Turkey Prep, Step-by-Step
Turkey is the feast of all feasts and best way to celebrate any special occasion with family. Thankfully we now have access to delicious young halal turkeys to the mainstream stores and we can all enjoy this lean and flavourful roasted bird. The question is, how many of us know about turkey prep?
I realized that due to its rarity, many mulsims might have never experienced a proper turkey dinner… NEVER?! So I thought I should stick to my family’s basic trimmings and a few extras with a twist.
My family has a long history of turkey dinners at least 2-3 times a year. What is my favourite part of turkey dinner? I can’t choose just one but I feel its the gravy that brings it all together. A properly seasoned and prepared turkey will make a delicious and hearty gravy to go on top of your mashed potatoes, stuffing and of course turkey carvings.
Since we don’t use recipes when making a turkey, I will walk you through our general step-by-step guide for turkey prep. You can use your own recipes for any of these steps.
BRINE IT! We started by brining the turkey for 2 days in a water, sugar, salt, vinegar, peppercorn & some herbs. This step ensures the turkey is flavoured more than just skin deep. You can really taste the flavour in the turkey meat.
SMOTHER IT! Before roasting, we rubbed a cold herb, salt, garlic butter mix under the skin of the turkey. The butter helps flavour the turkey as well as crisp and brown the skin.
STUFF IT! To stuff or not to stuff? We decided not to stuff the turkey this time because we were tight on time and an unstuffed turkey takes almost an hour off your cooking time. We also didn’t put any veggies in the roasting pan because we wanted as much drippings in the pan as possible for the gravy. Typically I use a bread based stuffing but grain based is very popular too. I used some of the turkey drippings to moisten the mixture before putting it in the oven to give it that flavour it would have had if it were cooked inside the turkey
ROAST IT! After about 3 1/2 hours in the oven at 350 degrees we had a perfectly cooked and browned turkey. We kept it covered most of the time and uncovered near the end so it could get all toasty.
REST IT! Your turkey should rest at least an hour before cutting into it, more if you have the time. Don’t worry about it getting cold, your hot gravy will warm it right up.
GRAVY IT! Use the drippings from the pan to make a gravy. If you did the above steps well then all you should need to do is whisk in a flour & water mixture and strain the gravy.
DEVOUR IT! Serve with your favourite traditional or non-traditional sides and enjoy! We opted for my mom’s traditional bread stuffing, mashed potatoes with a touch of garlic, glazed dill carrots, cheddar sweet potato au gratin and cream corn casserole.
All in all, this was one of the best turkey dinners I have ever had! The flavour of the meat was perfect and it didn’t dry out like turkeys tend to. The size of the young turkey is perfect for an average size family and doesn’t require the better part of your day to roast. We still had plenty of leftovers for turkey salad sandwiches, pasta and soup!
Maryam (Lindsay Contractor) is a wife and mother of one beautiful baby girl. She is the owner of Blossom & Bean, selling gourmet confectionary. You can read more from Maryam and shop Blossom & Bean on her website blossomandbean.com