Tag Archives: turkey

‘Pigs in Blankets’

This is a UK favourite at Christmas time and has more or less become an intrinsic part of this special meal.  ‘Pigs in Blankets’ are simply chipolata sausages, wrapped in streaky bacon. 

So easy to prepare, for 8 people you will need:

 8 regular-sized pork chipolata sausages (allow 16 if you’re buying the usual cocktail size Christmas midgets)

8 rashers of streaky bacon strips

Olive oil

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Preheat the oven to 220C / 425F / Gas mark 7  (200C for a fan oven, approx 400F)

Put a slice of streaky bacon on a flat surface and stretch and flatten it by gently pulling the back of a knife or palette knife over it.

Take a chipolata and roll the bacon strip around it to make a ‘pig in blanket’.  (If you’re using the mini sausages that are usually around at Christmas you’ll find that half a strip of bacon will do for one little sausage).  Repeat until all sausages are wrapped.

Sprinkle a little sunflower or olive oil in the bottom of a shallow oven proof dish.  Lay the pigs in blankets on top with the loose ends of bacon facing downwards and drizzle a little more oil on top.

Cook in the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes.

Drain on kitchen paper if you are concerned about them being too fatty.

Preparing ahead:   On the day before these are needed you can roll the sausages in the bacon and store, covered, in the fridge.

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Buttery Caraway Carrots

Incredibly simple – utterly delicious.

 

SERVES 8  /  PREPARATION TIME: 10 MINS  /   COOKING TIME:  10 MINS

Easy to prepare

1 Kg / 2lbs 4 oz carrots (about medium-sized)

25 g / 1 oz butter

1 tsp caraway seeds

Small handful of chopped parsley

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Peel the carrots and trim off the ends.  Cut in half lengthways, then cut on the diagonal into slices about 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) thick.

Place the carrots in a steamer basket and steam for 5 – 7 minutes until softened, or place in a heatproof bowl with a little water and microwave on ‘High’ for 3-5 minutes.

To finish the dish: Gently heat the butter in a frying pan.  Tip in the caraway seeds and cook for 30 seconds until they start sizzling.  Add the carrots and stir into the butter until glossy and heated through (about 3 minutes).  Toss through the parsley and serve.

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THESE CAN BE PREPARED IN ADVANCE:

Cook the carrots up to 2 days in advance, leave to cool, then cover and store in the fridge.  Reheat in pan, finishing with butter and caraway seeds as above, just before serving.

 

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Glazed Apples and Pears with Shallots

SERVES 8     PREPARATION TIME: 10 MINUTES    COOKING TIME: 1-1/2 HOURS

Easy to prepare

Ingredients

Juice of 1/2 lemon

4 small eating apples

4 small pears

900g / 2 lbs shallots (unpeeled weight)

1 tbsp olive oil

50g / 2 oz butter

6 tbsp quince or redcurrant jelly**

bay leaves to decorate

METHOD

Put the lemon juice into a large bowl.  Peel the apples and pears, leaving the stalks on, then toss in the juice. 

Meanwhile, bring a medium saucepan of water to the boil.  Lower in the apples and pears, then cover and poach for 30 minutes or until the fruit just gives to a sharp knife.  Peel the shallots while you’re waiting.

Heat the oven to 190C / 375F / Gas mark 5  (170C fan oven).  Add the oil and butter to a small roasting tin, then add the drained apples, pears and the shallots.

Brush the fruit with a layer of the quince or redcurrant jelly **(cranberry jelly would work equally well)** and roast for 1 hour until softened and golden.

Turn the pears and apples around in the fat a few times during cooking, brushing twice more with the glaze.

Serve spooned around the turkey, decorated with bay leaves.

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This recipe has been very slightly adapted from a recipe that first appeared in the December 2007 Christmas edition of BBC Good Food magazine.  The photograph is from the same source.

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Special Jewelled Stuffing

CHESTNUT & CRANBERRY ROLL   ** (Can be prepared ahead)**

 

Makes 2 rolls, each cuts into 8 slices

Preparation Time: 30 minutes.     Cooks for 1 hour

Easy to prepare

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INGREDIENTS

1 tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 Bramley (cooking) apples, approximately 140 g / 5 oz each, peeled

3 x 450 g (3 x 1 lb) packs good quality pork sausages

2 x 200g (2 x 7 to 8 oz)  packs vacuum-packed chestnuts, rougfhly chopped

Small bunch sage, leaves roughly chopped

Small bunch thyme, leaves stripped

1 egg

100g / 4oz white breadcrumbs

175g / 6oz fresh or frozen cranberries

24 rashers streaky bacon

butter for greasing

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Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then gently fry the onion for 5 minutes until softened.  Finely chop the apples, either by hand or in a food processor.

Squeeze the sausagemeat from the sausages into a large bowl, then add all the other ingredients except the cranberries and straky bacon.  Season generously then get your hands in and mix well.  Weigh out 450g (1lb) of the stuffing and mix a handfull of cranberries into it.  Use to stuff the neck of the turkey.

To assemble the rest:  Butter and season a large sheet of foil.  Stretch out the bacon rashers slightly with the back of a kitchen knife, then overlap 12 rashers on the foil. 

Spoon half of the stuffing mix evenly over the bacon, leaving a border of about 3cm (a little over an inch).  Scatter with half the cranberries, then pat them in.  Tuck the long edges of the bacon over the stuffing, then, using the foil to help, roll the stuffing up into a log shape. 

Repeat to make a second roll.

