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Lets talk turkey

Saturday, December 21, 2013
Cook Up

Christmas is right around the corner once again and lots of people are caught in the last-minute frenzy. When it comes to Christmas meals, a lot of cooks stay away from turkey and instead, prepare chicken, beef or even curry duck and paratha.


Turkey has been given a bad rap because it is often overcooked and the texture becomes very dry. This can be avoided by brining the turkey, which serves to make the meat moister and brings out the flavour of the meat.


If your turkey is injected with butter or some sort of moisture-adding flavouring, it is not recommended that you brine. There’s another reason why so many prefer to stay away from turkey, the bird is usually so big that people are still eating turkey weeks after Christmas.


Simply look for a smaller bird, it will be easier to handle and will cook in no time. Happy Christmas and Bon Appetit!






1 12–14lb turkey
10 cups stuffing
1/2 cup butter, softened Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup minced fresh herbs pureed with 1/4-cup olive oil (1/4 cup fresh thyme, 1/2 cup chopped chives, 1/4 cup fresh parsley, 1/8 cup garlic)
1 cup water




The night before cooking your turkey, rinse the turkey, pat it dry and season it inside out with salt and pepper.


Rub the minced herb mixture over turkey completely, cover and leave refrigerated overnight. The next day bring your turkey to room temperature.


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Pack the neck cavity loosely with some of the stuffing, fold the neck skin under the body of the turkey and fasten it with a skewer.

Pack the body cavity loosely with the remaining stuffing and truss the turkey.

Spread the turkey with the butter, place it on a roasting pan and roast it in the oven for 30 minutes.

Reduce the temperature to 325F. Baste the turkey with the pan juices and add the water to the pan.

Roast the turkey, basting it every 20 minutes for 2 1/2 to 3 hours more. Or until a meat thermometer inserted into the fleshiest part of the thigh registers 180F, and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced. Transfer the turkey to a platter, remove the string and cover loosely with foil.


Remove stuffing. When turkey has cooled. then proceed to carve. • Serves 10–12






1 lb chicken giblets, cleaned and finely chopped 1 tbsp minced chives 1 tsp minced garlic 4 tbsps vegetable oil 1 tbsp finely chopped garlic 1 cup finely chopped onions 4 tbsps French thyme, fresh 5 pimento peppers, seeded and chopped 1 hot pepper, seeded and chopped 1/4 cup chopped celery 1/2 cup chopped fresh chives Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 6 cups, soft breadcrumbs 1/2 cup currants 1/3 cup French thyme 4 ozs butter, melted (optional) 1/2 cup chicken stock




Clean giblets and mince in food processor, season or combine with minced chives and garlic.


In a large sauté pan, heat oil, add garlic, onions, thyme, peppers, celery, chives and cook and stir until onions are tender.


Add giblets and stir until they have lost their pinkness, about two minutes.


Add currants and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Add bread crumbs, and combine well, add thyme and melted butter and stir.


If your stuffing seems a little dry, moisten stuffing with a little chicken stock adding only about one tablespoon at a time until moist but not wet.


Turn onto plate and cool before stuffing into bird. • Serves 8







1 jam roll
1/2 cup dark rum 
1 cup slivered toasted almonds
Maraschino cherries to garnish
4 cups of mixed fruit (any type) or 1 28 oz tin canned peaches or fruit cocktail
Custard 3/4 cup custard powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 cups whole milk
1 cup whipping cream
2 tsp vanilla essence 


METHOD In a medium saucepan, combine custard powder and sugar; gradually stir in milk. Cook and stir until mixture thickens, whip to remove any lumps. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Beat cream until whipped cream stage, fold into custard. In a large trifle bowl or individual glasses, place one layer of Swiss roll, sprinkle rum, spoon custard on top, layer with fruits repeat with another layer of Swiss roll, rum, custard and fruit. Repeat until all Swiss roll is used and the last layer is custard and fruit. Top with additional whipped cream if desired, top with cherries and nuts. • Serves 10 [email protected]





2 1/2 lbs potatoes
5 tbsps unsalted butter
5 tbsps flour
4 cups milk
2 large onions, chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2–1 cup grated cheese





Peel and thinly slice potatoes to about 1/8-inch thickness. Preheat oven to 400°F. In a medium saucepan, melt butter, add flour, stirring constantly, cook and stir until the mixture forms a creamy consistency. Add milk and stir, lower heat and stir until thick, smooth and creamy, about five minutes, add salt and stir. Add chopped onions, stir and remove from heat at once. Grease a casserole dish. Place a single layer of potatoes in the dish, cover with some sauce, making sure all the potatoes are covered, repeat again with another layer of potatoes and sauce. Repeat process until all the potatoes are used up, finish with a layer of sauce, and top with grated cheese. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 45 minutes, remove foil and continue baking for a further 20–30 minutes until potatoes are tender, and the top is lightly browned.


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