Wednesday, 23 April 2014


I know that Si├ón won't approve, she quote "it's the grainy, squeaky texture", she cannot abide. Well I disagree, I bloody love it! Breast, leg, wing, skin and the juices...oh the juices!!!!
Dripping and jelly so intense of rich "gamey-poultryness". The aromas that permeate throughout the house of the best roast dinner, what smells like Christmas morning in homes across Britain. Poor turkey, it gets a bad press and I think there's a snobbishness. Those to blame are the trendy cheaper joints of meat, like lamb shanks and ham hocks perhaps. People think it's dry. Yes, overcooked it is. Why oh why do people feel the need to start cooking it overnight in the oven?? A short high temperature and a good basting ensures moist luscious flesh that melts in the mouth.  

Cooking a turkey at Easter time is rather odd (especially as late Easter was this year). Spring has sprung, the temperature is rising, everything outdoors seems to sing in the light. Perhaps this is what it's like to be cooking a turkey at Christmas in Australia....or the closest I'll ever get. In winter time it's all about the root veg, christmassy spices and rich accompaniments. Which is why it's odd to cook a turkey in spring. It's an exciting time for a cook like me, as I'm tempted by freshness. Green, fresh, quenching, lemony, zesty, young, herbal, taste buds are wanting to be woken up from the slumber of the long winter months of 'bowl', comfort food.  

All this considered, my love for roast turkey is so much I have to put my seasonal confusions aside and enjoy this big bird for what it is. Instead of roasting parsnips alongside I've thrown in the occasional jersey royal as they're just coming into season and a few spears of asparagus (but I confess to having asparagus all year round, I love it. I try not to take notice of the label when says it comes from Zanzibar!).

So I buy just a small turkey from Sainsburys, says it serves six to eight. There's an abundance of choice, no one seems to want/buy turkey for Easter these days. Instead they favour the ridiculously priced spring leg of lamb. Which I love but refuse to pay such a high price, I'll wait until it goes down, well into the summer my butcher assures. Oh how I wish you could buy turkey all year round!....but then again would I enjoy it as much? It seems an extravagance when you consider the size of the bird, taking up humongous amounts of space in your fridge, the beers and wine will have to be relegated out for now.

I paid just under twenty pounds for mine, yes this seems quite a bit just for us, to feed a family of four. But honestly, I cannot tell you enough how far it'll go and how much you will get for your money. In this time of frugality, being this thrifty with one piece of meat should be in anyone's interest. Day one we do a roast for lunch with all the trimmings. As with any bird of this scale there's the capacity to stuff it generously. I used about a pound in weight of good quality sausage meat from my butcher, with breadcrumbs (approx 2 slices blitzed in magimix), dried sage and a diced onion with plenty of seasoning. In the evening we have turkey and stuffing with cranberry on toast. Day 2 we have leftovers with yesterday's stir fried veg. So that's quite a bit of the meat gone. I might have just enough to make a pie, if I add gammon or ham. Could do a curry? I'll definitely be doing soup, the stock you get is amazing. 

So there you have it, with two days meals that's £2.50 per head. The more you stretch out the lower the price. I am content and smug knowing that my dinners are sorted for the next few days. And no.....I'll never get sick of turkey!


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