Travel & Food

How to Cook Turkey! a Delicious Christmas Turkey!

The turkey showed up in Christmas dinner in the UK during the 16th century, and famous history proves King Henry VIII to be the first English king to eat turkey for Christmas. It may not surprise you that turkeys are not native to the UK. They appeared in England in the early sixteenth century, near 1524, based on the Chronicle of the Kings of England. British traders bought them from Spanish conquerors who brought the chicks back from Mexico, where they had been tamed from the wild species for many years by native Mexicans. I know you want to know How to cook Turkey, saying this story may be good!

The Norfolk Black turkey type is considered to be directly descended from this first turkey breed. The Norfolk Black was generated in England for more than 200 years before finally being taken back to America with European colonists. Still, the species has slowly been rejected in popularity and is now pretty rare in England and America. Although during the 16th-century, turkey was very expensive, as turkey farms expanded across England, eating turkey for Christmas dinner took wing in popularity. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that turkey converted into the typical Christmas dinner fare for people in the UK.

Nobody is sure why turkeys are named turkeys! There are two main hypotheses (both or a combo could be true!). One idea is that the first immigrants in the Americas assumed that turkeys were a species of large guinea fowl (a bird from Africa that they would have been used to dining in Europe). Guinea fowl were brought into Europe by Turkish merchants in Constantinople (currently called Istanbul). At that time, anything ‘exotic’ usually had the word ‘Turkish’ or ‘Turkey’ preceding it because they often came through/via the country of Turkey.

How to prepare a turkey
Photo by Lilas Yohane on Unsplash

Guinea fowls were named ‘Turkey coqs’ or ‘Turkie Hennes’ (both meaning ‘Turkish/Turkey birds’), which became abridged to ‘Turkeys’ and gave the same name to the new bird they observed in America! Another hypothesis says that, although turkeys first came to Europe in Spain, they were primarily brought to Europe via the Turkish merchants in Constantinople. Therefore, they were called ‘Turkey coqs.’ Repeatedly, they also just became known as ‘Turkeys’ over time.

Turkeys became ‘popular’ to eat for Christmas in England during the 1840s and 1850s. In the book ‘A Christmas Carol’ by Charles Dickens, issued in 1843, the Cratchits first had a goose. Still, at the end of the book, Ebenezer Scrooge awards them a turkey because it is more prominent and more ‘important.’ Dickens’s family is recorded eating a turkey for Christmas in 1843!

Roast turkey is usually served with all the trimmings in the UK, and these include:
Pigs in Blankets
Pigs in Blankets is the name given to little sausages wrapped in strips of bacon, especially in England. This term was first used in 1957.
Brussel Sprouts
Such small green vegetables which families either seem to love or hate (I love them!) are called after the city of Brussels in Belgium, where they have been planted since the 13th century. The original vegetable might come from nearby the Mediterranean Sea, and the first variants of ‘Brussels’ might have been launched to Northern Europe by the Romans. It’s thought that they first appeared in England about 400 years ago.

Turkey meat, commonly referred to as just turkey, is the meat from turkeys, typically domesticated turkeys but also wild turkeys. It is a popular poultry dish, especially in North America, where it is traditionally consumed as part of culturally significant events such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as in standard cuisine.

How to prepare a turkey?

The turkey is the heart of the Thanksgiving meal, and there are so many recipes for cooking one, such as frying, spatchcocking, roasting upside down, and turning halfway. Yet, the typical way is still the best. Whether you’re roasting a whole turkey for the first time or need your annual Thanksgiving refresher, this recipe will help you over the steps to a perfect turkey with Crunchy skin, tender meat, and so delicious that you’ll wonder why you delayed a year to eat it again. This is the easiest, most straightforward way to roast a turkey.

How to thaw a frozen turkey?

If you have a frozen turkey, you will first need to defrost it ENTIRELY within the refrigerator using plastic packaging. You may place it in a large, deep roasting frying pan to avoid leaks running through your refrigerator shelves when it defrosts. Let 24 hours for every 3–4 pounds. Your turkey will need 2-3 days to defrost, depending on its size perfectly.

A much quicker technique for defrosting your bird is to drown the turkey in cold water (30 minutes per pound). Make sure that the turkey is in a leak-proof bag to drown it in, and change the water from time to time to keep it cool. It takes up to three hours to take the chill out of your turkey (depending on the size of the turkey). It would be best to let it come close to room temperature before cooking so that it roasts steadily. After defrosting, get off its neck and giblets (throw them away or use them in soups or stews). Rinse the bird inside and out and remove any stray feathers.

How to carve a turkey?

Carving a turkey seems like carving an extra-large chicken: detach the wings first, then the thighs — pop the joints that keep these pieces attached to the bird out and cut directly through the joint. While carving the breast meat, slice near the rib cage with the flat part of your knife right up against the rib bones. After you have the meat off, you can sort the thighs into drumsticks and then carve the breast meat into separate slices.

How to Cook turkey

For the preparation of turkey, we use the following raw materials:

Roasted whole turkey
Photo by Alison Marras on Unsplash
  • One turkey (10 to 12 pounds)
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • One tablespoon of black pepper
  • One lemon zested and quartered
  • One bunch of fresh thyme or rosemary
  • One bunch of fresh sage
  • Twelve garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • One bottle of hard apple cider (12 ounces)
  • Dry white wine, as needed
  • Two onions, peeled and quartered
  • Three bay leaves
  • Olive oil or melted butter, as needed.

Step 1
Draw any giblets from the cavity and put them aside for stock or gravy. Dry turkey and turkey neck with a paper towel; pat the bird with 1/2 teaspoon salt per pound of turkey, the pepper, and the lemon zest. Move to a 2-gallon (or larger) available plastic bag. Push herbs and six garlic cloves into the bag. Fasten and refrigerate on a small baking sheet (or wrapped in another bag) for not less than one day and not more than three days, turning the turkey over every day (or after 12 hours if laying for only one day).

Step 2
Please take the turkey from the bag and dry it with paper towels. Put turkey, uncovered, back on the baking sheet. And then refrigerate it again for at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours to dry out the skin (this makes it crispy).

Step 3
Take it out from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature for one hour when you are ready to cook the turkey.

Step 4
Turn on the oven to 450F degrees. Add the cider and enough wine to fill the pan to a 1/4-inch depth in a large frying pan. Then, add half the onions, the leftover six garlic cloves, and the bay leaves. Push the remaining onion quarters and the lemon quarters into the turkey cavity. Rub the turkey skin openhandedly with oil or melted butter.

Step 5
Put turkey, breast side up, on a roasting rack set inside the frying pan. Move the pan to the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Wrap breast with aluminum foil. Lower oven temperature to 350F degrees and keep on roasting until an instant-read thermometer placed in the thickest part of a thigh reaches 165F degrees, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours more. Move the turkey to a chopping block to rest for 30 minutes before carving.

How to add flavor to your turkey?

Brush your bird with butter or oil for a better flavor and more crispy skin, rub minced herbs or ground spices into the skin for a richer flavor, and push a few halved lemons and garlic cloves inside the turkey.
Storage: extra food can be placed in the refrigerator in an airtight container for four days or frozen for up to 2 months.

OnlineMag24 Editorial Team

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