I’ve been meaning to try my hand at roasting a turkey for ages now, and I certainly don’t want my virgin turkey attempt to be Christmas Eve, and risk depriving the family of dinner. I decided to practice on some guinea pigs… er, friends… and ordered a turkey from The Butcher. Gotta give credit to the Butcher for sourcing a turkey for me at this odd time of year. I made inquiries at Indoguna and Tierneys, both of whom don’t sell turkeys till at least October. The Butcher even thawed my turkey so that it was perfectly defrosted on the day I collected it. Props to them.
I wanted to go the whole hog, and decided to both brine the turkey and stuff butter under the skin, for maximum moistness potential. For the brine, I added flavour with honey, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves (one of the most underrated herbs, in my opinion), and brined the bird overnight. I then stuffed garlic butter under the skin, dumped it in the oven and hoped for the best.
Turned out pretty ok, I guess. It was a challenge ensuring the legs were cooked while preventing the breast from being overdone, and as a result the breast wasn’t quite as moist as I would’ve liked, but all things considered, I’m quite pleased. The biggest challenge was hefting the 6 kg bird in and out of the oven while trying not to get burned, spilling the juices or dropping the whole thing. I have until December to pump some iron before I tackle my next bird…
W brought the most amazing garlic mashed potatoes, topped with sliced potatoes and rosemary, nicely browned in the oven. The mash rocked – it was smooth and creamy (and W didn’t even use a ricer, heh), and just garlicky enough.
I made a starter of magret de canard with grilled peppers, rocket and baby spinach, tossed with my standard balsamic dressing. I got the frozen duck breasts from Tierney’s, and marinated them with soy, honey and grated ginger for a few hours before pan frying them. It’s insane how much fat was rendered from the skin. Very flavourful fat though, so I couldn’t resist using some of it to grill the red peppers, and also added a couple of spoonfuls to the salad dressing.
I made lava cakes for dessert but they were quite a disappointment. I’m not sure what I did wrong – maybe it’s because I used couverture rather than my usual Carrefour chocolate. Or maybe it’s because I hand whisked it using of using an electric mixer.
All in all, I would’ve been pretty pleased with the dinner if my lava cakes hadn’t let me down. Still, notwithstanding those, I’m glad I managed to pull off the roast turkey. A few tweaks to the recipe and process, and I should be all set for Christmas.
Duck RAWKED! C’s turkey was very good and tender, even if it didn’t taste very turkey-ish. W’s mash was also quite good. Too bad the lava cakes weren’t up to C’s usual standard. Or it would have been an awesome 3-course meal.
Update: I had turkey cold the next day and it tastes more like regular turkey now. And it’s even better.