It's nearly time for Turkey...
Try to buy the best organic / free range bird you can get hold of. Visit your trusted butcher well in advance to place your order. The quality of your bird will determine the success of this experience! If however you are unable to use a fresh turkey, ensure that your frozen turkey is thoroughly defrosted.
SERVES (YIELD): 8-10 DIFFICULTY: ● ○○
PREPARATION TIME: 1 ½ hrs COOKING TIME: 3 hrs,
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: n/a 2 hrs for turkey (*1)
Ask the butcher to prepare it for you, to remove and chop up the wings and neck into 2cm pieces and to remove the wish bone (this makes the turkey easier to carve).
5kg / 1X Bronze turkey, free range / organic (*2)
100g / 1X Turkey neck, chopped into 3cm pieces
200g Turkey wings, chopped into 3cm pieces
80g Butter, unsalted
200ml Water or stock
5g / 1 tsp Arrowroot, diluted in 15ml cold water
Sea salt & freshly ground white pepper
Cooking the Turkey:
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Soften the butter and then mix in the salt and pepper. Brush the turkey with the soft seasoned butter. Place the chopped wings and neck in a large baking tray and place the turkey on top of the chopped wings then loosely cover the turkey with tin foil. Place into the preheated oven (*3) for 1 hour. After an hour baste the turkey and reduce the oven temperature to 160°C, cook for another hour basting every 15 minutes with the cooking juices to prevent the meat from drying out.
At the end of the cooking time, test by inserting a skewer or roasting fork into the thickest part of the thigh of the turkey; if the liquid that runs out is transparent and not bloody, the turkey is cooked. You can alternatively use a temperature probe the thigh meat should reach 70°C. Remove the turkey from the oven, and then place it into a large tray to rest. Reserve in a warm place until needed (*4).
Finishing the Roasting Juices:
Place the baking tray on a medium heat, bring to the boil and stir the bottom of the tray to incorporate the caramelised roasting juices. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required. Remember to pour in the resting juices from the turkey into the jus. Stir the arrowroot diluted in water into the juices to lightly bind and strain through a fine sieve into a warm sauce boat.
Chef’s Notes (*):
You may be a little concerned about the cooking time (or lack of it). Believe me, it has been tried, tested and tried again. But you have your own oven, and your turkey may be chilled or at room temperature. Allow your turkey to come to room temperature for 1 hour before going into the oven.
When the turkey is of such good pedigree, I would not use any herbs, the flavour of the bird will be enough on its own!
Ensure that you do not place the baking tray on the bottom of the oven- The temperature may be too hot and cause the roasting bones to burn this will impart bitterness to your roasting juices.
Resting the turkey is an important process which allows the meat to become tender and succulent as the juices inside the meat become more evenly distributed throughout the bird.
An alternative cooking temperature would be to preheat your oven to 250ºC to sear and colour the skin very quickly, then to reduce the cooking temperature to 85°C and cook slowly until the internal temperature reaches 75°C – depending on your oven the cooking times will vary – ensure the turkey is cooked through.
Once finished with the turkey pick the meat off the carcass, mix with some mash potato, parsley and pureed garlic. Allow to firm up in the fridge and shape into cylinders then dip in flour, then egg and then bread crumbs. These can be deep fried or pan fried and finished in the oven and you have some wonderful turkey croquets.
Make a delicious and nourishing soup by simmering the turkey bones and carcass with water for 45 minutes.
A Vendange Tardive Pinot Gris from Alsace will have enough body and character to match the turkey.