Friday, 24 December 2010

Perfect Christmas Turkey

Cooking turkey at home is so often fraught with worry and complications
that people will start cooking the bird far too early, and the end result
predictably, far from being the moist, succulent centrepiece to the festive
table, is in fact as palatable as sliced reconstituted sawdust.
Here are a few tricks to ensure a delicious Christmas
(or any other time of year)
turkey experience.
Buy a temperature probe. It is the only accurate way to measure degrees of cooking (cuisson). 58°C . for
roast beef 72 °C for turkey. Always rest meat under foil in a warm place for at least 25 minuets.
Get your butcher to bone and roll the turkey breast, and bone the legs as well leaving the leg meat untied.
have the butcher keep the carcass.
Place the carcass in a sturdy refuse sack and stand on it a few times, then roast it in a moderately hot oven
with two carrots, a leek, an onion and a few pieces of celery, until nicely golden brown.
place these roasting into a large pan covering with water, fry the giblets and add them. bring to the boil,
then turn down to a gentle simmer (this can be done well in advance).
Take the boned legs, lay each on a piece of buttered foil, fill one middle with some sausage meat of your
choice (you can add things such as dried cranberries, apricots, nuts etc). Fill the other with a stuffing of your
choice (please be a bit more adventurous than Paxo!).What you are looking to achieve here is a Christmas
cracker, or sausage shape. form the turkey meat around the filling and bring the foil together twisting the
ends to make a tight, even cylinder. these will take about 35 minutes to cook in a fairly hot oven. they will
feel firm to the touch when ready. as you carve the turkey, everyone can have a slice of each sausage, and
get an equal share of brown meat without the usual difficulties of portioning, with its inherent risk of yuletide
If oven space is an issue, the roast potatoes can be done the night before. they reheat wonderfully, just under
cook them slightly.
When cooking the turkey 30 mines. per kilo, 180°C for first 1/2 hour then turn down to 170 °C baste with
butter, every 20 mins. don't forget to rest. it will be delicious!
For the gravy, take the roasting tin and place on a gas ring at 3/4 power. agitate the fat/meaty particles and
allow the liquid to sizzle to a delicious reduced unctuousness. Pour in a large glass of red wine or Madeira
and cook the alcohol off. when the liquid has all but cooked off sift in a little flour and blend in with a
wooden spoon lowering the heat to a whisper.
(it is important not to burn the flour). Have the stock which should now be strained and boiling (pay attention
please) to hand, and start to ladle this hot stock into the roasting tray, stirring all the time.
it will start to thicken, and you must keep pace with this by ladling, stirring and controlling heat, which you
may wish to increase .gravy is a very important and personal matter, and individuals have all manner of
techniques to impart their special signature to this most British of sauces. please feel free! pass through a
sieve and set aside in a warm place, covered.
Serve with homemade cranberry sauce which you can easily make by cooking frozen cranberries in orange
juice with mixed spice and sugar.