Heat the oven to 190C / 375F / Gas mark 5 / Fan oven 170C

Put the foil-wrapped rolls onto a roasting tin and roast for 45 minutes.  Unwrap, draining off any juice, then finish roasting for 15 minutes, until the bacon is crisp.

**These rolls can be prepared up to 2 days ahead and kept, raw, in the fridge, or frozen for up to 1 month.  Roast up to 1 day ahead if you wish, then reheat, wrapped in foil, for 30 minutes while the turkey rests and your vegetables finish cooking.

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Recipe and photos from a recipe that appeared in BBC Good Food Magazine, Christmas edition 2007

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Cider Roast Turkey

SERVES 8 with leftovers.  PREPARATION TIME 15 minutes.   

COOK approx 4 hours for a 4.5 – 6 Kg (10-12 lb) bird.

Moderately easy recipe

Choose a free-range bird for the best flavour – they’re more expensive, but well worth it for a special occasion.  Here in the UK I’ve found KellyBronze has a good flavour.

FOR THE TURKEY

4.5 – 6kg (10-12 lb) turkey, giblets removed and kept

450g / 1lb stuffing

2 leeks, trimmed and halved

2 carrots, halved

50g / 2oz butter, softened

300ml /1/2 pint of dry cider

FOR THE GRAVY

300ml /1/2 pint dry cider

600ml / 1 pint of chicken or home made turkey giblet stock

2 tbsp quince or redcurrant jelly (cranberry jelly would also work well as an alternative if you can’t find quince or redcurrant)

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Heat the oven to 190C / 375F / Gas 5 / 170C for a fan oven (approx 365F).

Wash and dry the turkey, removing any feathers.  Pull out the giblets and the neck, then set aside.  Lift up the skin that covers the neck opening, then stuff the stuffing up and under the skin, securing it tightly underneath with a skewer or two cocktail sticks.

Weigh the stuffed turkey (you may to use bathroom scales to do this), then calculate the cooking time, allowing 40 minutes per kg (20 minutes per pound).

Put the leeks and carrots in the bottom of a roasting tin in a single layer – this makes a trivet for the turkey to sit on, keeping it out of the fat that pools in the bottom of the tray and also adding flavour to the gravy.  Take the neck from the giblets you had set aside and add to the tin (again for flavour).

Sit the turkey on top of the layer of carrots and leeks and coat the breast all over with butter.  Pour in the cider, cover with foil, then roast according to your timings.  Keep checking the tin every 20-30 minutes and if the vegetables look like they’re burning, add a splash of water or cider.

At 30 minutes before the end of cooking, remove the foil and season generously with salt and pepper.

To test if the turkey is ready, pierce the thigh through its thickest part – the juices should run clear.  Take the turkey out and leave to rest, covered with a clean tea towel. 

Leaving the bird to rest is essential in order to allow the fibres of the meat to relax again and for the residual moisture to redistribute in the flesh.  You can leave the turkey to rest for up to an hour.

TO MAKE THE GRAVY

Drain the fat and juices from the tin into a jug, discarding the veg and the neck.

Place the tin over a flame then pour in the cider, scraping up the flavour filled crusty bits with a wooden spoon. 

Reduce the cider by half, then strain into a saucepan (this will save you hob space later).

You should find that by now the juices you poured out of your roasting tin into a jug will have separated out – the fat floating to the top.  Carefully tip off this excess fat, then add the remaining juices to the reduced cider and pour in the stock.  ***Reduce over a high heat for about 10 minutes until slightly thickened.  Stir in the quince jelly, taste and then season if necessary – if you’re using commercially pre-prepared stock be warned that this usually contains a lot of salt so your gravy may only require a little cracked black pepper by way of seasoning. 

Pour the gray into a serving jug or gravy boat, any resting juices that have come out of the turkey should go in now too.

***If you prefer a thicker gravy, mix 1 tsp cornflour with a splash of cold water, then add to the gravy, stirring constantly until smooth and glossy.

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This recipe has been slightly adapted from one  that appeared in the December 2007 Christmas edition of BBC Good Food magazine.  All photos from the same article.

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Giblet Stock

Making your own turkey giblet stock is very easy and well worth doing.  If you’re going to use this with Christmas or Thanksgiving lunch or dinner, this is something that you can easily prepare a day ahead, ready for use on the big day. 

You will need:

The turkey giblets

1 onion, sliced in half

1 carrot, sliced in half lengthways

A few parsley stalks

1 celery stalk, plus a few leaves

1 bay leaf

6 whole black peppercorns

Salt

900 ml (about 1-1/2 pints or 32 fl oz) water

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Wash the giblets and put them in a saucepan with the halved onion.  Cover with water and bring up to simmering point. 

Remove any surface scum with a draining spoon then add the remaining ingredients. 

Half cover the pan with a lid then simmer for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. 

Strain the stock, allow to cool and store, covered, in the fridge.

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Buying and Roasting Turkey – The Basics

WHAT SIZE TO BUY

2.25 kg / 5lbs                          Serves 4 – 6

3.6 kg / 8lbs                             Serves 6 – 8

4.5 – 5.6 kg / 10-12 lbs        Serves 10 – 12

9 kg / 20 lbs                             Serves 12 – 15

HOW LONG TO ROAST

Always weigh your turkey after it’s stuffed – you might need to use bathroom scales.  Allow 40 minutes per kg (20 minutes per lb) at 190c  /  375F  /  Gas mark 5.  (If you’re using a fan oven, the temperature should be 170C – that approximately 365F).   Make sure that the juices run clear; if not, return to the oven for 20 minutes and test again.

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