Waitrose & Partners expects more Brits than ever will embrace the American holiday – Thanksgiving, this Thursday (28th November), with online searches for ‘thanksgiving’ up 49% on Waitrose.com.
Dishes classically associated with the festive holiday such as pumpkin pie, turkey and even sweet potatoes with marshmallows are set to be seen on dinner tables across the UK. Online searches for ‘thanksgiving turkey’ are up over 270% on Waitrose.com compared to last year. Searches for pumpkin pie recipes have also increased, with recipe searches for ‘Pumpkin pie with walnut cinnamon crunch’ and ‘Pumpkin Pie with Vanilla’ up 17% and 16% respectively.
Nick Coleman, Waitrose & Partners turkey buyer, comments
“We continue to see the popularity of turkey in November which we believe is down to more customers celebrating Thanksgiving with the traditional centrepiece. Cooking the perfect turkey can be daunting for some, so Thanksgiving also offers the perfect opportunity for hosts to practice their roast ahead of Christmas entertaining.”
TOP TIPS FOR COOKING A TURKEY
To help cooks across the nation roast their turkey to perfection, Waitrose & Partners Cookery School Head Chef, Andy Morris, shares his top tips for cooking the perfect turkey
KNOW YOUR OVEN
It’s really important to know your oven – a general rule is to cook a turkey at 180°C (160°C fan) in a preheated oven with a suggested timing of 35 minutes per kg. One thing to consider is that ovens don’t always run at the exact temperature on the dial, so clever gadgets like an oven thermometer will help you find out the exact temperature and help you get the best result.
PREP THE TURKEY
When it comes to preparing the turkey we advise that you don’t wash the bird. Splashing water can spread the bacteria that cause food poisoning, so simply take the bird out of the packaging and place in a roasting tin – it’s as easy as that.
If you are stuffing the turkey our recommendation is to loosely fill the neck end only, this will allow the heat to circulate around the bird more easily.
COOKING THE BIRD
Cook the turkey breast-side down for the first half of the cooking time; this will keep the lean breast meat succulent. Turn it over halfway through and baste with the juices occasionally.
Another top tip would be to tuck foil around the bird but not over the tin, to protect the turkey from the drying effect of the heat of the oven.
GET THE GOLDEN GLOW
For a wonderfully bronzed skin, melt 50g of salted butter and add a tablespoon of maple syrup. Brush the bird with this mix every 30 minutes during the cooking process and you will get a wonderful caramel colour on the skin.
MAKE USE OF EVERY PART
If you are buying a whole turkey, every Waitrose whole turkey comes with giblets. We’d recommend removing these from the turkey before cooking but don’t throw away – they make fantastic gravy. Check out our turkey gravy recipe.
Resting the turkey is so important. It allows the meat to relax and stay moist and tender. Wrap in foil and allow to rest for at least 30 minutes, but the longer the better (up to 1-2 hours). Don’t worry about the turkey going cold, it will stay warm enough to eat plus your hot gravy will heat it up again.
There are a few simple rules to follow when carving the turkey, such as removing the legs and wings first and then completely removing the breast by carefully sliding the knife down the side of the keel bone to carve the breast off the carcass. Get step by step instructions on carving your turkey like a pro, with our simple carving guide.