How to Create a Festive Feast... Our Top 10 Turkey Tips

Store Street Exchange is officially open... and just in time for the festive season. To celebrate the arrival of their gorgeous Christmas menu, and their appreciation of poultry in general (their specialism is exceptionally sourced rotisserie chicken) Store Street's Head Chef, Stuart Fox shares his top turkey tips for fool-proof festive fowl and a perfect Christmas dinner on the big day!

For those who prefer to save on the washing up and general kitchen toil involved, Store Street Exchange are also serving up a festive feast on Christmas Day itself. This five-course menu will be served from 12pm on 25th December, and includes welcome fizz, a pear granita palate cleanser between courses, roast turkey, as well as teas, coffees and all-butter minced pies after dessert.

Both the festive and Christmas day menus feature the very best suppliers and ingredients, courtesy of iconic, Lancashire-based poultry farmers, Johnson and Swarbrick, and butchers Aubrey Allen. Full details and bookings options for both menus are below.

If it's an extraordinary, all-day, traditional feast you're after - Store Street Exchange is the perfect urban, festive retreat for 2017 celebrations.


Top Ten Turkey Tips by Stuart Fox, Head Chef at Store Street Exchange...

  1. Don't forget to delegate get the family involved and make it fun, I always get my children to prep the vegetables and peel the potatoes.
  2. Always start early and get the bigger jobs out of the way first - like the stuffing! My family favourite has always been Apricot, Chestnut & Sage - I have shared my recipe below!
  3. Always use fresh turkey, free range if you can, as you will get a much better result after cooking with meat's that's tender full of flavour.
  4. Where possible get it from a reputable butcher, as well as being better quality, they will help source the right size for you. Typically a 3.5kg bird will serve 7-8 guests.
  5. I usually remove the legs from the turkey and then bone and roll them, something your butcher will be happy to do for you.
  6. A 3.5kg fresh turkey will take around 2 hours 15 minutes to cook in a pre-heated oven at 180C. Always season well before roasting ensuring it doesn't go into the oven straight from the fridge.
  7. If you are cooking for smaller numbers and don't need a large turkey I would suggest marinating overnight in a simple brine solution to keep it moist while roasting.
  8. I rub softened butter under the skin and all over the turkey and then lay a few pieces of pancetta for extra flavour.
  9. The best way to tell if your turkey is cooked is by using a digital cooking thermometer. When cooked, turkey thighs should read 80C, breasts 75C. Always double-check by sticking the probe in several different spots within the thigh or breast, to find the lowest reading. If returning to the oven, allow 10-15 minutes, then test again until the correct temperature is reached.
  10. Without a thermometer, the classic way to test is to push a spoon under the turkey leg so that it pierces the skin (or use a skewer), and inspect the juices that collect in the spoon. The juices should be pale gold and clear; if there are traces of blood, return to the oven as above.



Brine Solution
1 lemon zest only
3 sprigs of thyme
3 bay leaf
Sprinkle of coriander seeds
5 black peppercorns
200g salt
2 litres water
Bring the water and aramats to the boil.
Remove and set aside until cold enough to refrigerate.
Once cold the turkey can then be submerged in the brine, I work on around 6-8 hours per kilo of meat.


Apricot, Chestnut & Sage Stuffing
Serves 6–8
500g pork mince
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large Braeburn apple grated
6 dried apricots (about 50g) chopped
45g chestnuts, roughly chopped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Small bunch - fresh flat leaf parsley, leaves only, chopped
Olive oil, to drizzle
Large bunch of large sage leaves
2 fresh merguez or chorizo sausages


How to make the stuffing…

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Put the pork mince into a large bowl and season. Grate the apple into the bowl, avoiding the core. Add the apricots, chestnuts, lemon zest and chopped parsley, and mix well.
  2. Lay a large sheet of foil on a surface and oil with a drizzle of olive oil. Arrange the sage leaves on the foil, overlapping them in two rows to form a large rectangle, the length of the two sausages placed end to end. Sprinkle with a little seasoning.
  3. Spread half of the pork stuffing mixture in the middle, along the length of the sage leaves, then run your finger down the centre of the stuffing to create a hollow for the sausages. Lay the sausages in the hollow and cover with the remaining stuffing mixture.
  4. Bring up the foil and envelop the stuffing, twisting the ends to seal. Holding both ends, roll the stuffing in the foil to make it tight so it stays moist when cooking. Refrigerate at this stage if making a day ahead.
  5. Put the stuffing parcel into a baking dish and cook for about 40 minutes. To check if it is cooked, insert a skewer into the middle for 10 seconds - it should feel piping hot against your wrist. Leave to rest for about 15 minutes before slicing to serve.


So have yourself a very merry, and seriously delicious, Christmas at Store Street Exchange.