May 21 2007

Roast Turkey

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Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6

Remove giblets from inside turkey. First make a little stock with these for your gravy later. Next make the Stuffing for the bird.

STUFFING helps to keep the bird moist, it bastes from within. Older cookery books often suggest stuffing the turkey at each end; traditionally forcemeat one end and chestnut the other.

12 prunes soaked in red wine

grated rind half lemon

8oz peeled and cooked chestnuts

1oz butter

1 head celery chopped

2oz chopped onion

1dsp chopped mixed herbs

salt & pepper

1 small beaten egg

Simmer the prunes in the wine till tender, cool, stone and cut into four. Soften celery and onion in butter over a low heat, add prunes, herbs, salt and pepper, lemon rind, and chestnuts, broken into pieces. Stir lightly with a fork, allow to cool thoroughly before binding together with the beaten egg.

Fill the central cavity with a stuffing of your choice and weigh the turkey again.

To calculate cooking time allow 15 minutes per lb for a bird up to 14lb and 20-25 minutes for a larger bird.

Or…….how about this adapted version of a Traditional Italian stuffing  based on Orvieto Chicken…..

turkey giblets

1 lb potatoes

large  onion

30 garlic cloves unpeeled ..yes!

fennel bulb

8oz black olives

fresh sprig rosemary

lemon zest and juice

glass dry white wine

3 tbsp. virgin olive oil

Take the turkey giblets : first remove “oysters” of meat from  gizzard with a sharp knife then chop up together with the  heart and liver.

Dice peeled potatoes, fennel and onion.

Pull apart Garlic heads until you have about 30 cloves.

Crush 2 cloves of garlic.

Pit olives …..or better still…….buy them pitted!

Pull leaves of rosemary from the twig and chop  (please don’t bother with dried rosemary…!!)

Zest and juice the lemon

Melt the potatoes, fennel and onions in the  olive oil until just soft. Add the giblets and crushed garlic, then stir in the whole garlic cloves  ( don’t bother to peel!),  then the olives, fresh chopped rosemary, zest and juice of lemon, salt and pepper and the white wine.

Spoon all this mixture into the turkey….Delicious!

ROASTING

Melt a little butter and oil in the roasting tin and place the bird on its side on a rack in the tin. Spread it with more butter, or wrap in butter-soaked muslin. Add the giblets and a pint of water to the tin and cover the whole thing in tin foil. Keep the liver to fry and add to the gravy later. Place the bird in the centre of the hot oven.

A little before half time take the turkey out of the oven, turn it onto its other side, baste well with the pan juices and re -cover carefully.

Twenty minutes before the end of the cooking time remove the bird from the oven and turn breast up, baste again and sprinkle with salt and pepper and return to the hot oven to brown.

Test at the end of cooking time by sticking a long skewer into the thickest part of the thigh, if the juice is clear the turkey is cooked.

When cooked allow the bird to REST, covered in a warm place for about 20 minutes. This will make it much easier to carve.

GRAVY

To make the gravy first pour off excess fat from the roasting pan.

Deglase the tin with a little red wine and red currant jelly scraping up all the residue. Stir in a little stock made from the giblets. Mix a tablespoon of the reserved fat with a desert spoon of corn flour and return to the roasting pan Bring the gravy to the boil over a brisk heat stirring all the time until it is a rich syrupy consistency. Strain before serving. The sliced and lightly fried turkey liver may be added to the gravy after straining.

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