How Do You Roast Yours?

livingstone

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The humbug thread made me think about the differences in how people cook their Christmas dinners. It's remarkable that a meal that - for most people - is remarkably similar (roast meat - usually poultry - roast potatoes, stuffing etc) has such differences and those differences become each families own tradition. I really quite like the idea of families doing Christmas dinner in a particular way for years and years, and those particular methods or twists etc being passed down (for good or ill) - it's a nice reminder of all that's good about Christmas.

So how do you roast yours? Assuming you do roast it, of course...

I try to avoid cooking fads - and I find the affectations of Nigella a bit grating - but I've been doing her turkey recipe for a few years and can't recommend it highly enough. The big differences are the turkey is brined overnight, and her cooking times are well below what we have traditionally been told is safe (I think you need a meat thermometer to be safe). But the result is juicy, tender, flavoursome meat - the brine breaks down the meat to make it tenderer, and gives it great flavour. And the lower cooking time means it keeps its juices.

The other thing I've found is that despite the hype of goose fat roast potatoes, beef dripping is a far superior fat for roasties - gives just as nice (or nicer) flavour, but a better crisp (sunflower oil gives the best crisp in my experience but I think a nice meaty flavour needed for Christmas dinner roasties).
 


Cruimh

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Cruimh

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Joined
Apr 30, 2010
Messages
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The humbug thread made me think about the differences in how people cook their Christmas dinners. It's remarkable that a meal that - for most people - is remarkably similar (roast meat - usually poultry - roast potatoes, stuffing etc) has such differences and those differences become each families own tradition. I really quite like the idea of families doing Christmas dinner in a particular way for years and years, and those particular methods or twists etc being passed down (for good or ill) - it's a nice reminder of all that's good about Christmas.

So how do you roast yours? Assuming you do roast it, of course...

I try to avoid cooking fads - and I find the affectations of Nigella a bit grating - but I've been doing her turkey recipe for a few years and can't recommend it highly enough. The big differences are the turkey is brined overnight, and her cooking times are well below what we have traditionally been told is safe (I think you need a meat thermometer to be safe). But the result is juicy, tender, flavoursome meat - the brine breaks down the meat to make it tenderer, and gives it great flavour. And the lower cooking time means it keeps its juices.

The other thing I've found is that despite the hype of goose fat roast potatoes, beef dripping is a far superior fat for roasties - gives just as nice (or nicer) flavour, but a better crisp (sunflower oil gives the best crisp in my experience but I think a nice meaty flavour needed for Christmas dinner roasties).
I think the brining is important.

As for the "families doing Christmas dinner in a particular way for years and years" my sister always ends up putting sprouts out for the hens on Boxing day and the hens always end up ignoring them ..... Not even the dog will steal them.
 

silverharp

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I stumbled over using Polenta here 3:45 but seems to common enough for those in the know

[video=youtube;O9y5oUKJtrg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9y5oUKJtrg&t=214s[/video]
 

Dame_Enda

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I make a stew consisting of mince beef (380g), boiled spaghetti (500g), 1 carrot, 1 onion and sometimes mushrooms.
 

Victor Meldrew

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I'm more of a Mashed spuds person. But Roasties are sacrosanct for herself, so that is what I do. As well as Mash. Goose/Duck fat normally, or whatever is to hand in Dunnes.

As for the bird? Just the crown as we all hate leg meat and something that takes hours to cook.
 

Orbit v2

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Melted butter for the roasties, it's your only man, imo.
par boil for 5 mins. Shake the be-jaysus out of them for a few seconds to fluff up the edges. Then roast with oil and garlic and maybe a bit of melted butter thrown over.
 

gatsbygirl20

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Tried Nigella's briney turkey bath one year and the result was a slippery wet bird with a strange mortuary smell. (otherwise I am a Nigella fan. I cannot recommend highly enough her excellent Tia Maria, orange and chocolate Christmas cake)

For years my trick was to sit the turkey on a wire rack over the roasting tin and pour a can of Stag cider over the bird. I would add tarragon. As the cider-infused juices flowed down into the roasting tin with the scent of tarragon...... Hmm.. Very nice. (a good quality dry cider is much nicer than wine when cooking turkey)

Then one day I thought "what's all this nonsense about trying to make turkey wet and moist and weird-scented? It's a dry meat. Let us get back to basics"

So now I get a good quality bird. That is important. In a bowl I mix tarragon, butter, salt and mixed herbs. I loosen the skin and insert this just beneath it, all over the breast bone, just under the loosened skin.

I use sage onion and sausage meat stuffing. That's it. Just roast.

I collect the juices and make a gravy with the juice, stock, a little port, cranberry, squirt of orange, giblets, star anise. Reduce and strain.

The main thing with roast potatoes is to cut them so you have a lot of surfaces and most importantly, rough up these surfaces with a fork.
 

gatsbygirl20

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I miss Con for short cuts and recipes ....
Mé too Cruimh. He would reply to my recipe with a picture of a tin of sausages, a white sliced pan loaf, and instructions to dry out the turkey before cooking by leaving it on the hedge outside the house for a few hours

I miss him on the cooking threads.
 

