Top turkey

This Christmas we've asked the professionals for their top tips, to make sure your cooking is as stress-free as possible. Check out Quaglino's Head Chef James Hulme's advice for choosing and preparing your Christmas turkey,below... 


  • Try and buy the best Turkey you can, from a butcher or farmers market. I’d recommend a bronze feathered turkey, free range if possible, organic and dry plucked. Some farmers will hang their birds for a week to give a more mature and gamey flavour.
  • When you’re looking for the best bird avoid any with wet or blotchy skin. But don’t go for the prettiest, as perfect looking birds aren’t usually the best, if they are symmetrical and blemish free they’ve probably not had the best life and not moved around much.
  • When it comes to preparation, your butcher will do everything you ask, even removing and de-boning the legs as I like to do.
  • To reduce the stress of over-cooking turkey, I like to remove the legs and do them separately. For the crown it’s nice to poach it in a full flavoured chicken stock until the meat is firm – if you have meat thermometer check the temperature reaches 68°C – then dry off and roast until golden, about 20 minutes. This will keep the white meat moist.
  • When it comes to the legs are nice if the bone is removed and filled with your stuffing mix (I use sausage meat, dried apricots, chestnuts, sage, onion, and instead of breadcrumbs I actually use Paxo). Then rolled and wrapped in bacon; giving a much smaller joint to easily cook in a shorter amount of time.
  • Never worry about having everything ready at the same time, the meat can come out and happily rest on the side whilst the vegetables are cooking. I recommend you leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving.
  • Some of your vegetables such as sprouts, beans, carrot and swede mash can be cooked the day before and cooled. Then quickly reheated on the day, I even boil my potatoes for roasting the day before, this makes them fluffier and crisp as the fridge slightly dries them out.