The only tragic tune that never gets heard during the festive loud merry making during Christmas dining is the fact that the protagonist of the Christmas main dish – the turkey – had been a sad victim of lost identity.
Until before making its final journey in its roasted avatar and ending up in your serving dish, and way before they were purchased by you in advance from your favourite Waitrose or Marks & Spencer store, they were introduced in Britain by the Ottoman rulers (belonging to the country called Turkey) who brought them from Madagascar. Sadly in their own language which is Turkish, the turkey bird is called ‘hindi’ which means ‘Indian’, referring to these being imported from India. The French also chimed in by naming them as coq d’inde making the passport-less birds a victim of modern day territorialism while its final destiny being engraved to bringing delight to your Christmas culinary aspirations. With this bite-size of history in mind, feel free to massage the ego, body and soul of the turkey you are preparing to roast by following this simple cooking story below.
Marinate, massage, roast and while you share a toast with your loved ones around the Christmas meal – do also boast off your new found knowledge that how murky the path taken by the turkeys was. Imported by the Turkish, but called Indian by the Turkish themselves and also by the French, and now being sold in Britain as ‘Turkey’ while Turkey is not part of the EU and all this Brexit – and you are figuring out how it really matters while you pour some succulent gravy on top of it.
Top tips: One of the secrets to a succulent, juicy, and moreish turkey is spreading butter under the skin. You can season the butter any way you want; the possibilities are never ending.
Ingredients I Used:
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper
1 (3 kg) whole turkey, neck and giblets reserved
3 onions halved
3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1/2 bunch fresh sage, chopped
1/A few sprigs of thyme, chopped
1 bay leaf
6 cups water
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoon garlic paste and 4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Lemon halved
Handful of baby carrots
Fresh Cranberries and apples to garnish (you can use whatever you want)
Preparation time: 1 hour
Turkey Cook time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Ready In: 5 hours (Including Gravy)
Lets Make Now
Step one: Preheat oven to 180 degree C
Step two: Mix 2 tablespoons salt, and 1 tablespoon pepper, garlic paste, butter and chopped herbs. Tuck turkey wings under the bird and massage the turkey with half of that mixture. Reserve remaining mix.
Note: To make it more special…
To improve cooking and help create a more succulent and tasty turkey, place a few garlic cloves and fresh herbs into the bird cavity before roasting, this will delicately flavour the bird from inside during cooking.
Step three: Loosen the skin on top of the turkey breast using fingers or a small spatula. Place half of the remaining butter-herb mix under the skin and spread evenly. Stuff the remaining butter-herb mix into the cavity. Tie legs together with kitchen string.
Step four: Toss the onion and carrots together in a bowl. Place them into roasting tray flat. Throw some rosemary sprigs and 1/2 bunch sage on it. Place the turkey on top of the vegetables. Arrange a sheet of aluminum foil over the breast of the turkey.
Step five: Roast the turkey in the preheated oven until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 2 and a half hours (this depends on the size of your bird, the bigger it is, the longer it takes). An instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh, near the bone should read 165 degrees F (75 degrees C). If you don’t have it at home, use a skewers, if it comes out clean, your turkey is ready. Remove the foil during the last hour of cooking. Baste the turkey with the pan juices in every 20 minutes in the last hour of cooking.
Step six: While the turkey is roasting, make stock.
Note: To make perfect turkey stock…
Remove the giblets found inside the turkey, place in a large pan with neck, olive oil, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf and water. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat and simmer for one hour, skimming fat from the surface.
Step seven: Strain the turkey giblets from the stock, and discard giblets. There should be at least 4 cups of stock.
Step eight: Remove the turkey from the oven, cover with a doubled sheet of aluminum foil, and allow to rest in a warm area for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
Step nine: Skim off the turkey fat from the pan juices, reserving about 2 tablespoons.
Note: To make perfect turkey gravy…
Transfer the onion from the roasting pan into a saucepan. Pour the pan juices into it.
Step ten: In the same saucepan, add 1 tablespoon plain flour, 2 tablespoon of butter, pinch of sea salt, black pepper, drained off fat from the turkey roasting tin and bring to cook over a gentle heat until it turns golden brown and it’s a smooth consistency. Remove from heat, gradually add the hot stock to the pan, stirring continuously and ensuring all the meaty sediment is included. Return to the heat and bring to the boil for 3 to 4 minutes stirring all the time until the gravy thickens. season to taste and serve.
Bon appetit! Have a very merry Christmas!