Of all the different meats, turkey is the one I find I have the least confidence in cooking. And the only reason for this, is that other than at Christmas time, we never eat it. If I’m absolutely honest, I don’t really care for it that much. It always seems quite tasteless to me. However, that could be because, actually, I have never quite succeeded in cooking it properly.
I remember once buying a no nonsense, 5 star hotel bred turkey that had been read a story at bedtime all it’s life whilst being allowed to roam free during the day, every day. In a nutshell, it couldn’t have had a better life if I had dedicated my whole time to hand rearing it.
After we invested in said bird, I duly followed Nigella’s ‘soaking a turkey’ recipe, which included amongst many other things, star anise and allspice berries. In essence, this highly privileged bird was soaked in a no nonsense infusing juice and treated, even in death, like a King.
It still tasted rubbish.
So it is with some trepidation that I have spent today, roasting a very large turkey, for a very large Christmas meal. But the story starts before this…
Having had the above experience, and knowing the budget was tight, I bought an extra large frozen turkey from my local supermarket, covered it, and left it in the outhouse to defrost, slowly, for a few days. After 24 hours I thought I’d better check to see how we were getting on. All was well, although hardly any of the turkey had defrosted.
It was some time later that, in passing, I thought I’d have another cheekie peek. The bird felt much more malleable, so I thought I should bring it into the kitchen for a closer inspection. Imagine my horror, then, when I realised a not so small chunk had been nibbled out of the bird. I have glared at both cats since, and asked them directly, whether they were the turkey munching culprit, but, as with any cat, they just stare back at me with semi glazed indifference, and a look that says,
‘Who cares about what happened yesterday?’
I concluded, after much soul searching, that birdy would be cooking for many hours and therefore more than likely bacteria free by then, so I cleaned up the aforementioned unmentionable, and allowed the bird to continue to defrost. This time swathed in bags and secreted into the top of our wardrobe.
Which brings me back to today’s cooking.
Having squeezed the bird and all it’s bits and pieces into the oven, covered with tin foil, I nipped out to pick up the wee boy and left himself in charge.
On my return there was a more than slight wiff of ‘burn’ in the kitchen, so, I opened the door and was greeted by a magicians puff of smoke and an even stronger smell of ‘burn’. It turns out that our oven had a disagreement with the tin foil tray said bird was bathed in, obviously it was too close to the flame. Himself had checked the bird, but only at the front, wondered what the smell was, and opened a window.
Never mind, it was only the tray. And a wing. And they taste awful anyway…