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Fascinating Food - Christmas - Turkey and Gravy
Fascinating Food – Cooking the Perfect Christmas Dinner – The Turkey and Gravy
A perfect Christmas Dinner is a magnificent meal; but it is a unique and tricky challenge to cook just right. There are so many aspects to juggle and so many different dishes to prepare.
A traditional Christmas dinner will include:
· Turkey with Gravy.
· Roast Potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
· Festive Deserts.
In this article I will explore how to cook the Turkey and the Gravy!
Turkey & Gravy
Turkey is a dish that is very dear to our hearts. It remains the centre piece of several festivities, not only Christmas and Independence day, but world round many different occasions as well. Despite having a tendency to be dry and bland; it can become an amazing dish if cooked correctly. There is a huge array of different stuffing’s and trimmings you can use with the Turkey to alter the taste but one face remains. The Turkey itself has to be perfect.
Many different people and many different chefs will all have their own techniques how to cook a perfect Turkey and all have certain things in common; a crispy skin, and soft moist meat.
Delia Smith Claims her technique is to baste the bird heavily with melted butter, then season, top with streak bacon before wrapping in foil (with enough space for air circulation during cooking).
Alternatively if you are a fan of very crisp skin you might consider investing in a butter muslin. You can drape this over the Turkey as it cooks, and you are more likely to get a fascinatingly crisp skin with a soft succulent meat inside.
Turkey’s do tend to get lean, so it’s often a good idea to add some water to the roasting tin before you add the turkey in! Making use of the giblets for stock is a little bit too much sometimes; especially when you have many other things on your mind. Kids running around, a turkey ready to be cooked; and sides to create; sometimes the Giblets get bumped from the “To do list”.
Instead, add them to the roasting tin before cooking, with an onion and bay leafs, and this should give you a good base for your gravy. Adding Madeira (suggested by Martha Stewart’s book) seems to work the best for Gravy.
1 Turkey, with giblets
½ an onion
1 large Piece of cook’s Muslin
1 Tablespoon Plain Flower
4 Tablespoons Madeira
570ml hot poultry stock or water
1. First take the Turkey out of the Fridge. Let it sit for at least two hours before cooking.
2. Pre heat oven to 180c. Turkey cooking time depends on the weight of the bird. Allow 20minutes cooking time per 450g, and add an extra 20minutes as well.
3. Melt the butter, and soak the muslin inside it. Ensure all the butter gets absorbed.
4. Season the Turkey with salt, pepper and place in a large roasting tin with the neck, giblets, onion, bay leaf and around 300ml water.
5. Cover the Turkey completely with the Muslin and place inside the Oven.
6. Check to see if it is cooked by piercing the thickest part of the thigh with a skewer. You should have nice clear juices if it’s ready.
7. If ready take out, and leave in a warm place to rest for 45minutes before carving.
8. Pour everything left in the roasting tin into a gravy separator. If you don’t have one skim off as much fat as possible from the top.
9. Mix the flour with two tablespoons of the meat juices to create a smooth paste.
10. Place the rest of the meat juices back into the oven (in the roasting pan) and cook for a minute. This will help dislodge all the juices from the sides and bottom.
11. Into the same pan add the flour paste, Maderia, and stock and mix well.
12. Place the Roasting pan across the hobs, and heat up, so you can stir as you heat it.
13. When it is mixed enough you can pour into a saucepan to continue if you choose.
14. Stir until it is your desired thickness.