My Beautiful Turkey

27 Dec

I have taken great pleasure in my adult years perfecting the art of the Christmas turkey. Since living in Amsterdam I have learned that real turkeys look nothing like Butterball turkeys. They aren’t giant, white, eerily circular anchors of meat. No, they actually look like a bird. And they don’t cost $20 either, they cost about $70 (or EUR 50). That’s what you pay for to get an organic 5kg turkey.

That, and the cooking time of an organic bird is shorter (35 minutes per kilo), and the meat actually tastes like something other than sawdust.

So, for the love of turkey, people – BUY ORGANIC. Aside from the battery farming reasons, the end result is just so much better.

I’ve been brining my turkey for the past three years – using Nigella’s method. The fragrant brine flavours the meat subtley, and, let’s face it, turkey could use the help.

Now…apologies for this long list of photos; I have not yet learned the art of tables in WordPress…a ridiculously difficult process apparently.


250 grams of sea salt

An orange, squeezed


all spice berries


cinnamon sticks

maple syrup - very expensive in Europe FYI!


…plus a whole bunch of other stuff that I can’t be bothered posting photos of: white mustard seeds, onions, honey, star anise, black peppercorns, etc.

Stir up the mix for a few minutes to dissolve the salt and sugar, stick in the bird (make sure there’s enough water to cover it), put on the lid and keep in a cool place overnight (I put it on the balcony).


A bird bath

The next morning, take it out, rinse it off, and let drain (I put an oven rack over the sink), then pat dry.

Now, something new for 2010 – THE BUTTER MUSLIN.

I read about this in the Guardian, a tip from a celebrity chef: Get a muslin/cheese cloth, soak it in melted butter, and wrap it around the top & sides of the bird. Put the oven on full blast, stick the bird in, and then turn the oven down to about 180 degrees celsius. I basted, but honestly, it probably didn’t even need it.

Behold, turkey glory:


Brining + Butter Muslin = BEST TURKEY EVER


This is the way I will do turkey forever. The butter muslin keeps the breasts moist and the skin mouth-watering crisp and golden brown.

Make this turkey – you will never turn back.



One Response to “My Beautiful Turkey”


  1. So, I updated…a lot « Kill them with Cupcakes - December 27, 2010


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