How to make perfect roast turkey
Don't cook the turkey whole
"I'm all about a turkey on Christmas day. It's a once-a-year thing so why not? Cooking the whole turkey together and getting it just right is tough, so I'd recommend removing the legs and cooking the crown separately - that way you've got a lot more control in terms of getting the meat just right. Also as turkey can get dry, if you brine the bird for 12 hours before cooking in a light saline solution it will really help to lock the moisture in."
Don't rush the roasties
"Give yourself two hours ahead of everything else to get the potatoes just right. It's all about long and slow cooking - you don't want them on a really high temperature, about 165C is perfect. Boil first, coat them in duck fat and let them go slowly golden - for extra flavour roast them up with garlic, thyme, rosemary or any other hard herbs you like."
Fry don't boil your sprouts
"Forget the traditional boiling method. To get a great flavour I think it's best to really hard fry them in a shallow pan with lots of duck or bacon fat to get that caramelised flavour, then serve them with almonds and crispy smoked bacon."
Mix up your stuffing
"The old sage and rosemary flavour is traditional, but I think you can mix it up. The key with stuffing is to make it rich. Start with a decent sausage meat, add smoked bacon - if you really want to be decadent try shaved truffle - then mandarin zest, chestnuts and lemon thyme."
Don't scrimp on gravy
"Just make sure there's plenty of it to go round - slosh in some white port or madeira as a nice rich, sweet base, add chicken stock, then reduce it down with some butter or flour."
Shay Cooper is head chef at The Goring Hotel
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