Recipe of the Month
Wrap the turkey in foil and then place it in the large roasting tin. If you wrap the tin in foil it will rip as it goes into the oven and the steam will escape.
Stuff the neck cavity only – I tend to cook any stuffing separately, we have more than once forgotten that the stuffing was in the bird until too late! If not putting stuffing into the bird, peel and cut up an onion and push that into the cavities, with a little butter. Weigh the turkey after it has been stuffed to calculate the cooking time.
Slow Roasting the Turkey:
If your turkey weighs more than 16 lb (7kg), put it into the roasting oven for an hour, then transfer to the simmering oven overnight.
For turkeys under 16 lb (7kg), just put into the simmering oven and let the Aga do the rest!
FOR A TOTAL CONTROL AGA, USE THE BAKING OVEN SET TO SLUMBER, THIS IS 120C WHEREAS THE SIMMERING OVEN IS 100C AND NOT HOT ENOUGH TO COOK THE TURKEY.
All Agas cook at slightly different speeds, an older Aga will take longer than a new one, but as a rough guide:
8 – 10 lb (3 – 4½kg) turkeys will take about 8 – 10 hours
10 – 16 lb (4½ - 7kg) turkeys will take about 9 – 12 hours
16 – 22 lb (7 – 10kg) turkeys will take about 10 – 14 hours
Next day, check the turkey mid-morning, it should be almost cooked. Pierce the thigh with a skewer and if the juices run clear from the hole, it is cooked.
The turkey skin will not be brown at this stage; it has steamed in the simmering oven and needs to be moved to the roasting oven for 20 minutes to brown, uncovered. Once it has browned, re-cover it to rest.
If it is completely cooked at 11am and you plan to eat at 3pm, DON’T PANIC! Re-cover with the foil then lay a large bath towel, folded into quarters, or a cot duvet or your fleece jacket, or all three, over it and place it ON TOP OF THE CLOSED SIMMERING PLATE LID and just leave it. It has taken about 12 hours to get really hot and cooked through; it won’t cool down in any sort of hurry!
If it is not cooked through, re-cover and return it to the simmering oven. Check it again in an hour.
Fast Roasting the Turkey:
Put the foil-covered turkey into the roasting oven and cook it.
8 – 10 lb (3 – 4½kg) turkeys will take about 2 hours
10 – 16 lb (4½ - 7kg) turkeys will take about 2 ½ to 3 hours
16 – 22 lb (7 – 10kg) turkeys will take about 3 to 3 ½ hours
Finishing the Turkey (both methods):
When you and the turkey are ready, pour off the juices - this is easiest if you have a second, clean roasting tin and just transfer the bird from one tin to the other, leaving the juices in the first. Put the overnight turkey into the roasting oven, uncovered, for half an hour to brown the breast, while you make the gravy. Once the breast is browned, transfer to a serving plate and allow to rest for 30 minutes before carving.
I have had great success with crowns in the baking oven this year. Allow a third longer than the standard calculated cooking time and just chuck it in, uncovered. Eg. A 4lb joint would normally need 30 minutes per pound plus 20 minutes bonus, or about an hour and a half. Add a third. Two hours. Off you go!
A larger crown can be cooked in the same way as a whole turkey, but it must weigh at least 10lb (5kg) or it will overcook.
A 3.5kg crown should go into the baking oven for 2 hours and 30 minutes, then rest on top of the closed simmering plate lid, covered with foil and a towel, for an hour.
In a 2 oven, roast the crown for a third of the calculated time, uncovered, in the top oven, then transfer to the bottom oven to continue for the entire calculated cooking time, so that you are adding a third to the total calculated cooking time.
I like to slow roast a goose – set it into the grill rack on its high setting. Put the rack into the roasting tin and cover with foil. Put into the simmering oven overnight. In the morning, lift the rack and goose out of the tin and pour off the melted fat (freeze this in ice trays so that you have portion control for roast potatoes all year). Put the rack and goose back into the tin and put into the roasting oven for 30 minutes to brown and crisp.
You can fast roast a goose, but it will spit fat all over the place and you will then have burnt, spat, goose fat smoke in your face every time you open the oven until the end of January.
MOST IMPORTANT – REST THE JOINT, WHATEVER IT IS, BEFORE CARVING!
Serves: 6 – 8
Oven: Aga roasting oven
Prepare ahead: Yes
1 pint (550ml) turkey stock or giblet stock or stock mixed with wine or water and a stock cube
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp turkey fat or the juices from the roasted bird
Salt and pepper
When the turkey has cooked, pour off the juices from the roasting tin. This is easiest if you have a second, clean roasting tin and just transfer the bird from one tin to the other, leaving the juices in the first. Cover the bird with foil and allow it to rest while you make the gravy and dish up all the vegetables.
Pour the juices into a jug, leaving a tablespoonful or two in the bottom of the pan. Stir in the flour, then gradually blend in the stock and seasoning.
Put the tin onto the floor of the roasting oven to boil. Stir after about 5 minutes, then return to the oven for a further 5 minutes until boiling and thickened. Strain and serve.
Foolproof Roasting & Making Gravy
Take a joint of meat – leg of lamb, topside of beef, leg of pork, chicken etc. Wipe the joint with kitchen paper to dry. [Rub pork skin with salt for extra crispy crackling. Rub chicken skin with salt, pepper and tarragon, cut up an onion and a lemon and push into the cavity. Rub mustard onto a beef joint. Make cuts in a lamb joint and push slivers of garlic and sprigs of rosemary into the meat.]
Line the roasting tin with Bake-O-Glide and put in the meat. Hang the tin from the third set of runners in the roasting oven and cook – 12 - 15 min per lb for beef, 20 min per lb for lamb and chicken, 25 min per lb for pork.
OR cook in the roasting oven for 1/3 of the cooking time, then move the meat to the simmering oven, allowing the entire calculated cooking time (in addition to the 1/3 already cooked).
OR cover the tin tightly with foil and put into the simmering oven (baking oven on slumber for Total Control Agas) for about two and a half to three times the calculated cooking time. Once cooked, remove the foil and move the tin to the roasting oven for the joint to brown.
When cooked, remove the meat and rest for 10 minutes to allow the juices to settle.
Pour off all but 2 tbsp of the fat from the tin. Stir in 2 tbsp flour, then blend on a pint of stock – maybe adding a spoonful of wine – [and for lamb a teaspoonful of redcurrant jelly, for beef a teaspoonful of Dijon mustard, for chicken some tarragon]. Stir well then put the tin onto the floor of the roasting oven for 5 minutes. Stir and return to the oven for 5 more minutes and the gravy will be boiling and thickened, ready to stir and serve.