Thursday, July 28, 2011
Christmas in July: Roast Turkey
It was the night before Christmas and all through the house... was the scent of a 9 kilogram turkey roasting perfectly in the oven!
I had been somewhat organised the week before the event and had ordered a fresh (not frozen) bird from the specialist poultry store at the markets, thus saving myself the pain of finding room in the fridge to thaw it out over the preceding week. I should have guessed from the raised eyebrows when I ordered a 9 kilogram monster, that this was going to feed me - lunch-and-dinner - for the next week... but when I told them I had 20 of my closest friends popping by for some glogg (mulled wine), ham and turkey, they nodded sagely and noted down my order.
When we went to pick her up, the monster bird was soon named "Tina Turkey", and the chicken, cranberry and dried apple stuffing roll concocted by the poultry-seller gained the appropriate title of "Ike". Later that evening, after 6 hours of roasting time in the oven, both Tina and Ike were indeed "Simply the Best".
With the weather grey and icy and drizzly outside, it was the perfect evening for roasted meats (hams care of Ms CR), warmed red wine and our body weight in mashed sweet potato, creamy potato gratin (again, thanks Ms CR), beans with hazelnuts and stuffed mushrooms (the handiwork of Angel and Co). And that's before the homemade, gluten-free Christmas Pudding (thanks to Sam) with delicious custard (thanks to the Red Avenger) made its appearance.
Having now used every "perfect turkey roast" tip I could find in every recipe book and online site in existence, I heartily recommend the following ways to ensure a super juicy bird:
- put butter under the skin of your bird...lots of it
- place it on a rack in the baking tray and fill the bottom with water to keep it nice and tender
- heat the oven to 210 degrees celcius for the first 40 minutes or so, then turn it down to 180 degrees after that
- baste regularly, at the very least it made the skin delicious
- cover the whole bird with baking paper, and then foil on the breast, to keep the juices in and stop the skin from crisping too early
- remove the foil and baking paper at the very end to allow the skin to crisp up
- when it's done, cover it loosely with foil and then a tea towel (or two) and rest for at least 30 minutes before carving
But don't forget to enjoy some mulled wine while you're cooking, for best results!