‘Tis the season to be jolly……paranoid that is, if you’re planning to entertain this Christmas, according to every newspaper and women’s magazine in existence. It always strikes me as strange that turkey takes on the mythical status of Unicorn when it come to cooking one, rare, valuable and completely mysterious. It is just a giant bird after all, so why the paranoia. Clearly it is the prospect of having fourteen drunk relatives over that sends most people into a tailspin of fear and indecision. What is more amusing is that every so called ‘expect’ chef has a different plan from brining and deep frying (American obviously), to slow-cook, fast-cook, stuffed, unstuffed, basted, buttered and covered in bacon.
The fact of the matter is that if turkey was such a wonderful meat we’d eat it all year round, with the same endless gusto as we devote to curry or McDonald’s. But we don’t, because turkey is a rather dull, less tasty version of chicken. So what are my tips?
- Never buy a frozen turkey or you’ll spend three days with this block of frozen avian in the bath slowly thawing. Also it tastes even worse than fresh turkey.
- Don’t read any miracle recipes. This will just increase your paranoia. Just follow the instructions on the plastic bag it came in. The people who grow turkeys know how to cook them.
- Don’t stuff the bird unless you like warm, gooey pulp that tastes of turkey fat.
- Let it rest for a very long time, at least 30-40 minutes. That will do more for the finished product than any amount of strange, chef-like advice will.
- Serve hot vegetables and gravy plus lots of red wine. This will cover a multitude of sins.
- Vow never to do it again and swear to cook duck/goose/beef next year. Then forget all about your new resolution and go back to Step 1
Or follow the 15 step programme above.