Turkey…It is very easy to assume that everyone knows how to cook a turkey but I am sure there are many of you who don’t it could be your first home and your first Christmas dinner you have cooked and it can be pretty daunting.
In the UK alone last year over 10 million turkeys were eaten at Christmas so I expect there are quite a few chefs/people stating they have the recipe on how to cook the perfect turkey and a few who will be cooking the not so perfect turkey aka Mr Bean…
To cook the best turkey you also need some delicious stuffing…
I stuff the neck cavity and just put onion or a lemon with some cloves and butter in the main body cavity. You could use fresh herbs and butter in all honesty mine does vary from year to year.
A tip is to include a small handful of rice in the stuffing as it absorbs all the raw juices from the turkey creating the most delicious stuffing.
I also cook my turkey breast down as then the juices fall into the breast which keeps it moist and succulent…
The turkey must then be turned over 30 minutes before it is done to brown the top….delicious.
Some chefs also push butter under the skin of the turkey…..
It really is a personal choice and I wouldn’t presume to tell you how to prepare your turkey as we all have our own way of cooking this bird and all delicious there is no right or wrong way it’s a personal preference so I am just going to give you a few different options…
Take the turkey from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature while the oven is heating up.
Here is the link to a handy http://www.britishturkey.co.uk/cooking/cooking-calculators.html
This recipe is the one I am going to use this year because I don’t trust my oven temperature and I think adding the hot water into the cavity of the turkey will help not only keep it moist but will ensure it cooks properly.
The night before roasting, soften some butter and season with salt and pepper mixing well. I used about 6 oz of butter.
Remove the giblets from the bird and wipe it inside and out with kitchen paper. Remove any feathers… if there are a lot of them you can singe them over a gas flame.
I remember my dad doing that but most of the turkeys now are fully plucked and dressed..ours may not be as it is fresh from the farm so I am guessing it will have a few feathers left to pluck out…
Open the cavity of the bird and season the inside with the remaining salt and pepper. Rub the seasoned butter over the turkey. Take a piece of greaseproof paper twice the size of the breast and fold to give a double layer. Lay this over the breasts (it will protect them during the cooking) and return the turkey to the fridge until morning.
Calculate your cooking times and preheat your oven… A 5kg bird should take 3 hrs 10 minutes at 180C(fan) 375F/Gas mark 5 approx as it will depend on your oven…
Stuff the turkey neck with your desired stuffing.
Set the turkey on a trivet inside the tin. Bring a kettle of water to the boil and carefully pour around 250ml of the hot water into the cavity of the bird. Seal with a skewer.
Pour another 500ml of hot water into the roasting tray with some onions and carrots and a few fresh herbs Thyme and Rosemary plus some garlic cloves.
Then cover the whole thing with foil (I use two layers) and make sure that it is well sealed around the edges.
Put the lot in the oven and cook for 20 minutes on 250 C, then reduce the temperature to 180°C/Gas 5 for the remaining cooking time. After 2½ hours, remove the foil and the greaseproof paper and close the door. Don’t open it again until the cooking time is up.
To test whether the turkey is cooked, insert a skewer or knife blade into the point where the thigh joins the breast. The juice should run clear. If it is pink, then roast the turkey for another 20 minutes and test again.
If you are using a meat thermometer then it should read 180F in thigh and 165F in breast or stuffing.
Take the bird from the oven and leave it to rest in a warm place for at least 30 minutes.
Strain the juice from the bottom of the roasting tin into a large jug to settle. The fat will rise to the top, leaving the aromatic turkey and onion juice beneath. Skim off the fat and thicken the juices if you wish, or serve as it is…..
The turkey Carcass…
I have many happy memories of the luscious soup my mum used to make with the leftover turkey carcass…Do you????
- Turkey Carcass
- 2 large Onions chopped
- 4 carrots chopped and divided into 2 halves
- 3 potatoes chopped
- 1-2 cups roughly chopped cabbage
- 3 celery stalks 2 rough chopped and one cut into bite-sized pieces
- A Cup uncooked barley or mixed dried lentils
- A sprig of fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- Cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- ¼ tsp poultry seasoning
- ¼ tsp paprika
- Worcestershire sauce ( optional)
- Salt and pepper to season
- Water to cover carcass.
N.B. You can use any vegetables which you have available sometimes I add some swede or turnip it depends what I have ….anything goes sweetcorn…just some examples ..What do you use?????
In a large pot put the chicken carcass and cover with water add your roughly cut carrot, onion, a bay leaf and thyme sprig bring the water to the boil reduce heat to very low and simmer for 2 hours.
Take the turkey bones out of the pot and pick off any meat. If required chop the meat and reserve. Throw away the bones and strain the broth through a fine sieve reserving the liquid and discarding the cooked vegetable.
In a clean soup pot add the strained broth add the remaining raw chopped vegetable carrot, onion, celery, potato, cabbage) parsley, barley, and simmer for an hour until the vegetables are tender. Adjust seasoning and add Worcestershire sauce if using.
My mum would sometimes add dumplings or we would eat with fresh crusty bread.
It is a lovely soup basically using leftovers and my kids still love this and remind me sometimes of their memories of eating this soup….
I think that is what makes turkey such a special meal…The memories we make…..
My Christmas this year is going to be mixed as my Thai family are coming so it will some of us up the table and some on traditional mats on the floor and I daresay some chilli dips…. I know they will eat the meat and vegetables, they love sausage…The sauces and potatoes maybe not and they tend to like the gravy but we will see …
I hope they will enjoy being sort of part of our traditional Christmas dinner mixed with a few chillies and raw veg…. It will fun and no doubt the traditional whiskey will be lurking around and I know they love my Baileys… well, the ladies do…
About Carol Taylor:
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetable ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use contain to improve our health and wellbeing.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS
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Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a great week xx
Until next time xxx