Tackling the Turkey

It can be quite nerve-racking cooking turkey for the first time for a big chalet party, but with some advance preparation it needn't be an ordeal.

BookThink Ahead
Order it in advance from the butcher. They don't tend to come much bigger than 10lbs so you may need two. Have a practice run at fitting them in the oven! A 10lb turkey will feed 12-14 people, allowing about ¾ lb each of raw, unstuffed meat.

 

Top tip - measure both your oven AND your turkey before the day itself (and consider this when ordering). There are plenty of stories of chalet staff having to either break the ribs or cut bits off in order to get the bird in the oven, all of which can severly detract from the appearance of the perfect Christmas meal.

It's a good idea to prepare the turkey, make the stuffing and peel the vegetables on Christmas Eve. Then on Christmas Day, you won't add to possible homesickness a feeling of, "What am I doing here, peeling potatoes?"

Do as much as possible beforehand (bearing in mind your chilled storage space) and go skiing or snowboarding on Christmas Day!

Carving the Turkey
If you are confident, carve it at the table. If not, plate up the meat in the kitchen, evenly distributing the brown and white meat.

A nicely carved turkey will give you larger slices and less meat is wasted if you carve the bird properly, so follow the instructions below.

Legs and Wings First
Place the turkey securely on the large carving board. To begin, you'll be carving only one side of the bird so use a large fork for balance. Depending on how steady you feel, pierce lightly, or rest the fork on the breast. Slice down where a leg connects with the body until you reach the bone.

Pull the leg away from the body with one hand. With the other, force the edge of the knife into the joint of the leg and body. If you cut firmly, the joint will sometimes separate cleanly. If it doesn't separate, get it off by cutting through the joint, if necessary.

Holding the leg up by the small end, rest the large end on the smaller carving board. First carve slices off of the thigh, and then the drumstick parts of the leg. Cut downwards and try to get medium-thin slices, as large as practical. Work your way around the leg. Use the fork to pull a wing aside. Insert the point of the knife into the joint and separate the wing from the body. Cut through the joint if necessary and put the wing aside.

Carving the Breast
Seat the bird firmly on the large carving board. Take your time and don't try to cut too much at once. Work from the first slice, carving down to the bone in a methodical fashion. Have a serving plate ready so you can transfer the meat with the knife blade as you slice it.

Using the large fork for balance, first cut a slice from the most rounded area of the breast (about halfway down).

Continue to slice downwards in order to get medium-thin slices that gradually become larger. Picture the ribcage, and angle your slicing so that the blade of the knife is parallel it, rather than digging in. Work your way closer to the bone. As you expose the bones, the slices will take on some odd shapes, but keep the thickness as uniform as possible.

You can either remove the stuffing before or after you have carved. Serve as required. You can either plate up the meat or let guests help themselves as they may prefer other parts of the turkey.

For the rest of the season (and for Christmas Day if your oven is too small for a whole turkey) you can get thighs, legs, or breasts, and almost any way you cook them they are great. Ideas include Cordon Bleu (stuffed with cheese and ham); Dijon mustard or peppercorn sauce; lasagne (use thighs); turkey escalopes with parmesan, breadcrumbs and tomato sauce.

NB Turkey breasts are often better value than chicken and can be used in its place in most recipes.

Turkey Recipes:

Roast Turkey with Apple and Cider
Creamy Sundried Turkey
Roasted Turkey Breast in a Sherry and Tarragon Sauce

Find out more on Turkeys at www.britishturkey.co.uk, which has a vast library of turkey recipes, nutritional information, trivia, competitions and much more.


 

 

This is just one of the many recipes that chalet staff use throughout the winter. For more great recipes click here.

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