Sunday, 21 December 2014

Cooking the perfect Christmas turkey

I've had this recipe for many years - in fact I think it might have been passed down to me by my late mother. The newspaper is yellowing and by the end of this you will be mellowing! So this is thanks to Oliver Pritchett - and is from the Telegraph (London I presume!) Have a wonderful Christmas and thankyou for following along with me as I muse from the terrace! May 2015 be all that you wish and more!
Heston Blumenthal's turkey (

And so to the recipe - a little dated but....enjoy!!

"Today, for the benefit of those few readers who have not yet bought my new cookery book, Hot Dishes, I am reproducing my recipe for the Perfect Christmas Turkey. 

What you will need: one turkey - ask the butcher to pluck it for you. Quite a lot of unsalted butter. About three cups full of coarse sea salt - I get my cups with a nice pale blue floral pattern on them, from Thomas Goode and Co, a nice little shop just down the road. A box of good-quality crackers. A large sheet of organic silver foil - not the ultra-shiny artificial stuff; I get mine from the Real Silver Foil Company. Turkey giblets - including the weird-shaped bits that are an off-putting sort of turquoise colour. Some Brazil nuts, preferably the 'montanha' variety.

At 5.30 on Christmas morning, get up and turn the oven on to 200 degrees Celsius. If you have a fan-assisted oven, turn it three clicks below the little symbol that looks like a cigar with stripes on it. Go back to bed. 

When you get up again, stuff the turkey - see page 449 of my book The Right Stuffing. After stuffing it, I like to give my turkey a good slapping all over. It may or may not tenderise the flesh, but it certainly helps to restore the circulation to my hands after being inside that cold bird. 

Add some salt to the unsalted butter and smear it all over the bird, then bung it in the old oven. The basic rule of thumb about timing is that a turkey betweekn six and seven kilograms will take roughly 45 minutes longer than you expect it to. 

Take a sheet of silver foil, fold it into an envelope shape and place it on the floor to catch the Krakatoa tidal wave of hot fat that is going to shoot out from the dish when you open the oven door to take a look because nothing seems to be happening in there. 

It is important to have organic foil, because when you get up from crouching in front of the oven, you will feel dizzy and the gleam from the ultra-shiny foil could dazzle you, causing you to lurch into the bread sauce. 

After 45 minutes, turn the oven down to 180 degrees, or if you have a fan-assisted oven, until the humming noise coming from it changes from 'moderately annoying' to 'slightly irritating'. 

While checking the bird after the first hour, I usually find my oven glove bursts into flames. I like to put it out by dousing it with the giblet stock, which has been simmering for a day and a half. I do not feel bad about losing the giblets because of the nagging doubts about those turquoise bits. Throw the giblets out the window.

Take the crackers from their box, grip each one by the indented part, next to the centre and pull outwards sharply. Don't worry if there is a slight explosion, this sometimes happens. Collect the paper hats, give them a generous sprinkling of salt and lay them out as stepping stones on the greasy kitchen floor. Take the riddles and give them to the family and guests to keep them amused until the meal is ready. 

Take six or seven decent-sized Brazil nuts and throw them at the cat, which is eating the giblets in the garden. 

It is now time to turn your attention to the gravy. You will find the recipe on page 675 of my large, lavishly illustrated book Just Jus. When you have made the gravy, place the book against the cat flap to stop the cat coming into the house, where it will be sick. 

The turkey will be done when a member of the family comes to the kitchen for the fifth time to ask: "Is there anything I can do to help?"

Throw a couple of Brazil nuts at them, take the bird from the oven, place it on a carving dish and leave for 20 minutes or so, to allow the cook to 'rest'.

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