That Turkey … againnnnn

TURKEY… and this is not the last of it…

That Xmas Turkey… again, its like some sort of never ending story, but then so is food.  I wanted to run a few more ideas and suggestions by you and one that I think is a stunning idea (Thanks to Frank and Tannaz) more later.

I am going to bone the turkey, I am not going to boor you with the whole process again, suffice to say that a Turkey’s anatomy is similar if not the same (ok, purists and students of the skeletal structure of winged animals – does it really matter?) and so read the bit that I did recently or indeed be guided by the indomitable Julia Child. It is not that hard to do.

I am also going to brine the boned bird as per the following…

You must start the evening before… the turkey must be fully thawed the bird should be submerged in the brine solution and preferably kept in a cool/chill (refrigerate) situation. It would be 8 hour no longer brine.

This solution should be enough for a 5kg to 8 kg bird.


3 litres of Vegetable Stock or chicken stock

375 grams of table salt

1 cup sugar (brown is best)

1 tablespoon dried sage

1 tablespoon crushed dried rosemary

1 tablespoon dried thyme

1 litre of iced water..

Bring stock, salt, sugar and herbs to the boil, allow to cool add the litre of iced water. and cool completely.

I like to use a clean plastic bucket that will hold the turkey easily with the brine. Place the brine into the bucket.

Wash and dry the turkey and lower the bird breast first into the bucket making sure that the cavities are filled with the brine. Place something on the bird to keep it below the brine solution. Place the bucket into the refrigerator over night, no longer than 8 hours. If the refrigerator is otherwise occupied, consider using a chiller or even a styrene box.

Remove the turkey and dry completely. Cook as you would normally do but allow for the fact that a brined turkey will cook faster.

Now for the trick thanks to Frank and Tannaz… before cooking and after stuffing so that the turkey is ready for the oven (if you have done a deboned turkey as I am then it should be stuffed and rolled) take a sharp knife and literally stab the bird and into each of the stab wounds, place some herb butter (Frank suggested Rosemary, Sage and Thyme and a clove or three of garlic, all fresh and mashed up with the butter) I would use a blender, for those of you preferring the old ways, this can be done in the pestle and mortar. The quantities, 200 grams of butter and a good handful of mixed fresh herbs, three large cloves of garlic. The trick would be not to stab too wide and deep, whilst its a great way to get moisture in to the bird, it will also allow moisture to escape, so I suggest that you might raise the skin a little and stab that without piercing the flesh too much.

As to the stuffing, well I guess that I should be pushing the brand, but what ever you decide, I would suggest one thing, don’t over stuff. I would also say that if you are using rice, do not use long grained rice such as basmati, it needs to be short grained fluffy rice. Long grained rice tends to toughen in this type of application.

I am awaiting the recipe from Tannaz’s mother in Canada, but of Persian descent (if my memory serves me right) and I am told that she uses rice and dried fruits and it sounded delicious. We will let you know when we have received the recipe.

I am still prone to rubbing the skin of the bird with copious quantities of butter before placing it in the oven and, for those of you who have whole hams, drape the skin that you removed before glazing the ham, right over the bird and roast it 20 minutes per kilo removing the skin for the last 30 minutes to brown the bird.

The gravy can be made from the pan juices or you can follow any one of a number of pundits in the gravy stakes, I note that the effervescent camera shy Nigella Lawson was using Allspice berries for her sauce, you might like to google her recipe. I would undoubtedly have a riot on my hands were I to tamper with the whole brown gravy theme thus, I do not intend to tamper.

~ by peterwatson on December 12, 2011.

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