Turkey is ye old favourite around Christmas time. These beastly birds are often stuffed with all sorts of goodies and when cooked in the oven properly are just down right tasty. Being a white meat, turkey pairs well with both white and red wines. Given the time of year and the side dishes that are likely to be paired with it [during Christmas], we recommend you go with an aromatic Riesling from Germany. These wines have lots of tropical fruit aromas, minerality, high acidity and a medium alcohol content which will complement your christmas turkey perfectly.
Cooking a christmas turkey is harder than other roasts, mostly due to the size of the bird. A turkey can range from roughly three to six kilos and when compared to roasting other birds like chicken and duck, can get to about two to three times the size. Getting your Christmas turkey to be cooked evenly throughout and still remain succulent and juicy is the aim of the game.
So let’s run through how to roast a christmas turkey! First of all get your hands on the following ingredients:
-1 Cup of breadcrumbs
-Salt & pepper
-Fresh herbs (parsley, chives)
-Half a lemon
-50 gms butter
-Knob of butter
-Salt and pepper
-Turkey~ 400gms per person; Which equates to
4-6 people -> 2-2.5kg bird
6-8 people -> 3kg bird
8-10 people -> 4-4.5kg bird
10-12 people -> 5-5.5kg bird
12-15 people -> 6-6.5kg bird
We recommend getting your Turkey from either of the following independent suppliers:
Organic Meat Suppliers:
Coombe Farm – Next Day Delivery UK Wide [https://www.coombefarmorganic.co.uk/]
P: 01460 279509
Macken Brothers – Home Delivery Available [www.mackenbrothers.co.uk]
P: 0208 994 2646
44 Turnham Green Terrace
Now you have all the bits and pieces its time to get this thing cooking. Let’s get it happening because roasting a christmas turkey can take awhile:
1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees. Place turkey in the middle of a baking tray/dish. Use a dish that has a side wall on it no less than an inch and a half as you need it to baste the turkey throughout the roasting process. Once you have done that rub butter all over the turkey skin. Do the whole thing apart from the bottom of the bird which is in contact with the tray. This will ensure the turkey as a nice golden glow to it once its cooked! Now grind some salt and pepper over it.
2. Sit your turkey on the bench while you make the stuffing. To do this get a bowl and put in the breadcrumbs. Grind a teaspoon of salt and pepper into the crumb mix. Finley chop your shallot and pan fry it in a little oil for roughly 2-3 minutes. Add this to the bread crumb mix. Put the butter into the microwave to soften for 15-20 seconds and then add to the mixture. Knead this with your hands to make a dough like mixture. When you are kneading the mixture add in the herbs. If the mixture is too runny or doesn’t stick together, add either more bread crumbs or more butter. It’s a good consistency if you can make it into a little ball and place it on the bench without it falling apart or running down the kitchen bench cupboard.
3. Now roll the stuffing into a reasonable sized ball/s and start stuffing this into the middle of the turkey. You don’t want to pack it too tight, so leave enough room to be able to get a wooden spoon in there. Quarter the lemon and put two quarters in the middle of the turkey surrounded by the stuffing.
4. Now boil a kettle and mix the water with the chicken stock. Pour the water and stock mixture into the tray/dish which your turkey is on and put it in the oven. Depending on the size of your bird and or dish, you need the turkey to be sitting in approximately half an inch of stock liquid. Leave it for 30 minutes and then take the christmas turkey out. Baste or ladle the stock water mixture over the turkey and then put it back in the oven. Do this every 15/20 minutes as it ensures the christmas turkey doesn’t dry out.
5. The time it takes for your turkey to cook will depend on its size. As a guide you will need 2 hours for a 2.5 kilo bird. For every 500 grams on top of that cook it for 20 minutes longer. As an example, if you were cooking a turkey for 8-10 people you would order a 4.5kg bird. Estimated cooking time for this would be 2hrs + 2 kg which would equate to 4*20 minutes so a total cooking time of 3hr 20 min.
6. Keep an eye on your christmas turkey. To check to see if its done, insert a sharp knife into the breast of the turkey. If clear liquid comes out and there is no pink flesh or blood on the end of the knife you are done. Remove from oven and leave to rest on the bench for at least 30 minutes. Whatever you do, don’t pour out the juice in the bottom of the roasting dish.
7. Now you can make the gravy. To do this use the dish or tray that the christmas turkey was in. Slowly mix in the flour and butter and until it forms a nice consistency. A nice thick velvety mixture which should end up being be a shade of brown. Transfer the gravy into a pouring vessel or bowl if you don’t have one.
Once all done and your christmas turkey has been resting for 30 minutes it’s time to carve and serve the turkey. Get a sharp knife and take ¼ inch thick slices of the turkey to serve. Start by carving from the breast down. Make sure you spoon out the stuffing and include some on each guest’s plate as it will add to the flavor. Pour the gravy over the meat to taste and enjoy with a nice glass or two of Riesling from Germany.
For a great selection of rieslings check out The Winery in Maida Vale. They have a great selection of wines and support independent winemakers, primarily across Europe.
The Winery [www.thewineryuk.com]
P: 0207 286 6475
4 Clifton Road
We hope you found this Christmas turkey guide somewhat useful. If you are looking for more Christmas Recipes and tips on where to get your christmas wines then get your free copy of our Savage Vines – Christmas done right e-book by clicking here