TURKEY is the centrepiece of any festive feast, but it can be a pain to get right.
It’s got the reputation of being dry and dull, needing to be slathered in cranberry sauce to liven it up, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
Whether you’re going for a big bird to feed the whole family or something a little different, here are some tips and ideas for getting it right. After all, it’s the star of the show.
If you’re going the whole hog and cooking up an entire bird from scratch, then the first thing you’ll need a is a good quality turkey.
It’s important to go for a free range turkey, as birds who are happy and allowed to roam about and eat as much as they like have the best taste.
You can pick up a Rumburgh Farm Free Range Hand Finished Bronze Turkey at Aldi for £8.99 per kg from 19 December (when all of the fresh meat for Christmas is available in store).
The turkeys are reared in open woodland and hand plucked and hung for 7 days to ensure that they are flavoursome and succulent. They serve 11-15 people, with plenty left for sandwiches.
The main problem with turkey is that it often comes out of the oven dry. This is often due to over cooking and under basting – and these are easy issues to fix.
Before your get cooking, weigh your turkey then head here to find out how long to cook it for. Make sure you keep it covered in foil until the last half an hour to keep all of the delicious moistness in.
When it comes to basting, start off by putting a generous amount of butter under the skin, or drizzling olive oil over the bird. Then, you need to remember to baste the bird with its own juices every 20-30 minutes so that it stays nice and succulent.
Finally, make sure you give it an hour to rest once it’s out of the oven. Keep it wrapped in tin foil to keep the heat in.
If you follow these steps you’ll have a perfectly moist turkey as the undisputed star of your meal.
For the smaller crowd
If there are a smaller group of you for Christmas lunch and you don’t fancy the pressure of cooking a whole bird your best bet is to pick up a turkey crown.
These come in various sizes and serve 7-11 people. You still need to season it yourself, as well as basting it and resting it, but it’ll be easier to cook and to carve.
No assembly required
For those of you looking for something a little bit special with minimal effort required, go for something like this stuffed turkey parcel.
Tender, succulent turkey parcel, filled with sage and shallot stuffing, topped with bacon and a prosecco and orange glaze…is your mouth watering yet? You can pick one up in the frozen section at Aldi for £8.99.
The best bit? All you need to do is defrost it the night before and pop it in the oven. Pop your feet up, pour yourself a sherry and prepare for the oohs and aahs when you carve it for your guests. N.B. we won’t tell Santa if you lie and say you made it yourself.
Fancy something a bit different?
If turkey really isn’t your bag that’s okay too. There are loads of different meats that can easily be the jewel in the crown of your festive feast.
Have you ever thought about trying duck? This Fresh British Easy Carve Duck, £13.99 from Aldi, is just as special as turkey.
It’s partially deboned for fuss-free serving and is filled with a delicious pork and clementine stuffing to make it extra Christmassy.
Of course, if you were being super indulgent you could always serve it ALONGSIDE your turkey. Come on, it IS Christmas.
For the veggies
This year put the tasteless veggie option in the bin and surprise and delight your vegetarians with something special and delicious.
This Beetroot and Brie Nut Roast, £3.99 from Aldi, is far from bland and boring. Topped with a rich sauce it’s an eye catching rival to turkey that even the most committed carnivores won’t be able to resist.
Although the turkey is the centrepiece to meal make sure you get the trimmings right too. From roasted veg to surprisingly delicious sprouts check out all these great recipes to make your accompaniments super special.
Fresh turkeys are available in store at Aldi from 19 December, so make sure you head in to pick up yours so you don’t miss out. Whilst you’re at it you can pick up your veg too. This week’s Super 6 includes potatoes, sprouts and carrots – essential for your Christmas lunch.
For more festive feast ideas plus Christmas cooking hints and tips, head here.