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Easy Turkey Recipes
It’s only once a year. Go free-range! You don’t want a flabby, greasy, broken-legged fowl on your table. Get something that had the opportunity to run around and grow some decent flesh. If you’re in South Wales, try welshfoodboxcompany; for a special herb-fed bird (above) try farmison; or if you want a turkey crown or individual stuffed parcels rather than a whole bird, donaldrussell — all these are free-range
Sage’n’onion never lets you down. Mix chopped fresh sage, onion, breadcrumbs, salt & pepper, butter and egg. Options include pistachios, chestnuts, orange zest, cranberries, prosciutto . . . turkey is so accommodating, you can almost just use your favourite pizza topping. Garlic, lemon & olives is nice
§ Traditional Roast
Never fear the turkey. It genuinely is just a big chicken. The sole difference is, a frozen bird MUST be defrosted overnight (and a really big bird might take 24 hours). Forget, and no amount of hot baths or microwaving will render the thing cookable the next day.
Once you have a room-temperature fowl, make the stuffing (or heat up some ready-prepped stuff. It’s Christmas, you want to enjoy the day too, it’s allowed.) Stuff the bird; prod or push butter under its breast skin (quantities don’t matter, this is not precision cooking); cover it in bacon rashers and roast away. 20 to 25 minutes per pound (450g) plus 20 minutes. When you can push a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh, and the juices run clear, the thing is cooked. Exquisite!
§ En croûte (oh yes)
Take one turkey crown and at least two packs of puff pastry. Cram stuffing and butter wherever you can into the crown (cut some slits, if necessary) and roast as above (but without the bacon). Thirty or so minutes before finishing, take the crown out of the oven, cover in stuffing and wrap in pastry. Brush with beaten egg and finish baking. The dreaded Soggy Bottom is hard to avoid, but there is plenty of crisp pastry up top. 15 minutes before baking ends, drip a spoon of melted butter over the pastry. The rivulets darken into amazing-looking stripes. People will see you in a different light for ever after you present this magnificent pastry mound
This recipe comes courtesy of Rotigrill: take one free-range turkey, stuff with one bunch of chopped fresh sage and two large onions cut into quarters. Tie the legs and wings to the main body of the bird (this stops them charring) and skewer it. Turkeys are big heavy birds, so you must balance them carefully to keep the spit turning regularly. Brush with melted butter, and roast at a low height for 10 minutes to crisp the skin. Raise the height and, when the skin becomes moist, crumble up chicken stock cubes (organic Kallo is a good brand) and sprinkle them on – delicious! Cook for about 30 minutes per kilo.
Try this version of rotissering a turkey, by rotigrill.com:
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It is an ironclad law that turkey creates left-overs. Curry is one solution but, for a certain generation, Bridget Jones ruined it with a ghastly Turkey Curry Buffet.
KEBABS: You can jazz kebabs up no end: thread chunks of turkey, exotic fruits (mango, pineapple), roast winter veg, celery & bacon on to a skewer along with the meat.
SANDWICHES: Alternatively, make a pile of turkey sandwiches and serve with crisps and pickles.
RICE SALAD: Shred the meat and make a rice salad by mixing with mayonnaise, chopped spring onion, cooked white rice and a little lemon juice.
CORONATION TURKEY If you mix the shredded meat with mayonnaise, almonds and mango chutney, you have coronation turkey. Serve this hot or cold, with rice or bread
Like most poultry, a decent turkey is high in protein and minerals, and is relatively low in fat. In these times of austerity, it is also worth remembering that a whole turkey — bought, perhaps, in a sale after the Big Day — will keep for about a year in a freezer at -18°C.
For 25 years, former butler Richard J. Smith advised celebrities, politicians & royalty on wine. He now runs the Wine Schools of Cheshire and London (cheshire.wine) and writes for The Taster (adding a bit of class to the whole enterprise, we’re sure). We asked him what he would put with traditional roast turkey:
“Burgundy all the way! Red (Pinot Noir) or white (Chardonnay) both work a treat with all the trimmings. there’s quite a bit for a wine to work with. My favourite is Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2013 by Mischief and Mayhem: they have a wine full of summer fruit on the nose (typical of the pinot noir grape) and subtle spice. The 2013 vintage was only 45,000 bottles: I’ve watched it change in the bottle since its relese and it’s wonderful at the moment, and will be good for at least another year or two.”
NB (2 December 2016): M&M Pinot Noir is £14.99 from the website if you email them. Alternatively you can get a bottle of the 2013 vintage for £22.99 from winechateau.com
FAREWELL & GOOD LUCK!
We hope the above ideas might provide some inspiration. We do update entries, so check back any time. Click HERE for more ingredients.
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