So, hands up, how many of you will be eating turkey this Christmas?

Ok, and how many times do you eat turkey from February to November, assuming there may still be some leftovers in January? Soup anyone?

Isn’t it funny that turkey has become such a Christmas staple?

We eat around 10 million turkeys each festive season so it’s little wonder that turkeys don’t vote for Christmas when the polls are telling them they’re stuffed. Now, that’s how to keep a blog topical!

Believe it or not, turkey is a relative newcomer to the Yuletide table – it was a luxury right up until the 1950’s when they became more widely available. Up until then goose was more of a staple.

But if you are among the 76% of families who will eat turkey on Christmas Day, it’s imperative you cook it correctly.

Whether you slave over a crown or a whole bird there’s always one aim – make the turkey moist and delicious. It’s a meat which is very easy to become dry if you overcook, although this is still better than undercooking it of course. Let’s face it, no one wants to be in bed with salmonella poisoning on Boxing Day, do they?

One tip is to cook it upside down. This means the turkey breast isn’t directly exposed to the heat, but the legs cook quickly letting the juices fall into the breast. Doing it this way also doesn’t require any basting, which free up more time to spend time with the family drinking, or just the latter if you prefer!

Another tip is to put a small handful of rice in the stuffing as it absorbs all the raw juices from the turkey creating a delicious and intense flavour inside.

Obviously, it’s important you get the cooking time right regardless of how you do it and don’t forget to forget to leave time for your turkey to rest when it comes out of the oven. Turkeys between 4-6kg should be rested for 1½ hours, and ones from 6-10kg can rest for two hours. Yes, that’s a good rest and gives you even more time for family/drink etc.

So, what about after Christmas? A survey shows that the top three most popular ways to serve leftover Christmas turkey are: sandwiches, soups/stews or salads, but one of my favourites is a curry, you simply can’t go wrong with that!

Here’s the recipe:


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp curry paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 400g can chopped tomato
  • 300g leftover turkey, diced
  • small pack coriander, roughly chopped
  • rice or naan bread, to serve


Heat the oil in a large pan over a fairly high heat. Cook the onion and pepper for 3-4 mins. Stir in the curry paste and garlic, then cook for another few minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and 250ml water. Bring to the boil.

Turn the heat down, stir in the turkey, season and cook on a very low heat, for 30-45 minutes. Scatter with coriander and serve with rice or naan, and creme fraiche if you wish.

Jane Beesley
About Jane Beesley
Development & Innovations Chef of SK Foods.
Your food. Our Passion.