Enjoy your Turkey!

zack

Kelly's Butchers launch a New Vegetarian White Pudding

Kelly’s Butchers, in Newport, County Mayo, are well known for their award winning black and white puddings and for their sausages.

They’ve just officially launched two new products - Kelly’s Vegetarian High Protein Pudding and Kelly’s Hazlett. Both products were prize winners at the recent Blás na hÉireann Irish Food Awards.


Why would a butcher make a vegetarian breakfast pudding? "It’s simple really," says Sean Kelly, "Our customers kept asking for it!"

Kelly’s Vegetarian High Protein Pudding

A cooked breakfast is a tasty treat and a great start to the day. However the vegetarian breakfast plate has looked a little empty in the pudding department, but now Kelly’s Butchers have the answer – the delicious Kelly’s Vegetarian High Protein Pudding.


Kelly’s have used their years of practice to create a clever combination of spices with a soya base which gives a great texture and an exceptional flavour experience. No wonder it was a Silver Award Winner at the 2016 Blás na hÉireann Irish Food Awards!

Kelly’s Vegetarian High Protein Pudding is available in 280g pack (known as chubbs in the trade) which is exactly the same size as Kelly’s traditional Black and White Puddings.

Kelly’s Hazlett 

It’s been quite a while since I tasted "Hazlett", an old-fashioned traditional pork meatloaf. Kelly’s Butchers are always on the lookout for something different and have decided to reintroduce this family recipe. Fresh leeks, fresh carrots and a secret blend of spices have put a modern extra bite into this old favourite.


Hazlett was traditionally used as a sandwich filling, or cut into chunks and served in a salad or with pickles and cheese or you can cut it thick and grill or fry it like a pudding. It's also packaged in 280g chubbs.

Kelly’s Vegetarian High Protein Pudding and Kelly’s Hazlett are available in Kelly’s Butchers Shop, Newport, Co. Mayo and via the website along with many other products that can be purchased online at www.kellysbutchers.com.


10 Things to Know About... Beef and Beer, on Rte1 this Monday 5th December

This Monday, 5th December, RTE presenters Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, Kathriona Devereux and Jonathan McCrea are back with another program in the series: ‘10 Things to Know About’ which showcases the weird and wonderful Irish science behind aspects of modern life; from beef and beer to botox and bats!



Each week the presenters investigate a different topic of the research being done in Irish society.
In episode four of 10 Things to Know About... Beef and Beer, the presenters look at what makes Irish beef so popular, the factors in creating the perfect steak and also the rise of the Irish Craft Beer industry.



Ireland is famous for it’s food and drink; from dairy produce to beef and of course a good ole pint of the black stuff- but how much do we really know about what makes Irish food so special?

What’s the Beef:
Irish beef is renowned throughout the world for it’s quality and taste- so what makes it so special? Kathriona travels to Amsterdam to meet Alain Alders, Michelin starred chef to discuss why he values Irish beef so highly.


As a member of Bord Bia’s Chefs Irish Beef Club Alder’s gives us insight into just how popular Irish beef is the finest-dining  establishments throughout Europe.

One of the biggest factors in maintaining a high level of quality beef is how the animals are handled after death. Teagasc's Paul Allen shows Kathriona how they go about post-mortem handling of beef and the factors which impact on the final taste on our plates.


Try a Little Tenderness:
Post mortem handling is huge factor in high quality beef, but the program asks "Could the future of the perfect steak lie in genetics?" Jonathan meets Teagasc’s Dr. Donagh Berry who is looking to develop a ground-breaking first genetics test which could predict the tenderness of an animal’s offspring.

Also in the show they ask the question "What if you could create the perfect steak?"
There’s a whole weird science around it- Fergus reveals that scientists are working on it, but have racked up a whopper bill in the process…



Getting Crafty:
What goes hand in hand with a great burger? A cold beer! Ireland may be famous for Guinness, but the last decade has witnessed the emergence of the new kid on the block - the craft beer.
It's a booming industry with a projected €59m turnover for 2016 and  Aoibhinn looks at the explosion of the craft beer industry in Ireland and why this is so.


Aoibhinn visits Seamus O'Hara at O’Hara’s Brewery, where they see the key ingredients and processes that go into making a perfect pint.

Watch the program on RTE 1 Television at 8.30pm this Monday 5th December 2016.


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The Irish Food Guide Blog www.IrishFoodGuide.ie includes news, foodie chat, recipes, award results, links and other general information on the Food & Tourism Industry in Ireland.

It is written & curated by Zack Gallagher, Donegal Town, Co Donegal, Ireland.

“My Blog is a slice of the Irish Food ‘Network’. I’m a Chef with over 27 years experience and also have a background in media. I’m passionate about Irish Food Tourism and I believe that a rising tide really can lift all boats!”

Supporting Irish Food created by passionate producers and encouraging the Irish food & hospitality industry to use modern social media methods to increase their business.

Zack is building an all-Ireland Food Tourism network to assist Tour Operators bringing guests into Ireland to connect easily with artisan Irish food producers, so as they can experience the provenance and personality behind our Irish food Visit www.IrishFoodTours.ie

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