It’s that time again and we are inevitably going to be talking turkey, so let’s dive into the festive spirit and get creative this Christmas with Citreus Catering.

 The trees up, the Bublé album has been on a loop for a week, the kids have made a list of demands, and the family is deliberating who is going to give Grandad a lift home on Christmas Day.  T

Although turkey remains by far the most popular meat at the Christmas table shorturl.at/ntwWX, the nutritional value of the bountiful beast is often overlooked and it has been subject to some bad publicity over recent years with some referring to the ‘bootiful’ bird as bland and tasteless. 

Turkey is the most popular meat at Christmas.

Since the 1700s, the turkey gradually replaced the goose as Britain’s favourite Christmas cull. Over time, it has gradually become the Lionel Messi of the Christmas dinner table: it’s comfortably regarded as the best by over half the population but it still maintains a reputation for having no personality. 

We generally expect the same kind of thing at Christmas – Queen’s speech, 80s sitcoms, drinks in the local before dinner, Mum doing all the cooking, turkey and the trimmings, sherry trifle, elderly relatives asleep by the fire before 4 pm – and that is probably because the evolution of the Christmas dinner is caught in a perpetual loop of family tradition. 

That’s all fine but it doesn’t mean that the big bird has to be bland.

Turkey Origins.

Higher in protein than chicken and commonly consumed just once a year, it’s an interesting fact that the reason for the turkey appearing on the first French dinner table was to celebrate a wedding. 

Turkey was the main part of the marriage feast when Charles IX of France wed Elisabeth of Austria in 1570, but it wasn’t frequently used for cooking until about 60 years later.

As well as Christmas, turkey is also associated with Thanksgiving Day in the United States. This is because the sheer abundance of native wild turkeys saved the first colonists from starvation.

Europeans first discovered turkeys in Mexico and they called it the ‘Indian Chicken’ – “Hey, everyone, it tastes like chicken!” Spanish conquerors thought they were still in the Indies at the time, hence the French word for turkey being dindonneau, a contraction of poule d’indes.

Trouble-free turkey tips.

‘twas the night before Christmas and organisation is the key. 

Don’t get in a turkey twist this Christmas by leaving everything to the last minute, give yourself extra time and the space you need to prep and to think how you can get creative this Christmas. Distract excited kids for an hour or two on Christmas Eve by getting them involved too – peeling and sorting the veg, setting the table, pouring Santa’s sherry. Many hands make light work an’ all that.

Turn things upside down

A good turkey should be young and plump, short-necked with a supple windpipe, and it’s easier to carve if the wishbone has been removed.

 A great tip for cooking the turkey is to roast it upside down. It certainly sounds unorthodox but just think about it for a minute. It’s all about moisture and flavour, and if you cook the turkey upside down for an hour, all the juices will flow into the breast, adding succulent flavour where needed.

Remember the advert about the turkey ruining Christmas? Ensure that you allow 20 minutes of roasting per 450g (1 lb in old money), ideally at 16 ֯C (325֯F, Gas mark 3) to avoid any trouble from your bird.

Continuing the subject of flavours, add season under the skin with butter, rosemary, cumin, or Italian seasoning, and season the outside with garlic, olive oil, salt, and other favourites. 

You can even baste with butter, beer, wine or juice every hour.

The legs take the longest to cook so it is advisable to remove the legs and cook them for 30-minutes before the rest.

Stuff it.

Stuffing has taken a bit of a back seat over the last 20 years but, having said that, a lot of the traditional ingredients still work well with turkey.

 Keep breadcrumbs to a minimum and don’t over-stuff the beast. Use dessert apples, oranges, wild mushrooms, chestnuts and rosemary to help penetrate deep down into the meat.

The Crown.

If you are opting for a crown this Christmas – as many people do these days – remember to royally roast it with bacon strips to turn up the intensity, and ask your butcher for some turkey bones to use for stock. 

Regularly add the juices to introduce moisture while it’s cooking, and cover with foil if it starts to brown. 

Serve with the strained cooking juices and garnish with watercress.

Roast Potatoes. 

About 85% of us will be having roast potatoes with our Christmas dinner this year and it’s vitally important that you get the oil hot if you want that tasty crunch.

Coconut oil is perfect for adding extra crunch

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/videos/techniques/how-roast-potatoes-video

video but goose fat gives the best flavour, with butter being the best vegetarian option. 

We like roasted veg at Citreus, it always works well with turkey. Don’t crisscross the sprouts either because it causes them to retain too much moisture and, when catering for large families, arrange the food like a carvery to allow guests to help themselves and relieve the stress of serving.

Creative Canapes

One area where you can get creative this Christmas is with a selection of canapes for your quests. Check out these treats: https://www.delicious.com.au/recipes/collections/gallery/best-canape-recipes/92a6ap69?page=2 . 

You could go retro with glazed salmon or mix it up a bit with rare roast beef and mustard, or play it safe by introducing chicken satay skewers as a light snack.

Whatever your plans are, we hope you enjoy your food with good company and we wish you all a very Merry Christmas. We hope to see you all again in the new year and don’t forget to let us know if you need professional catering assistance for a celebration in 2022 – https://www.citreuscatering.co.uk/contact-us/

Best wishes from everyone at Citreus Catering and don’t forget to get creative this Christmas.

1 Comment

  1. Sue Ried on 21st December 2021 at 6:23 am

    Thanks for all the handy tips, definitely going to give these a try and fingers crossed get some amazing results for my Christmas dinner.

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