It’s time to talk tur­key this Christ­mas

Chinchilla News - - LIFE OUR COLUMNISTS - ED HALMAGYI fast-ed.com.au

IN THE weeks lead­ing up to Christ­mas, a faint but per­cep­ti­ble tremor seems to rum­ble through our neigh­bour­hoods.

But you don’t need to call the seis­mol­o­gists, it’s sim­ply the col­lec­tive foot-tap­ping anx­i­ety of a mil­lion Aus­tralians about to roast their first tur­key.

So, I’m here to help. Per­fect­ing a gi­ant baked bird is ac­tu­ally much easier than you might imag­ine, you just need to fol­low a few es­sen­tial tips.

For starters, if you’re buy­ing a frozen tur­key (which is a to­tally fine way to get one) make sure you buy your bird at least three days ahead. The rea­son is, it must de­frost slowly if you don’t want it to dry out by drop­ping a bunch of its natural juices. That means in the fridge for a cou­ple of days.

Se­condly, make sure you’re buy­ing a tur­key that meets your ac­tual needs. So many keen cooks pur­chase a bird far larger than they need be­cause, well, it looks cool? For most fam­i­lies a size 30-40 (3kg-4kg) is fine. Also, if you are do­ing a gi­ant size 50 or above, keep in mind that it may mean there’s no room in the oven for your pre­cious sides.

Al­ways make your stuff­ing the night be­fore. That way the bread­crumbs re­ally get time to soak up juices and de­velop flavour.

If you’re go­ing to in­vest in a $70 tur­key, then a $9 meat ther­mome­ter should be a no-brainer. Get­ting tur­key right is all about tem­per­a­ture, not time.

When in­serted into the thick­est part of the thigh the meat should read 73C. And no higher. When you re­move the tur­key from the oven it will con­tinue to climb to about 76C due to its ther­mal mass.

Lastly, carv­ing doesn’t have to be hard. Start by re­mov­ing the thighs and drum­sticks, then prise off the breasts with fin­gers (it’s re­ally quite simple) and carve them on the board. Oh, and try to en­joy your­self, af­ter all, it’s Christ­mas! In­gre­di­ents Size 35 tur­key (3.5kg)

2 tsp cel­ery salt

Sea salt flakes and freshly-ground white pep­per 4 cups multi­grain bread­crumbs 1 cup des­ic­cated co­conut Finely grated zest and juice of 6 limes 6 cloves gar­lic, minced 6cm piece gin­ger, minced 1 tsp ground car­damom 125g un­salted but­ter, melted 200ml co­conut cream

¼ cup ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil

Method

1. Pre­heat oven to 200C. Pat the tur­key dry in­side and out with kitchen pa­per. Sea­son with cel­ery salt and pep­per.

2. Com­bine the bread­crumbs, des­ic­cated co­conut, zest, gar­lic, gin­ger and car­damom in a bowl and mix well. Add the juice, but­ter and co­conut cream, then stir well. The mix­ture should just hold to­gether, if not, add a splash of wa­ter. Sea­son with salt and pep­per.

3. Press the stuff­ing into the tur­key, then se­cure the cav­ity open­ing with a skewer. Place the tur­key in a roast­ing pan, rub with ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil, then bake for 1 hour.

Cover with foil and bake for a fur­ther 1 ½ hours.

Re­move the foil and bake for a fi­nal 20 minutes. Test the tur­key tem­per­a­ture at the thick­est part of the thigh. When the meat ther­mome­ter reads 73C, set aside to rest for 20 minutes, then carve and serve.

TROP­I­CAL CHRIST­MAS TUR­KEY WITH CO­CONUT AND LIME serves / 10 ‘‘ IF YOU’RE BUY­ING A FROZEN TUR­KEY MAKE SURE YOU BUY YOUR BIRD AT LEAST THREE DAYS AHEAD.

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