Neven Maguire: One of the most popular recipes I have ever cooked for Christmas

Top chef Neven Maguire has produced a helpful roasting a checklist of five pointers to get your Christmas off to a healthy and sumptuous start.

Neven told the Irish Independent:  “A lot of people are nervous and daunted by cooking turkey at Christmas but they should remember, this bird is just like a big chicken.

“We want a moist and flavoursome turkey and that’s it.  Some people are cooking for their in laws and it’s probably one of the biggest meals of the year for them and they get totally stressed out about it. 

“At my cookery school I show people the top tips. It’s 20 minutes for every pound of turkey and make sure it’s cooked through.

“One of the most popular recipes I have ever cooked was my boneless turkey breast marinated in buttermilk. It is a fuss-free and uncomplicated dish that will still please your guests this Christmas.

“Using a turkey breast, marinate it in buttermilk, rosemary, a little bit of thyme, some garlic and some sliced orange. Leave in the buttermilk overnight and then take it out of the buttermilk and pat it dry with kitchen paper. Brush with some butter infused with orange, garlic and a little bit of herbs and then add some smokey bacon before popping in the oven and regularly basting it in its juices.”

Neven’s top five tips – Christmas turkey for newcomers:

1. Order your turkey in advance from your local butcher and try to get a quality assured free range turkey. When deciding what size turkey to buy, a good rule of thumb to follow is double the weight for the number of servings. For example, a 3 kg turkey will easily feed six people and an 8 kg turkey will work for 16 people.

2. If you are cooking for one or two people, a turkey breast is a great option that will leave you with some leftovers.

3. Weigh your turkey once it has been stuffed to work out the cooking time. Allow 15 to 20 mins for every ½ kg and make sure the turkey is at room temperature before cooking.

4. Oven temperatures can vary and especially at Christmas when there is so much coming in and out of the oven. A dial or spike thermometer can be picked up without breaking the bank and it is the most accurate.  If you don’t have one, push a skewer into the thickest part of the turkey thigh and the juices should run clear. If they are pinkish, place back in the oven for another 15 minutes, then test again.

5. Once the turkey is cooked, it’s important to let it rest. Cover it with some foil and tea towels for about 25-30 minutes. This will allow the juices to settle back into the meat, leaving it deliciously moist and easier to carve. For neat slices, use a sharp carving knife or long thin bladed knife. Never use a serrated knife as this can rip the meat.

Neven Maguire is chef proprietor of MacNean House and Restaurant, Blacklion, Co Cavan. For more information log onto His latest book ‘Neven’s Maguire’s Home Economics for Life’ is published by Gill.

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