Christmas is coming and to ease you in to the festive season, we’re celebrating with 12 Days of hints, tips, recipes and gift ideas to make your festive prep even easier.
Day 1: The Turkey
Today, we’re all about the turkey. Blackwells Free Range Bronze Turkeys are reared to maturity, game hung and carefully plucked and prepared to bring a superior and flavoursome bird to your Christmas table. You’re off to the best start with a Blackwells Turkey but we know that cooking the all-important Christmas meal can be a bit of a rollercoaster for even the most experienced chef.
To help out, we asked James Hulme, Head Chef at the Paternoster Chop House (aka the First Dates Restaurant) and part-time Turkey Whisperer, for his top tips and Christmas cheats…
“Buy the best turkey you can. Blackwells free range, corn fed bronze turkeys are best.
To reduce the stress of over cooking turkey, I like to remove the legs and do them separately. For the crown, it’s nice to poach it in a full flavoured chicken stock until the meat is firm, then dry off and roast in the oven until golden. This will keep the white meat moist.
The legs are nice if the bone is removed and filled with your stuffing mix. Then rolled and wrapped in bacon; giving a much smaller joint to easily cook in a smaller amount of time.
Never worry about having everything ready at the same time! The meat can come out and happily rest on the side whilst the vegetables are cooking. Some of your vegetables such as sprouts, beans, carrot and swede mash can be cooked the day before and cooled. Then quickly reheated on the day, I even boil my potatoes for roasting the day before, this makes them fluffier and crisp as the fridge slightly dries them out.
As for the stuffing, I use sausage meat, dried apricots, chestnuts, sage, onion, and instead of breadcrumbs I actually use Paxo.”
– James Hulme