Christmas Bird
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Christmas Bird

Christmases in our home usually mean a roast turkey dinner... its a labour of love, n u've gotta be ultra patient with it... coz its quite a bit of work, and it takes a lot of time... so u gotta strategise the planning and execution of your whole cooking process if you want to serve up dinner on time... but its well worth the effort...

Nirmala Prem

Ingredients

12-serving
  1. 1 whole turkey , frozen
  2. 2 chicken bouillon cubes , crumbled
  3. 8 Cloves garlic
  4. 1 inch ginger , piece 1
  5. 1 cinnamon stick
  6. 6 cloves
  7. 2 star anise
  8. 6 allspice berries whole
  9. 1/4 Teaspoon caraway seeds
  10. 1 white onion
  11. 1 carrot
  12. 2 celery stalks
  13. 1 Bunch flatleaf parsley , coarsely chopped
  14. 4 Tablespoons maple syrup
  15. 1/2 Cup butter
  16. 1 Tablespoon white peppercorns whole
  17. 1/4 Teaspoon mace
  18. 1 bay-leaf

Method

360 mins
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    If using frozen turkey (butterball has the juiciest turkeys) remove it from the freezer and place it in the refrigerator for at least 2 - 3 days before roasting. this is to thaw it out well.

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    Remove the bird from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before you commence the remaining steps. it is wise to place the bird, plastic packaging et al, in a large vessel at this point. this is to ensure that the turkey juices / melting ice dont leak onto your countertop.

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    Thoroughly clean and disinfect your kitchen sink with boiling water. place the bird in your sink. carefully remove the plastic packaging.

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    The may be a small plastic packet inside the cavity of the bird containing the neck and giblets. set it aside. you will need the neck and giblets for preparing the gravy.

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    Pick out any feathers of stubs on the skin of the turkey. wash the turkey well, both inside and out.

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    Dry the turkey using paper towels, and place on a rack on a sturdy counter-top, with a sheet of greaseproof paper beneath it. (this is to ensure less clean-up of your counter top)

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    Rub the inside of the cavity with lemon juice and salt.

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    For the marinade, grind together the garlic, ginger, chicken bouillon cubes and lemon juice (using a little water if required) to a paste.

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    Prick the skin of the turkey all over with a fork. rub the marinade all over the skin. make sure you massage it into the skin.

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    While the bird is marinating, dry roast the cinnamon, cloves, star anise, allspice and caraway seeds. grind to a fine powder in a mortar and pastle or a coffee grinder. apply this powder all over the turkey, and let it rest for around 20 minutes.

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    Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C. make sure the rack is at the lowest position, so as to fit the bird into the oven.

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    Just before putting the bird into the oven, stuff the cavity with roughly diced onion, carrot and celery stalks. tie the legs of the turkey tight using twine. secure the wings of the turkey close to the body using toothpicks.

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    In a small saucepan, melt the butter and add maple syrup for the glaze. mix well.

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    Place the turkey on a rack set inside a disposable aluminium roasting tray (less clean-up after dinner this way) ;) insert a pop-up turkey timer into the thickest part of the turkey breast (making sure you insert it all the way)

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    Pull out the rack of the oven, place the roasting tray on it. make sure the turkey is centered in the roasting on its own rack (use the kind of rack you use to cool cookies on).

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    Now pour half the glaze over the turkey, trying to cover as much of the skin as possible with this.

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    Push the rack into the oven and close the door. bake at this temperature (210 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

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    After 30 minutes, reduce the temperature to 180 degrees C.

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    While the turkey is roasting at this temperature, keep checking it every 20 - 25 minutes. the meat tends to get dry (turkey breast) so open the oven door and baste the turkey with the pan drippings. use a turkey baster for this if you have one.

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    Its very important to baste the turkey with its own drippings every 20 minutes, to ensure that the breast doesnt dry out and remains juicy and succulent.

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    After about 4 hours, the timer will have popped out, indicating that the meat is fully cooked. if you dont have a timer, just pierce the turkey in the area between the leg and the body (groin). if the juices run clear, its done.

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    At this stage, pour the remaining glaze over the bird, turn the oven up to 210 degrees C again, and roast for a final 15 minutes.

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    When the glaze has turned a lovely brown colour, remove the bird from the oven and let it rest for about 15 minutes. (remove the twine and toothpicks at this point)

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    While the bird is resting, you can prepare the gravy. in a small sauce pan, put the turkey neck, giblets, white peppercorns, mace and bay leaf along with 1 cup of water.

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    Bring to the boil and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes.

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    While the neck and giblets are simmering, remove the turkey from the rack and onto a serving platter.

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    In a non-stick saucepan, melt half a stick of butter. add a tablespoon of plain flour, and cook it off till it loses its raw smell.

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    Pour in the pan drippings into the butter and flour (you can loosen the drippings using just a little hot water from a recently boiled kettle). stir to combine.

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    Now, strain the neck-giblets-spices water into the fat-flour mixture, all the while whisking it well to ensure that no lumps form. bring to a boil and simmer for about a minute.

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    Season it with salt and pepper.

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    Pour the gravy into a gravy boat or individual ramekins, and serve alongside the turkey.

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    It is best enjoyed with a side of mashed potatoes, braised vegetables and dinner rolls. hope your christmas bird adds magic to your christmas dinner!

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