Saturday, December 18, 2010

So accomplished

There's nothing like cooking a perfect turkey to make you feel like an accomplished cook! Even better when it's the first time you've done it!
(Although maybe it was just beginner's luck...) (also, please ignore the rack on which the turkey is sitting - I couldn't work out how to get the turkey off it and onto the plate - so we just moved the whole thing!)

We had friends over for christmas lunch today and we decided to try doing a turkey. I've never really been a huge fan of turkey, as pretty much every turkey I've had in the past has suffered from dry turkey syndrome. Not my turkey! So moist and juicy and tender. It really was the best turkey I've ever had, and I'm not just saying that because I cooked it! I did make sure I got a nice crispy bit of skin too.
I've got two christmas specific recipe books (Nigella and Donna Hay) so I read up on their turkey recommendations. Nigella soaks hers in "brine" for two days beforehand, which wasn't going to work for me for various logistical reasons. So I went with Donna Hay, but following Nigella's timings for my 6kg bird.

What's the secret? Well, I don't know why my turkey turned out so well, but I followed the recipe pretty much exactly, so I guess that's the secret. Lots of butter between the breast skin and meat (tell you what, carefully separating the skin from the meat with your fingers is a very odd business, only beaten really by then stuffing dobs of butter back in there!). Sit the turkey on a rack in the baking tray, and fill the bottom of the tray with chicken stock, and baste every hour or so with the stock/juices mixture (would have done half hour, but couldn't fit that in with the other prep jobs I had to do!).
And there wasn't much left, always a good sign! We should have enough pickings for turkey bubble and squeak for lunch tomorrow I think! Thanks to Fiona for doing the veg, Sue for the dessert and Jack for the champagne - truly a great joint effort christmas lunch.

17 comments:

bells said...

oh well done! Looks fantastic! I always do the butter under the skin (with herbs sometimes) for chickens. I think it really helps. And I reckon all that stock in the tray would have added beautifully to the moisture in the oven.

Hooray!

m1k1 said...

Congratulations on your premier turkey roast. Domestic Goddess, indeed you are.

LynS said...

Well done. Looks absolutely yummy.

del said...

I have never done a turkey so I am VERY impressed! It looks delish, and I agree, nothing worse than dry turkey. So happy yours came out so well. I'll have to try your tips if I ever work up the nerve.

MadMad said...

So glad it turned out so well! It looks amazing!

sapphireblue said...

Looks yummy!

Roxie said...

Bravo!! It's almost too pretty to carve - almost. Did you have stuffing and gravy and mashed potatoes, or were you healthy about it?

What's bubble and squeak?

amy said...

I've never done a whole turkey because I've never had occasion to need that large of a bird, but I do whole chickens all the time. Love love love roast chicken, although I hate hate hate pulling that bag of stuff out of the middle of it, especially when it's still a little frozen and I have to really work at it. (I have a love-hate relationship with meat, can you tell?!) Well done! And I know cooking a big meal is no easy task with a baby around. (I cooked almost all of Thanksgiving dinner 2008 with a newborn strapped to me!)

1funkyknitwit said...

You did it, I didn't doubt you for a second :D

Looks very YUMMY, I can almost smell it from here !

Donna Lee said...

It's beautiful. I don't do the butter under the skin, just herbs and don't have problems with dryness. It might be because a lot of our turkeys have brine injected into the meat. Brining always sounds like a good idea but way too much work for me.

Christmas luncheon sounds wonderful. I spend the day at the store.

Ann said...

The turkey looks so delicious. You have done a great job. I have never cooked a turkey before too & I don't think I will. Merry Christmas to you & family.

knitabulous said...

I think I'm going to brine the turkey this year, I saw Simon do a chook on the cook and the chef and he explained it all scientifically. I didn't understand it fully, but it sounded good to me.

But I do need to find a big enough bucket. We've got a spare fridge, so that will help too. It takes a lot of space!

Youre turkey looken goodenuff to eat RR!

Sarah said...

Ooh that is impressive. I'm still just at the helping my Mum out with roasting the turkey stage - I think you must be a real grown up :o)

Loved that Rudolph bib from the previous post.

Jodi said...

Ooh! You're a kitchen wonder. If you're ever in a pinch and don't want to do the basting, Reynolds turkey bags truly do turn out a marvelously moist bird. And that's key, since I can't bring myself to touch dark meat with a 10 foot pole. :)

Sweetp said...

Oh yum!! That looks divine!! We are having xmas at our house this year and I am totally wimping out and doing a bbq so DH has to do the cooking lol. You did a great job with the turkey!

Jejune said...

Yum, that looks splendid! Yes, turkey can be dry, but that under-the-skin butter does the trick!

I've done brining recently just on some chicken breasts, for a few hours - I think it did make them moister. A worthwhile technique to know, anyway.

Do try Nigella's Spiced Peaches sometime (from her Express cookbook) - very good with ham, and would be wonderful with turkey too, no doubt.

travellersyarn said...

Butter makes it better (could be a cross-stitched motto in my kitchen...). The turkey looks lovely. Have missed my blogs and knitting buddies!