Have noticed that the world has many different sorts of Turkey available this Christmas season, but which is the best for me? bronze turkey, white turkey, free range, organic, ethically reared, turkey crowns and what does it all mean? I try to explain a bit more about all things Turkey here :-
- Bronze Turkey – the bronze turkey, most like the original wild turkey, slightly more gamier, usually traditionally or free range reared, can have a little black stubble when prepared before cooking, moist rich flavour, finely grained meat
- White Turkey -generally a larger breasted bird, clean skin, short legs
- Black Turkey – fuller gamier flavour than the white turkey with a smaller breast, the black turkey is the traditional British bird
- Free Range Turkey – definition, poultry that range freely for food rather than being confined, UK Trading Standards state that “free range” the poultry must have continuous daytime access to open air runs, access to ground mainly covered with vegetation and each have at least 10 square metres of ground available
- Ethically Reared – should be free range, high welfare, small scale family farms with lots of space, TLC and basically “Quality Life” not to be confused with Organic or GM free
- Organic Turkey – Produced according to the Organic Standards, Definition of Organic Poultry from the Soil Association is here
- Turkey Crown – this is basically a whole turkey with the legs and wings removed, easier to carve, cook and less waste
- Basted – Basted or pre-basted can mean it’s been injected with fat & salt ! beware and read the label!
- How big a Turkey do I need? for a quick calculation allow a minimum of 1lb per person, more if your hoping for lots of leftovers for additional meals e.g. cold turkey sandwiches on Boxing Day or Turkey Curry!
- Does size matter! – Do you need one massive Turkey or would two smaller turkey’s be better and easier? Smaller turkeys will cook much more quickly than one huge Turkey and will usually end up being more moist as haven’t been in the oven for as long as a big turkey. Is the fridge/oven big enough for your huge turkey!!
- Christmas Turkey – the traditional meal of choice served on Christmas Day along with all the trimmings, cocktail sausages, pigs in blankets (sausages wrapped in bacon), sage & onion stuffing or chestnut stuffing, sausagemeat stuffing or my favourite sausagemeat balls, accompanied by veg, Brussels sprouts, roast potatoes, roasted parsnips, carrot & turnip, peas or other veg and gravy, not forgetting the cranberry sauce and/or bread sauce.
- Thanksgiving Turkey – as above but American version! never had one so not sure what the extra’s would be…
- Turkey Dogs – Copas Turkey’s round up the Free Range Turkey’s at dusk with 2 farm sheep turkey dogs!
- Stuffing – Cook your stuffing separately from the bird its much safer as stuffing the bird can prevent the core of the bird cooking properly, you can still add some meat juices from the roasting tin for flavour. Hope to do some stuffing recipes soon including if your lucky, Mum’s superb Sausagemeat ball’s!
- Cooking the Turkey – Have checked various opinions on this and this looks like the clearest instructions from Copas Turkeys :-
Place your turkey or turkey crown in an oven pre-heated to 230°C/450°F/Gas 8. Cook at this temperature for the first 30 mins (or for the first hour for birds over 5kg) and then lower the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Total cooking time will be approximately 30-35 mins per kg. Please see table below.
About half an hour before the full cooking time, remove foil and turn the bird over so the breast bronzes.
- Carving the Turkey – Remove turkey from roasting tray & allow to stand in a warm place for 15-30 minutes prior to carving.
1. Hold the turkey leg by the knuckle
2. Cut close to the body & twist off, then carve this dark leg meat
3. Remove the wing & cut in half
4. Slice the breast meat from one side
5. Repeat for the other side
Alternatively remove the whole breast by sliding the knife down the breast bone and then carve the breast into slices, serve on plate with gravy poured over the top….
Turkey Trivia –
- Scientific Name – Meleagris gallopava
- Yorkshireman William Strickland is believed to have brought the first Turkeys to Britain in 1526
- Edward VII made eating turkey fashionable at Christmas
Turkey Jokes – maybe not!