The Main Event
Whatever your choice of meat is for Christmas, make it memorable for the customer. For most, Christmas isn’t Christmas without turkey, so it’s no surprise that it is still the number one meat choice. So, Take Stock asked five top chefs to share their secrets in making sure the bird is as juicy and succulent as possible.
- Spice it up – add extra spice to your turkey by sprinkling with Schwartz Buffalo Wings Seasoning before roasting.
Steve Love, principal research chef, McCormick (UK) Limited
- Not a fan of the breast? Turkey leg is a good substitute. Slow cook with winter flavours such as thyme, rosemary and sage, and warm spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and star anise.
Owen Morrice, head chef at No.1 The Grange, Edinburgh
- Cook as a crown – poach the crown in stock. It seals the shape of the breast and gets heat in, so it needs less time in the oven, and stays moist. Stuff some butter and a small amount of grated truffle under the skin, then wrap the crown in fatty, streaky bacon and pop it in the oven for about 45 minutes.
Ronald Robson, executive head chef at Glasshouse, Newcastle upon Tyne
- Allow a turkey to rest for at least 30 minutes before carving. If there is a lot of steam coming from your turkey when you carve, it will be dry.
Mark Rigby, executive chef at Premier Foods
- Cook on the day – Cook turkeys on the day of serving or no earlier than the day before. Butter under the skin will add quality and flavour to crisp up the skin. Keep basting with stock and butter during cooking to keep the meat moist.
Darren Chapman, Nestlé Professional business development chef
Want to try something different?
There are some customers – and chefs – who aren’t fans of turkey. Here are some alternatives to the big bird:
Beef – a good cut of beef will have lots of flavour so you don’t have to do as much as you would with turkey. Most importantly make sure it’s kept pink in the middle.
Beef brisket – season a slow roasted, rolled beef brisket with Old Bay Seasoning for an on-trend American flavour
Capon – bigger than any chicken, the texture of the meat is luxurious and juicy, and it’s full of flavour. Think of chicken with a touch of game to it.
Lamb – for a middle eastern flavour slow cook a leg of lamb in a marinade of ground cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cracked black pepper and garlic granules