It is that time of the year where everyone is scrambling to find the perfect recipes for their Christmas dinners, and most importantly, the Christmas Turkey. We at The Cavendish London understand the pains of hosting friends and family to a festive meal, only to find out minutes before serving the food that your turkey is dry and rubbery as a result of it being overcooked. Many of us have experienced that one meal where we had to put on our poker faces and force ourselves to finish the food prepared for us, while we sit there wishing we had instead booked a table at a restaurant in Mayfair.
With this in mind, we at The Cavendish will be dedicating this post to all those tasked with hosting the gatherings this festive season. As a result, we will be sharing with you some of the simplest turkey tips and tricks, along with the favourite turkey recipe of Glen Padiyar, Head Chef of The Petrichor, a restaurant in Jermyn Street which is in The Cavendish Hotel. We guarantee you that with these small tweaks to the way your turkey is cooked, you will be able to serve up an amazing festive feast that will leave your guests fighting over the last scraps of turkey.
We are very fortunate to have Glen to take some time out of his busy schedule, to sit down and share with us his favourite tips and tricks that can be included in any recipe. Below, are some must have foolproof tips that are guaranteed to produce moist juicy turkeys.
Tip 1: Always brine your turkey
“I have done Turkey a few different ways in all my years as a chef. I found brining your turkey is an absolute must to ensure a moist turkey”, says Glen.
Many people we have spoken to have said that they do not brine their turkeys for a variety of reasons, from the hassle of clearing their fridges to the time constraints they have when rushing out their festive meals. However, brining your turkey coagulates the protein and traps moisture in it, which results in a foolproof method to ensuring your turkey, is always moist.
Tip 2: Slow cook your turkey
Most recipes found on the internet will be to roast the turkey on high heats on low temperatures. However, this often results in a dry turkey which is cooked unevenly. Chef Glen suggests slow cooking your turkeys.
“When slow cooking your turkey, you are ensuring the meat cooks evenly without the harsh temperatures overcooking the outer side of the turkey”, says Glen, who tells us that this method of cooking can be found even in restaurants all around Mayfair.
Tip 3: How to prepare your trimmings
“No turkey dinner is complete without the trimmings”, Glen tells us, who proceeds to talk us through some important steps when preparing you feast.
Roast potatoes: Best when boiled the day prior to eating and left to cool overnight.
Roast vegetables (carrots, parsnips, and celeriac): Glaze them with a honey, butter & thyme mixture before roasting.
Brussels sprouts: To make sweet sprouts, blanch them in saltwater for about 3 minutes, chill it down & then cut them into halves before frying them. When pan frying, fry them till they are dark and almost burnt. This brings out the sweetness in the sprouts and makes them delicious.
Other popular accompaniments to your festive feast will include
· Cranberry sauce (recipe below)
· Stuffing (recipe below)
· Bread sauce
· Pigs in “blanket”
Recipe Stuffing &Cranberry Sauce
2 Chicken breast (450gms)
250ml Double cream
200ml Pasteurised egg white
1kg Sausage meat
1tsp (10gms) English mustard powder
5gms Smoked Paprika
5gms Chopped sage
Salt & pepper
1kg Frozen Cranberry
500gms Caster sugar
150ml Cider vinegar
1kg Red currant jelly
Pinch of salt
For the stuffing, make a chicken mousseline by blending diced chicken breast with some salt to a smooth paste, then add the egg white& continue blitzing, then add the double cream (be careful not to over whip the cream).
Mix the remaining ingredients together & check the seasoning by making a small patty & frying it. If it needs more seasoning, add more salt & pepper.
Roll them out in cling film & steam them in the oven for 40 minutes (Until the centre reaches 65 degrees celcius). Cool the stuffing down.
For the cranberry sauce, cook out the frozen cranberries with sugar & vinegar. Once cooked, blitz with a hand blender & add the red currant jelly & salt. Mix well and serve.
400gms Caster sugar
600gms Sea salt
12 Juniper berries
12 Black peppercorns
3 Bay leaf
4 litres Water
1 Turkey (breast & leg bonned & rolled)
Make brine by adding the caster sugar, sea salt, juniper berries, black peppercorns, bay leaf, and water into a pan & bring to a boil.
Cool it brine down to 4 degrees Celsius before use.
Once brine has cooled, insert turkey breasts and legs into the cooled brine for 12 hours.
Take the turkey out of the brine, pat dry & add to a vacuum pack bag with duck or chicken fat. Vacuum pack the turkey if possible.
Cook turkey in a water bath at 62 degrees Celsius for 12hrs.
To serve, take the turkey breast and legs out of the bags,pat dry & put in the oven for 15 minutes @ 200 degrees. Cook until golden brown.
Leave to rest 30 minutes before carving.
With these tips, we assure you that you are equipped with the knowledge to prepare an amazing feast! Do try it out and tell us what you think, happy cooking!