Roast turkey and vegetables
Every cookbook and celebrity chef seems to have a different take on how to roast turkey.
Locally we have substantially good turkey from quite a few conscientious poultry farmers including the famous Copas Turkey Farm at Cookham in Buckinghamshire. I was invited by Tom and Brenda Copas to a pre-Christmas turkey lunch at the farmhouse recently. Forget the TV chefs, forget the cookbooks, this is how Brenda Copas cooks her turkey.
Find a suitably sized roasting tin. Remove the bird from the fridge two hours before you’re going to roast it – so it doesn’t hit the oven fridge cold. Remove the giblets and preheat the oven to 230°C.
Place the bird breasts down in the roasting tin and cover in foil. Tightly crimp the foil around the tray. Place the turkey in the pre-heated oven and roast it for ½ hour at this very hot 230°C temperature. After ½ hour reduce the temperature to 190°C. Roast your bird for ½ hour per kg (so a 4kg bird takes 2 hours). In summary the total cooking time including that first very hot half hour is ½ hour per kg.
On the last ½ hour, remove the roasting tray from the oven, remove the foil, then, using a couple of carving forks, turn the bird over – so breasts up. Pop it back into the oven so the final ½ hour bronzes up the breasts.
Most importantly, once cooked, leave the bird to rest for 45 minutes before carving.
Honey roast parsnips and carrots
600g carrots, trimmed and peeled
600g parsnips, trimmed and peeled
5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp fresh rosemary leaves
3 tbsp clear honey
Preheat oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas 4. Cut the carrots in half lengthways. Cut the parsnips lengthways into quarters. Place in a large roasting tin with the carrots, drizzle over the olive oil. Toss to coat the vegetables evenly in oil. Roast for 30-35 minutes until golden and tender, adding the rosemary leaves halfway through the cooking time. Drizzle over the honey; toss to coat the vegetables.
Brussel Sprouts with chestnuts and apples
900g Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1 tbsp olive oil
2 medium red apples, cored and cut into thin wedges
2 x 200g packs vacuum-packed cooked chestnuts
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
4 tbsp fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley
Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil, add the Brussels sprouts. Simmer for 10 minutes until just tender when tested with a sharp knife. Drain well.
While the sprouts are cooking, heat the butter and oil in a wok or large frying pan; cook the apples over a low heat for 5-6 minutes until starting to soften.
Increase the heat; cook for a further 2-3 minutes until pale golden.
Add the chestnuts and sprouts to the pan, stir-fry for 5 minutes.
Add the nutmeg and parsley, toss well to mix. Season with a little salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Cranberry, port and orange sauce
2 oranges, juiced and zest finely grated
450g fresh cranberries
A small cinnamon stick, broken in half
225g caster sugar
Measure out 140ml orange juice and put in a non-corrodible pan with the zest, cranberries, port and cinnamon. Bring to the boil and simmer uncovered until the berries begin to pop and soften.
Stir in the sugar and adjust the sweetness (sugar toughens the cranberries, so don’t add until this stage). Remove the cinnamon stick and allow to cool before serving.
Christmas day chipolatas and bacon toad in the hole
I’m cooking lunch on Christmas day – all the family will descend. I escape washing up. My mum and dad are coming from the North for Christmas lunch – they’d have Yorkshire pudding with everything given the chance. My Christmas compromise is to do chipolatas wrapped in bacon “Toad in the Hole” style baked in baby Yorkshire puddings. You will need a 12-hole non-stick fairy cake baking tin.
12 quality chipolata sausages
12 slices streaky bacon
125g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 large free-range egg
30ml vegetable oil or beef dripping
Mix the flour and salt in a bowl, add the egg and half the milk. Hand beat with a whisk until completely smooth; then beat in the remaining liquid. Allow to rest in the fridge for 12 hours.
Pre-heat oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Gas 3. Wrap each chipolata in a bacon rasher. Take the cake tin, dividing the oil or dripping between 12 holes, heat the tin in the oven for 5 minutes.
Allow the batter mix to reach room temperature, give it another thoroughly good whisk.
Divide the batter between the 12 red hot cake tins. Put a wrapped chipolata in each. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Serve straight away.