A belated Merry Christmas to everyone! I've spent the last few days contemplating how to tackle my yearly attempt to cook a decent turkey - that is, not ickily dry or tasteless. Countless cookbooks suggest countless ways of keeping the moisture in, but by Jove, I think I've found the perfect solution.
I had my usual bunch of harpies over for dinner on Boxing Day along with their other halves. As usual, they demand a big bird and it's become a kind of tradition for one of us to roast a huge turkey to stuff our faces with. The wonderful thing is that all my diva girls absolutely love eating and it's always a pleasure to cook for an appreciative audience, isn't it? So, despite the trepidation with which I undertook the task of the turkey, the effort was worth it.
I used a recipe from Jamie Oliver's website - Cheeky Turkey with Leeks and Trimmings. It turned out to be a classy yet fuss-free method of roasting turkey. Basically I had to separate the legs from the body of the turkey, roast that first with onions, then toss in leeks, red wine, dried porcini mushrooms, whole garlic bulbs, thyme and sage before resting the seasoned, buttered crown of the turkey (that had been draped with generous amounts of smoked bacon) on top of the whole mixture. It was then just bunged into the oven for 2 hours and forgotten till the gorgeous smells emerged to inform that dinner was ready. It really was much simpler than the previous recipe for turkey I had used which used far too much butter and required constant basting. This turkey was super moist and very flavourful thanks to all the herbs and the smoked bacon. The gravy was also sublimely flavoured by the leeks and given a robust kick by the soft garlic flesh that was squeezed into the gravy just before serving. Alongside the homemade cranberry sauce and my buttermilk potatoes (five pounds worth mashed diligently by my hardworking girlfriends), this silenced my girlfriends into an eating frenzy for a good half an hour before anyone could stop eating for a long enough time to chat. I didn't even have time to snap a decent picture of the turkey before it was demolished, but I was immensely pleased.
Roasted Onion, Corn and Watercress Salad
It wasn't all unhealthy. One of my dear girlfriends brought along a Roasted Onion, Corn and Watercress salad. Healthy yet completely gorgeously flavoured with macademia oil and lemon juice, this had all of us eating our requisite amount of greens for the day.
Bacon and Mushroom Aglio Olio Linguini
Another darling girlfriend upped the carbo quotient by bringing along a spicy, tasty Bacon and Mushroom Aglio Olio Linguini dish. Despite the massive portions of carbo we had, most of this dish disappeared too!
To round it all off, I had prepared Crème Brûlèe the day before. Basically consisting of egg yolks, cream, vanilla paste (or the seeds of the vanilla pod) and sugar, this was a tiny delectable delight that perfectly ended our decadent dinner. It was also very much fun to break out my blowtorch to create that lovely crackly caramel topping on top of the Crème Brûlèe.
We couldn't walk much after dinner and one of my harpy girls even had to lie down, so full of food was she.