Many people feel intimidated with the thought of roasting and struggling with a large turkey, leg of lamb or a huge chicken. The thought of burning or under-cooking the poultry or meat is definitely very worrying for those who have not attempted roasting before. However, there is always a first time.
Start with a smaller bird.
Make sure your oven is big enough for it.
Here are the simple basic steps to remember. You may not want to be too engrossed with all those recipe books out there because they can be very confusing. Trust your instinct.
STEP ONE – SEASON OVERNIGHT
The key to any good roasted or grilled meat or poultry is the seasoning time. It actually doesn’t really matter what you use to season but rather how long. I have made very nice roasted turkey for Christmas using only brandy, salt and pepper. Season and leave it overnight in the fridge. Wrap or keep it in a casserole, leave at the normal fridge, not the freezer. Time it right, take your bird/meat out at least 3 hours before you want to roast it. This way, it won’t be too cold inside. Anyway, if you have seasoned well with salt, the meat will not go bad in three hours.
STEP TWO – CHECK AND PROTECT
Aluminium foil is essential to make sure that you get a perfectly roasted chicken or turkey. Cover the part nearest to the heating element. I roast my chicken/turkey breast side up. So, I shield it with a piece of aluminium foil. You can see the chicken breast is not burn but it has been cooked. If any part of the poultry is turning too brown, just tear off another piece of foil and cover up that part. It is a chore, I know but it is worth it.
STEP THREE – TEST
Normally, a huge bird will take at least 2 hours of roasting at 180 deg celcius. I normally use 180 deg celcius because my oven has a rotating thingie so I don’t need 200 deg celcius (usual recommended temperature). To check if the chicken is cooked, just insert a skewers or chopstick into the thickest part of the meat. The thigh usually takes the longest time to cook. If you stab that sharp skewer in and clear juices flow out, the meat is cooked. If you see blood, you will need another 30 minutes at least. If you have a microwave cum normal grill, this will not happen.
Here’s how I roast my chicken/turkey:
1st 10 minutes – Grill + microwave (remember, no aluminium foil or it will cause spark)
next 1 hr 30 minutes – Baking temperature at 180 deg celcius with aluminium foil
last 20 minutes – Grill or crank up the temperature to 200 deg celcius to brown the parts that are not browned yet.
STEP FOUR – BASTING
Pardon if the sauce looks obscene. LOL. I wanted to spread it across and now, it does look like a male’s organ. Hahaha. Don’t apply too much sauces during the roasting process because they tend to burn. When you are sure your meat is cooked, then, only splatter them. I used teriyaki sauce. Anything like honey and butter will give that nice sheen to your meat.
STEP FIVE – BROWNING
After covering the bird with your choice of sauce, put it back to the oven for a quick browning.
STEP SIX – ENJOY
I have seasoned the chicken well and my children don’t even want to pour the gravy I made with the roasting juice. The meat is good as it is. With the slow roasting time, the meat is really tender and good to eat.
In short, if you have taken time to fuss over the roast, the dish will turn out great. No doubt you may need to open and close the oven, take the chicken out to baste and etc, the effort is well worth it. A homemade roast chicken is way better than those you can get cheaply from the supermarkets’ deli.
I hope these few steps will help you to roast a turkey for Christmas.