Rural

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Apr 28, 2007
Messages
27,865
Tried Nigella's briney turkey bath one year and the result was a slippery wet bird with a strange mortuary smell. (otherwise I am a Nigella fan. I cannot recommend highly enough her excellent Tia Maria, orange and chocolate Christmas cake)

For years my trick was to sit the turkey on a wire rack over the roasting tin and pour a can of Stag cider over the bird. I would add tarragon. As the cider-infused juices flowed down into the roasting tin with the scent of tarragon...... Hmm.. Very nice. (a good quality dry cider is much nicer than wine when cooking turkey)

Then one day I thought "what's all this nonsense about trying to make turkey wet and moist and weird-scented? It's a dry meat. Let us get back to basics"

So now I get a good quality bird. That is important. In a bowl I mix tarragon, butter, salt and mixed herbs. I loosen the skin and insert this just beneath it, all over the breast bone, just under the loosened skin.

I use sage onion and sausage meat stuffing. That's it. Just roast.

I collect the juices and make a gravy with the juice, stock, a little port, cranberry, squirt of orange, giblets, star anise. Reduce and strain.

The main thing with roast potatoes is to cut them so you have a lot of surfaces and most importantly, rough up these surfaces with a fork.
I put the turkey into one of those disposable foil roasting tins which I then put into a proper roasting tin (I do everything to save on washing up afterwards). I line the bottom of the roasting tin with celery sticks, carrots, a couple of garlic cloves (unpeeled) and an onion (quartered) and I sit the turkey on top of this.

The stuffing only goes in the neck and up under the skin, I fry some onions, chopped smoked rashers, chopped chicken livers and add them to the crumbs, sage, parsley and lots of butter.

The other end gets a halved orange, a halved lemon and a couple of sticks of celery. I cover the legs with smoked streaky rashers, make a tent out of foil and bung it in the oven at 170[SUP]o[/SUP] C.

I've had loads of Christmas cake disasters (don't bother any more), but never a turkey disaster.

Planning to make this little fella out of marshmallow fondant icing for the top of the cheesecake, now this is potential disaster territory, I'll let ye know how it works out.:)

 

Clanrickard

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Apr 25, 2008
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33,474
The humbug thread made me think about the differences in how people cook their Christmas dinners. It's remarkable that a meal that - for most people - is remarkably similar (roast meat - usually poultry - roast potatoes, stuffing etc) has such differences and those differences become each families own tradition. I really quite like the idea of families doing Christmas dinner in a particular way for years and years, and those particular methods or twists etc being passed down (for good or ill) - it's a nice reminder of all that's good about Christmas.

So how do you roast yours? Assuming you do roast it, of course...

I try to avoid cooking fads - and I find the affectations of Nigella a bit grating - but I've been doing her turkey recipe for a few years and can't recommend it highly enough. The big differences are the turkey is brined overnight, and her cooking times are well below what we have traditionally been told is safe (I think you need a meat thermometer to be safe). But the result is juicy, tender, flavoursome meat - the brine breaks down the meat to make it tenderer, and gives it great flavour. And the lower cooking time means it keeps its juices.

The other thing I've found is that despite the hype of goose fat roast potatoes, beef dripping is a far superior fat for roasties - gives just as nice (or nicer) flavour, but a better crisp (sunflower oil gives the best crisp in my experience but I think a nice meaty flavour needed for Christmas dinner roasties).
How do you brine it? I have seen brine recipies but they utterly complex. I always assumed it was simply leaving it in very salted water.
 

Pizza Man

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Mar 5, 2015
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898
I always purchase mine from Marks & Sparks:

ht tps :// christmasfood.marksandspencer.com/luxury-vegetable-selection/p/p21000026

Why waste one's Xmas Day cooking when one could wearing a paper hat and drinking Erdinger?
 

livingstone

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Mar 3, 2004
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24,928
How do you brine it? I have seen brine recipies but they utterly complex. I always assumed it was simply leaving it in very salted water.
That's the core of it.

Big bucket or tub. Lashings of salt. About 100-200g.

Everything else is a bit optional, but I think good for flavour. Nigella has a long list of various spices to include. I'm a bit more ad hoc - I chuck in whatever looks like it might add some nice flavour and I have in my cupboard.

Things I do always chuck in are a couple of halved onions, the juice of a couple of oranges and the orange husks, black peppercorns, sugar and honey.

Everything else is dependent on what's in my cupboard but often things like all spice, a bit of cinnamon, ginger, garlic etc.

Once all of that's in your bucket, fill it half way with water, give it a good stir, and put the turkey in for a bath overnight.

I've never found it to be slippery or wet when cooked, like Gatsbygirl, but I so also do what she does and put a flavoured butter between the skin and the breast. Then I brush on melted butter and scatter over some sea salt flakes and a few rosemary leaves.
 


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