TALKING TURKEY

THIS IS WHERE YOU'LL FIND ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OUR TURKEYS FOR CHRISTMAS. OUR COOKING GUIDE IS SWIFTLY BECOMING INVALUABLE TOO...
 

BELOW YOU WILL FIND OUR BUYING GUIDE TO HELP YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT BIRD FOR YOUR NEEDS; SOME PEOPLE LIKE JUST ENOUGH FOR THE BIG DAY ITSELF, OTHERS (SUCH AS OURSELVES) FIRMLY BELIEVE IN THE NEED FOR LEFT-OVERS.

IT IS BASED UPON RICK'S EXPERIENCE AS A BUTCHER AND AS SUCH IS INTENDED AS A ROUGH GUIDE ONLY.

 THE EGG HOUSE BUYING GUIDE

WEIGHT IN kgs WEIGHT IN lbs & ozs TO SERVE TO SERVE (WITH LEFTOVERS!)
4-4.49 kg 8lb 12oz-9lb 14oz UP TO 8 ABOUT 4 PEOPLE
4.5-5.49 kg 9lb 14oz-12lb 1oz 8 TO 10 4 TO 8
5.5-6.49 kg 12lb 1oz-14lb 5oz 10 TO 12 6 TO 10
6.5-7.49 kg 14lb 5oz-16lb 6oz 12 TO 14 8 TO 12
7.5-8.49 kg 16lb 6oz-18lb 11oz 14 TO 16 10 TO 14
8.5-9.49 kg 18lb 11oz-20lb 14oz 16 TO 18 12 TO 16
9.5-10 kg 20lb 14oz-22lb 2oz 18 TO 20 14 TO 18

OUR ORDER BOOK FOR TURKEYS WILL CLOSE AT 2PM ON SATURDAY THE 9TH OF DECEMBER THIS YEAR.

TO ENSURE YOU GET EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT, DON'T LEAVE IT TOO LATE TO ORDER IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!

CLICK HERE TO BUY YOUR TURKEY NOW!

HOW DO WE COOK OUR TURKEY?

WELL, THIS IS NOT SO MUCH A RECIPE BUT THE BEST WAY OF ROASTING THE BIRD FOR CHRISTMAS – TRUST ME.

TURKEY COOKING TIMES

WEIGHT OF BIRD COOKING TIMES
4-4.5kg (10lb) 2 HOURS
4.5-5kg (11lb) 2 HOURS 15 MINUTES
5-5.5kg (12lb) 2 HOURS 30 MINUTES
5.5-6kg (13lb) 2 HOURS 35 MINUTES
6-6.5kg (14lb) 2 HOURS 40 MINUTES
6.5-7kg (15lb) 2 HOURS 45 MINUTES
7-7.5kg (16lb) 3 HOURS
7.5-8kg (17lb) 3 HOURS 10 MINUTES
8-8.5kg (18lb) 3 HOURS 20 MINUTES
8.5-9kg (19lb) 3 HOURS 30 MINUTES
9-9.5kg (20lb) 3 HOURS 40 MINUTES
9.5-10kg (22lb) 4 HOURS

Don’t be alarmed by the shortness of the cooking times… if you follow them, you'll have a perfectly cooked bird, provided it’s at room temperature when you begin.

Remove the giblets as soon as you get the bird home, rinse under the cold tap, cover and stick in the fridge for making your gravy with. Before you put the bird in the fridge, wash it inside with cold water, drain and blot dry with kitchen towels.

It’s important to take the turkey out of the fridge a good hour before you start cooking it, so it’s at room temperature when you begin. Check the weight of the bird and work out the cooking time from the chart above (the lb conversions were worked out by Rick and are a rough guide only).

We don't stuff our turkeys, we just put a halved onion and lemon or two inside. However, if you do stuff yours, remember to weigh the bird after you have stuffed it to gauge the weight and cooking times correctly.

Preheat the oven to 200°c/gas 6.

Rub the turkey breast with a little butter, or brush with goose fat. Put the turkey, breast down, in the roasting tin; the only fat deposits in the turkey are in the back and this allows them to percolate through the breast meat.

Keep the oven at 200°c/gas 6 for the first 30 minutes, then turn it down to 180°c/gas 4 for the remaining cooking time, basting at least once. Turn the bird the right way up for the last half hour to brown, basting again first.

To see if the turkey is ready, poke a skewer where the meat is at its thickest – behind the knee joint of the thigh. The juices should run clear.

It makes life easier if you have the turkey sitting somewhere to rest while you fiddle with everything else. I leave it quite happily for about an hour or so in the roasting tin, tented with foil. It won’t get cold as long as its not in a draught. It’ll be easier to carve and, while it sits, it will ooze lovely juices which you can add to the gravy.

