"This is a journey of my life since I was all of 12 yrs when I started my hand in cooking to now with displays of my learning and creations of recipes from around the world. My inspiration and role model has always been my Mum who has always created dishes from around the world and excellently well. I do not believe I would ever match to her culinary skills. I remember the times she could cook and bake almost 4-5 dishes in one go without ever letting one go under cooked or burnt! I was born and raised in Dubai, UAE and recently moved to India for family reasons. Kitchenette just means that over the decades, my kitchen has changed from that of my mum's to my uncle and aunt's, to my home in UAE and now in India. Pala't'te, describes both global cuisines ('Palatte'-diverse flavours) and pleasing diverse 'Palates'."

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Turkey Roast Delight- A Thanksgiving Special for Christmas!

Seasons Greetings all! Its a season to be jolly...falalalala...lalalala! Hope you have not been too naughty this year! ;)

Thanksgiving is celebrated in various parts of the world. Although we do not celebrate Thanksgiving, Turkey used to feature in our Christmas lunches at home almost every Christmas and I would like to share this attempt at Turkey that I tried my hand in after arriving to India. I must say it was a task as we did not get the prepared Butterball variety. So I actually had a tedious turkey cleaning process last Christmas.

This is the first of my Christmas recipes for this year. Hope you enjoy making them. My guests certainly enjoyed the meal I whipped up for them last year.

Mummy's cooking always woos us and her Turkey lunches for Christmas is greatly missed..sigh! After moving to India, I don't think she has had the chance to make us her famous Christmas meal although whatever she makes is amazing!

I had made an elaborate Christmas dinner last year that I seriously had no time to reach out for my cam nor click the Turkey in its full form although it would have been worth it after the immense effort I went through in making this bird. I do hope I get a chance to post the Turkey picture in whole the next time I roast one. So please excuse me this time.

To make this delightful Turkey meal,

You need:

For the Turkey roasting:

  • 3 kgs of Turkey (Butterball usually has a conversion of lbs to number of servings, however after much research, I came up with a 1:2 ratio, so 3 kgs of turkey would serve 6-7 adults. Necessity is a mother of invention would rightly apply in this case)
  • Olive oil or melted butter
  • 1 large shallot
  • 1 leek stem finely diced (optional)
  • 2-3 carrots, half diced for stuffing and rest for topping (when served)
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • 1 half boiled potato, quartered (optional)
  • 1 bunch of fresh parsley
  • Sprigs of thyme or rosemary (you can also use a combination of both)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp of paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
* Mum would usually not add the celery, rosemary or thyme but I added it for extra flavour.

The make:

Preparation Time: overnight + 1 hour | Cooking Time: 3-3.5 hours | Serves 6-7 adults

Tip:Remember to defrost the turkey overnight or the morning of as it does take time to bring it to room temperature. While doing so some tips to remember, let the turkey defrost in the packing/plastic in the refrigerator (not freezer) on a separate pan overnight so the juices would be confined to the pan. Do not immerse in hot water to speed up the process as the skin would pull away. If you are defrosting it the morning of, then you can leave it to defrost outside, just make sure you keep it the pan itself and cover with a net or a foil sheet to avoid contamination. Clean the turkey as if you were cleaning chicken and remove any left over feathers or stubs. In case of stubborn stubs like I found in the one I got last Christmas, use a new scrubber (which you can discard after use to light scrub the stubs out and/or pick out with previous washed and sterilised tweezers or just use a new pair of tweezers). Pat dry with paper towels. Reserve the spare parts such as the neck and giblets(heart, liver, gizzard) to make stock for the stuffing.

  1. Marinate the turkey with the juice of half a lemon both on the inside and oil. Next rub on some of  the olive oil or butter  and some pepper and salt both on the inside and out.
  2. Preheat the oven to 215C (approx 400F).
  3. Stuff the inside of the turkey with the carrots, tops and bottom of the celery, sprig of thyme and a sprig of rosemary, half of the shallot - peeled and quartered, diced bunch of parsley, half of the carrots diced, the potato and leek. Add a ball of foil paper in the body cavity to prevent the stuffing from falling out. Next carefully tie the legs of the turkey with a kitchen string (avoid colored string or any other strings other than the ones used for roasting as you may end up like Bridget Jones with a coloured turkey bottom or maybe in whole!). You can also use metal skewers to close up the turkey cavity.
  4. Stuff the turkey neck with some parsley and rosemary sprigs and close it up with string and thin skewers. Make sure to fasten the turkey wings with a string around the body.
  5. Rub more butter or olive oil on the outside of the turkey with a good sprinkle of salt and pepper and/or paprika.
  6. Now depending on the type of oven you use, flip the turkey on its breast side first or the roasting  rack with a roasting tray at the bottom of the rack to retain the juices that drip from the turkey. The idea behind this is to ensure that the turkey breast retains the juices of the turkey and is succulent. Add sprigs of thyme and/or rosemary to the outside of the turkey as well for extra flavour.
  7. Now cook the turkey on a high 215C (approx 400F) for the first half hour. For the next two hours, reduce it to 200C and for the last hour at 180C. You can flip the bird on its back on a high of 250C for about 3-5 minutes, in case you want the breast side slightly more brown. You can either monitor the temperature of the turkey using a meat thermometer or just use a butter knife to insert into the breast, the juices should be clear and not pinkish. Once you take out the turkey from the oven, wait about 10-15 minutes before you carve the meat.
  8. Serve on a bed of cleaned romaine lettuce with remaining diced carrots, rosemary/thyme sprig and with choicest rolls or spiced rice of your choice! Serve with Turkey Stuffing and Gravy! Enjoy!

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