Holiday, Main Attraction

The Best Turkey and Those Creamy Turnips You Had Thirds Of

25734177_1889839257710829_2365862058233590706_oHere’s my Christmas gift to you: two of my very best time-tested (and party-tested recipes!!

The Best Turkey

It took me twenty years to really figure out how to make flavourful, tender, reheat-able turkey. At least once a week we’d cook a turkey at the restaurant for buffet dinners, clubhouse sandwiches and pasta dishes. Here’s what I’ve learned. You’ll need to start this the day before the feast!

For the Turkey and Gravy:

1 fresh or defrosted Turkey (12 to 20 lbs) local and free-range if at all possible

2-6 tablespoons melted Butter or Olive Oil

Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

Flour as needed

¼ cup chopped fresh Parsley or ½ teaspoon dried Thyme

Place the turkey in a roasting pan with fairly high sides. Rub the turkey all over with the butter or olive oil, and salt very generously, at least a heaping tablespoon for a smaller bird and more for a larger one. Grind on some pepper and refrigerate uncovered overnight. The next day, preheat the oven to 250°F and pop in the turkey. Roast for about 5-8 hours, depending on the size of the bird. The breast meat temperature should be at least 170°F. Don’t be afraid to roast the turkey overnight if that works best for your cooking schedule.

Let the turkey cool for a while, then carefully remove it to a baking sheet, tent with foil and leave to rest while you make the gravy.

Set the roasting pan on a burner turned to medium heat and add 2-6 cups water (again, depending on the size of the bird). Whisk to loosen up the browned bits. In a bowl, place 2 tablespoons flour for every cup of water you added to the pan. Stir in enough cold water to make a very smooth, pourable mixture. Whisking constantly, add it to the simmering juices in the roasting pan. Cook and stir, making sure to get into all the corners of the pan, until the gravy boils and thickens. Taste and add the parsley or thyme, freshly ground black pepper and a little salt if needed.

Gently pull the turkey meat from the bones (save them for stock) and cut into serving pieces. Arrange on a serving platter and serve with the gravy.

The turkey can also be made in advance to this point: place the turkey pieces in an ovenproof container and pour a cup or so of the pan juices over the turkey before making the gravy. Cover with foil and refrigerate. To reheat, place in a 300°F oven and warm for 30-45 minutes.


Creamy Turnip serves 6-8

All I can tell you is that this has turned every turnip hater I know into a lover of the humble root. I served this dish to hundreds of happy Christmas party goers when I ran the Union Street Café! Make plenty because seconds are required.

3 lbs. (1.4kg) Turnip, peeled and diced

6 oz (170g) Cream Cheese

¼ cup Butter, softened

2 cloves Garlic, minced

¾ cup Whipping Cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the turnip, cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the cream cheese, butter and garlic in the food processor (or mash together in a bowl). Add the whipping cream and pulse or stir to combine.

When the turnip is tender, drain it and return it to the pot. Scrape in the cream mixture and stir gently to combine. Pour into a baking dish and bake for 20 minutes, then serve.

Note: The dish can also be made in advance. Refrigerate, covered, for up to 3 days. When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350°F and bake for about 40 minutes, until hot.