Turkey for Christmas lunch

A large Christmas lunch takes time to prepare. Here, we use standard industrial time and motion methods to speed up production while maintaining quality.

Turkey for Christmas lunch
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To feed six fellow elves and that fat guy on the sleigh too, you will need:

  • 1 turkey, mass 6kg without the little plastic packet of turkey spares (giblets)
  • 2 onions
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 10 generous festive carrots
  • 20g freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 sprigs of rosemary
  • Butter on demand
  • Salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil

For the roast potatoes

  • 2kg potatoes
  • 500g sweet potatoes
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 sprigs of rosemary
  • 180ml olive oil
  • Coarse salt

We begin with the thawed or fresh turkey. The revolutionary idea here is to learn from well-proven chicken braai technique and apply this to a turkey. It’s turkey flattie time!

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The big deal here is your skills with a cleaver. I use a large Chinese cleaver since it requires not only a well-honed edge but balance and heft as well.

Begin by cutting out the back. Place the backless turkey on a work surface and with both hands on the breast section, lean down hard, arms extended. This should flatten the fowl.

Cut the breast section in half down the bone and with a fresh, clean string, tie the wings to the breasts.

Remove the legs and thighs.

Cut the thighs into generous pieces and leave the drumsticks whole.

Arrange the shelves in your oven before pre-heating so that there is space to stack two roasting pans with adequate headroom for the cleavered turkey pieces. That done, pre-heat the oven to 230°C.

Clean the carrots and cut in half lengthways. Peel and coarsely chop the onions and dice the celery. Crush and peel the garlic, leaving the crushed cloves more or less whole. Arrange a layer of carrots in a single layer in a large roasting pan, lightly drizzle with olive oil and place the turkey pieces on top.

Scatter the onions, celery, rosemary sprigs and garlic cloves over the turkey. Add a quarter to half a teaspoon of soft butter to each piece of turkey. Sprinkle coarsely ground black pepper and a little salt over the entire assemblage.

Prep the potatoes for roasting. Cut them – peeled or not peeled, you choose – into 20mm cubes and the sweet potatoes into 20mm sections.

Crush, peel and coarsely chop the garlic. Rip the rosemary leaves from the stems. Pour the olive oil into a second roasting pan and arrange the sliced potatoes inside. Scatter the garlic, rosemary and a tablespoon or so of coarse salt over them and toss to ensure that all surfaces are totally covered.

Place both roasting pans into the hot oven at the same time.

Carefully time the cooking. After 30 minutes, reduce the heat to 160°C. Spoon the pan juices over the turkey pieces. With an egg lifter, turn the potato cubes in their dedicated roasting pan.

After a further 20 minutes, check the temperature of the thickest turkey pieces with a fast-acting digital thermometer (or the analogue one from your Weber) and remove when it reaches 75°C.

Cover the roasted turkey with foil and let it rest for 30 minutes.

Remove the roasted potatoes from the oven when they are golden brown. And there you have it!