ON THE SIDE

THE GRAVY

You can prep the stock the day before, it will keep quite happily overnight in the fridge.This makes enough for 8 people, so scale up or down as appropriate.

To prepare the stock: put the giblets from the turkey in a pan with 4 black peppercorns, 1 bouquet garni, 1 onion (halved), 1 carrot (quartered), 1 stick of celery (roughly chopped) and 1-2 rashers of bacon (chopped up). Cover with 1.5 litres of water and sprinnkle over 1 tsp of sea salt. Bring to the boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for a couple of hours. Strain into a jug. Set aside if you are doing this in advance. The next stage takes place whilst the turkey is resting.

Skim the fat from the roasting tin and discard. Pour off most of the juices into a jug, leaving about 2 tbsp in the tin. Put the tin on a low heat.

Put 2 tbsp of plain flour into a bowl, gradually mix in 4 tbsp of the juices poured from the pan. When it's a smooth paste stir it back into the roasting tin. (I also add 1 tsp of Marmite at this point - try it, it's lovely!) Cook for a couple of minutes, scraping up any bits from the bottom, making sure the pan's not so hot that it burns. Still stirring, gradually add about 800ml of the stock, stirring well between each addition, use more if it seems a bit thick. If you run out of stock use the water from boiling all those vegetables! Leave the gravy cooking gently, stirring occasionally. Add 2 tbsp of Marsala to the gravy, cook for a few minutes, season to taste, then serve.

THE BREAD SAUCE

This is my family's recipe. Make lots: it's fabulous in turkey sandwiches at teatime on Christmas Day, and even better with the Boxing Day spread!

Stud a large onion with at least 8 cloves (I like a few more). Pour 3/4 pint of milk into a saucepan and add the onion. Heat the milk slowly until it just reaches boiling point. Stir in 4oz of white breadcrumbs. Cover the pan (the paper from a block of butter is ideal) and leave it to one side for at least an hour.

Stir in salt & pepper, a good grating of whole nutmeg and 1oz of butter. Bring back to the boil, stirring it occasionally to prevent it from sticking. Remove the onion if you like and beat the sauce smooth with a wooden spoon. Check the seasoning and serve.

THE CRANBERRY SAUCE

This is a tasty cranberry sauce from the wonderful Nigel Slater. It uses fresh cranberries, but frozen cranberries work perfectly too.

Tip 250g fresh or frozen cranberries into a pan with 100ml white wine and 100g caster sugar and bring to the boil. Cut a couple of long strips of orange zest into thin shreds and stir into the mixture. Simmer gently for 10 minutes until the berries start to burst. Taste the sauce as it cooks, adding more sugar or a squeeze of lemon juice as you think fit. Remove from the heat and beat lightly with a spoon so that some of the berries are broken up. Serve warm. Remember, the sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.

A TWIST FROM NIGEL:

"In his wonderful book Real Flavours, Glynn Christian suggests serving cranberry sauce hot, and I agree with him. It is much brighter tasting and altogether more pleasing. He also suggests additions of roasted black peppercorns, mace and lemon, grated orange or cardamom. I often add bashed juniper berries to mine, strips of shredded clementine peel, and sometimes a splash of port."

LEFTOVERS?

NASI GORENG

Something a little different from Sarah Raven. Enough for 8 on Boxing Day!

In a small frying pan, toast 1 tsp each of cumin and coriander seeds for a couple of minutes. Crush them using a pestle & mortar and put to one side.

Make an omelette: heat 50g butter in a small omelette pan. Beat 4 eggs with a few drops of soy sauce and season with salt & pepper. Add the eggs to the pan and cook until just firm, remove from the pan and roll up.

Heat 2 tbsp groundnut oil in a large, shallow, heavy-bottomed pan and sweat 2 chopped onions over a low heat until they are translucent. Add 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, 5cm root ginger (peeled & chopped), 2 sliced yellow or red peppers and 2 finely chopped green chillies and cook for 5 minutes. Add the cumin and coriander seeds, 450g cooked basmati rice, 450g cooked turkey and 200g frozen petit pois. Turn up the heat and stir-fry for two minutes. Add 4 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp nam pla and season carefully with salt & pepper. Add 250g large cooked prawns to the pan and stir-fry again to heat them through.

Take off the heat, and stir in 8-10 finely sliced spring onions, 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil and 1 tbsp garam masala. Slice the omelette roll into thin strips. Pile the mixture onto a dish and decorate with plenty of toasted peanuts, omelette strips and a chopped bunch of coriander.