THANKSGIVING SPECIAL

Although Salena and I are based in the good old London town, we still managed to find enough excuses to celebrate Thanksgiving for our friends across the pond! This doesn’t fall into one of our normal categories, but I thought that I would give you my Turkey cooking tips (with a cheeky stuffing recipe thrown in and a couple of little extras too). It doesn’t quite qualify as “Stupidly Simple”, but hopefully this will help.

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The Turkey

Mine was a 6.6kg beast, because I was feeding 12, but the same rules apply what ever the size.

You will need:

  • 1 Turkey
  • 1 packet streaky bacon
  • 1 lemon
  • Parsley stalks
  • 60g butter
  • 1-2 quantities of stuffing

Step 1. Make sure your bird is completely defrosted!

This is really important, because it wont cook properly otherwise, you also can’t stuff your turkey unless both it and the stuffing are at room temperature. So give this stage the proper amount of time.

Step 2. Do your maths!

The weight of the Turkey determines how long you will cook the turkey for. Basic rule:

  • 30 minutes at 200C
  • 20 minutes for every 500g at 160C
  • last 30-45 minutes at 200C to brown

Mine was in for about 5 hours total, so make sure to get up early and work out exactly how long you need to cook for.

Step 3. Take stuff out and put stuff in.

Some turkeys will come with giblets, if yours does then put them to one side and save them for later (for my little something extra at the end!).

Now cram as much stuffing in as you can, at both ends. Start with a whole lemon and some parsley stalks in the back end, then go in with the stuffing. Yes, it’s gross, but trust me it is worth it. In my opinion this is the only way you get your turkey to taste amazing.

Then secure both ends with skewers so nothing falls out. Because there should be nothing coming out of both ends anywhere near this bird…

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Step 4. Getting your bird ready to go.

Get some extra wide tin foil and lay 2 pieces on your baking tray, one vertical and one horizontal. Then the Turkey goes in the middle. Now melt 60g of butter and brush it all over, focus on the breast meat, because that dies out the most. Then take a packet of streaky bacon and lay it over the breasts as well, so it overlaps. Finally wrap it all up in the foil, with some space at the top and bung it in the oven.

(Use your sums above to work out the cooking time.)

You should only need to baste in the last 30-45 minutes when you crank the heat up and take the foil off, but then do it as much as you can.

When the juices run clear or your meat thermometer reads 74C you are good to go! Rest for 50 minutes (i.e. the time it takes to cook your roast potatoes) and then dig in!

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Stuffing

For my Turkey I made sausage, sage, chestnut and cranberry stuffing. It’s an oldie, but a goodie! (I used 1.5 servings in my turkey, and baked the rest.)

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You will need:

  • 30g butter
  • 1 onion diced
  • 100g streaky bacon finely chopped
  • 150g chestnuts
  • 175g sausage meet (just plain, no flavours)
  • 3 tbsp. sage
  • 3 tbsp. chopped parsley (save the stalks for the turkey)
  • 1 tbsp. thym
  • 1 egg

This is pretty easy. Put everything except the onion, butter and bacon in a bowl. Then, in a pan, melt the butter and fry the onion and bacon until golden. Wait for it to cool and then mix everything together. You will have to get your hands in there and give it a good squish, it is quite nasty, but worth it, I promise.

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Now for 2 little extras.

Cranberry Sauce

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Now this one is stupidly simple!! 3 ingredients and about 15 minutes to make. Why would you EVER buy it in a can? I just do not understand! Please explain it to me in the comments if you can.

So, for this one you will need:

  • 500g fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 125 ml water
  • 125g sugar (any kind)

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So for this, your put the water and cranberries in a pan, with a lid, and simmer for 5 minutes. This will break down all the berries. Then add the sugar, and stir until it is dissolved. Then let it cool and there you have it. Cranberry sauce.

Takes about as much effort as opening a can and heating it in the microwave to make it less can shaped. Seriously, WHY?

Turkey gravy

Now this is what the giblets were saved for. Makes a seriously yummy gravy, worth the effort!

You will need:

For the stock

  • Giblets
  • 1.25 l water
  • 1 leek or 2 celery sticks
  • 1 carrot
  • some parsley stalks
  • 6 pepper corns

For the gravy

  • Turkey dripping, separated out from the fat (for a how to look here)
  • 500 ml stock
  • 125 ml white wine
  • 2 tbsp. corn flour

To make the stock boil the  giblets into he water for 5 minutes, and skim off the scum. Then add in everything else and boil for 2 hours. It will make your house smell AMAZING!  Then when it’s done strain everything out so you are just left with the liquid.

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For the gravy, heat the dripping in a pan and stir in the flour, to make a paste. Then add in the stock and wine and simmer until you have a glossy, yummy gravy. Season as needed.

Phew!! That took almost as long to write as it did to cook! But I hope that was helpful.

Happy thanksgiving!!

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P.S. This all still counts for Christmas you know!

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