Allyson Gofton - Cuban turkey

Publish Date
Thursday, 15 December 2016, 3:27PM
By Allyson Gofton

Cooking the turkey for the Christmas Day ritual can be daunting. Here’s a few tips from me and the COAST team for success.

  • Plan ahead - this is the time for bullet points
  • Buy ahead – avoid those last minute Christmas supermarket queues – they are truly depressing and stress inducing – now is the time to order online
  • It takes 3 days in a fridge to defrost the turkey – if you forget to do this, buy a pre-cooked chicken, pull to pieces and try to hide the lesser foul in an alcoholic gravy!
  • Stuff it – the turkey that is – on the day. You can prepare the stuffing in advance, but you cannot place it into the bird until you go to roast it – pre-stuffing causes bugs and upset tummies may follow.
  • Roasting the turkey breast side down for the first half will help keep the turkey moist.
  • Allow enough time to roast. To tell if he is cooked ( turkeys are always male) twist his leg and if it moves freely – it’s ready.
  • If you need to keep the turkey warm for a while, cover with foil and then layers and layers of newspaper – an excuse to buy one, as this is one occasion a lap top will not suffice, (though an old Samsung 7 may be able to light up some warmth on the matter!).
  • A turkey provides plenty of food and left overs and simply great the next day. Easiest way to do this is to take the meat and stuffing from the bird and keep refrigerated.


Roast Turkey With Mixed Peel, Olive and Pork Stuffing

Inspired by a Cuban theme in a Saveur Magazine, this turkey has a delicious flavour. For a fruity sauce, add one cup each dry white wine and orange juice to the pan when roasting. Skin off the fat at the end of cooking and thicken the juices with cornflour.

750 grams pork mince
1 large onion, peeled and diced
8 cloves garlic, peeled and diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
½ cup stuffed chopped olives
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
½ cup mixed peel
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 large turkey, defrosted
1 cup dry white wine, optional
1 cup orange juice, optional
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Softened butter to brush turkey

Brown the pork mince, onion and garlic in a dash of oil in a hot frying pan. This is best done in two or three batches. Remove from the heat and mix with the tomatoes, olives, almonds, breadcrumbs, mixed peel, thyme, and season well with salt and pepper.
Use this mixture to firmly fill the cavity of the prepared turkey. The remaining stuffing can be used to stuff the crop end. Twist the wings under the crop end to secure the filling. Tie the leg together.
Place in a roasting dish and pour in the wine and orange juice and scatter over the thyme sprigs. Brush the turkey with softened butter and season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven. (See the Perfect Roast Turkey Guide on my website).
When cooked set the turkey aside and make the gravy. Add about ? cup fresh orange juice to the chicken stock to add additional flavour to the gravy. Season and finish with chopped fresh thyme.

Take the bird from the pan and pour off the juices. Skim off the fat and return 3 tblsp of fat to the pan and place over a low heat, (or use butter). Make up the juices to 1½ cups with chicken or turkey stock. Add 2 tblsp flour to the pan and stir for 1-2 minutes until frothy. Gradually stir in the reserved juices and stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to lift any sediment off the bottom into the gravy. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 1½ cups
This is stuffing that is placed at the crop end of the turkey (or use leftover stuffing). For easiness buy very flavoursome savoury sausages, squeeze out the meat and use. Pack the forcemeat loosely under the skin as it will expand during cooking and bring the skin under the bird. Twist the wings under the turkey to hold down the crop end. Alternatively roll sausage meat into balls and pan fry and serve alongside the turkey.

Stuffings add flavour to a roast turkey. Brushing the turkey with a glaze during cooking will bring a new taste to the gravy as well as a beautiful colour for presentation. Stuff the turkey just before cooking. If you do not want to make stuffing, then place a whole apple inside to help the bird keep its shape. You will need about 3-4 cups stuffing for a 2.5-4.5 kg bird. Above that, allow 5-6 cups stuffing. Any leftover stuffing can be used to fill the crop end in place of sausage meat.

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