Thursday, December 31, 2009

Christmas turkey

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It's only six days post-Christmas and you are undoubtedly maxed out on turkey leftovers. You probably have mixed feelings about this gorgeous plate of carved turkey above. That said, my Dad makes a great turkey and this year I took some serious notes that I will now share with you, reluctant and turkey-tired though you may be.

So here we go. For a seven-kilogram bird, allow four days for thawing in the fridge. You can put it in water in the sink to help it along on the last day. When thawed, rinse it, take the neck and giblets out of the cavity and rinse the cavity, too. Pat dry with paper towels. Apply a dry rub of Italian seasoning, thyme and cumin and any other herbs and spices that you like all over the turkey. Also rub it with olive oil and a cube of butter.

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Stuff the cavity with an unpeeled lime, half a lemon, cut up fennel tops, green onions, celery, a two-inch piece of ginger, garlic cloves and a whole onion. (We always do the breaded stuffing separately.)

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Close the cavity somehow — Dad uses wooden skewers and string to do this. Put on the turkey "lifter" string and put it in the pan you will roast it in if you haven't already. Cover the wing and leg tips with bits of foil to prevent them from burning. Oil the giblets and tuck near the sides of the turkey.

Put in the thermometer and cook for 20 minutes at 415, then turn the heat down to 350 for one hour, and then down to 325 for the rest of the cooking time. Baste every half hour or so.

Carve up and dig in. (Tell you what: Just bookmark this page for Easter or whenever you next cook a turkey and then let me know what you think!)

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