One of my favourite things about Christmas is the food. There’s cheese a plenty and lots of sweet treats, but the best meal has to be a turkey dinner. The humble turkey can have a bit of a bad wrap though. It’s ‘too dry’, it ‘get’s boring’ and there’s ‘always too much of it.’ I beg to differ! A turkey can be moist and delicious. There are a billion and one way to use up the leftovers too. So you don’t need to be eating it in your sandwiches for eternity. The secret to a good Christmas roast, is a free range organic turkey from Mortons Traditional Taste. A happy turkey means a delicious turkey. So ahead of the big day, I thought I’d share three turkey recipes for Christmas – a maple bacon roast turkey, turkey and brie pizza and a turkey maple and bacon mac and cheese.
About the turkeys.
Mortons Traditional Taste bronze and gold Turkeys come from a farm in Norfolk. The Morton’s are third generation farmers and have been specialising in free range, organic turkeys since 1998. The Turkeys and other birds are free to roam the farm and play in as many trees as they please. Which is good to know! All of their turkeys are himalayan salt aged to ensure that the meat is tender, succulent and full of flavour. Rather usefully they also sell cockerel, goose, smoked duck, smoked salmon and smoked chicken. So they can be your one stop shop for delicious christmas meats that are delivered to your door.
My Mortons turkey arrived frozen in its own carry box, complete with clear instructions and a book which contained recipes and other useful information. I’m not going to lie I was a little apprehensive about cooking and preparing the turkey but it turns out I was worrying about nothing! It really was as simple as ABC. I left my turkey in the fridge all week, then 24 hours before I wanted to cook it I took it out of the fridge to ensure that it had defrosted properly. All I needed to do then was cook it…simple!
There was very little preparation involved – for which I was thankful for. I could have literally just popped it in the oven or followed one of their handy recipe cards. I decided to go for a twist on the classic roast turkey though and make maple and bacon turkey with roast potatoes, carrots and broccoli. The whole roast dinner took around four hours to make, with the turkey needing to cook for three hours, ten minutes.
So without further ado here are my three turkey recipes for Christmas.
Maple and Bacon Roast Turkey
1 Mortons Traditional Taste turkey
3/4 cup of butter, at room temperature
4 tablespoons chopped sage leaves
Salt & pepper
Two apples (if you’re planning on putting stuffing in the turkey you won’t need these)
1 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup hot water
1 packet of smoked back bacon
Oil or Duck fat
1 Potato (per person)
1 head of broccoli
2 carrots per person
1 packet of gluten free stuffing (yes I was lazy and used a packet to make my life easy!)
Ensure that you have one oven rack right at the bottom and one right at the top (or no top rack) before you preheat the oven to 200 oc (Gas mark 6)
Mix together the better and sage. Season the turkey with salt and pepper, inside and out and then stuff the butter under the skin until you form a thin layer. Place the two quartered apples or the stuffing mix, inside the turkey.
Mix together the maple syrup and hot water and baste the turkey. Cook the turkey for two and a half hours, basting every half an hour.
An hour and a half into cooking the turkey, boil your potatoes until they are a little fluffy on the outside.
When you’ve been cooking the turkey for two hours, place a tray of hot oil in the top of the oven. Let this heat up for a couple of minutes before placing your potatoes on the tray, ensuring that they are evenly coated in oil (or duck fat). These take an hour or more to roast, depending on how golden and crispy you like them.
When the two and a half hours is up, cover the turkey in bacon, baste and place in the oven for thirty minutes. Add your carrots in to roast with the potatoes.
Three hours and ten minutes in to cooking, remove the turkey from the oven, cover in foil and rest for half an hour. Now you need to make up your packet of stuffing and pop that in the oven.
Five minutes before the potatoes are done, boil your broccoli and make the gravy. I added a stock cube, a little water and some flour to the maple turkey juices to create my gravy.
Carve, plate up and enjoy!
My roast dinner was succulent, filling and really satisfying. It was like a hug on the plate. The turkey was full of flavour, it was succulent and not at all dry (hurrah.) The bacon was sweet and crispy, the roast potatoes fluffy and the vegetables perfectly crunchy. It was one of the best roast dinners I’ve ever made!
The leftover dilemma
If there’s one thing that turkey is known for it’s the leftovers. Families often joke that they will be eating turkey for the rest of the year after their Christmas Day feast. Personally I don’t think that’s a bad thing! I love to eat it all year round. It’s actually a lean meat and a healthier alternative to chicken. I’d be more than happy to eat my leftover recipes all year around.
I used the leftover turkey to create a turkey and brie pizza and a turkey, bacon and maple mac and cheese. Both a little naughty, but very nice! I’m not sure if it’s just my family, but we always have a huge buffet on boxing day. The pizza recipe would be perfect for this.
Turkey and Brie Pizza
(serves two as a main meal)
2 gluten free pizza bases (I used wheat free bakery direct bases, I have two dough recipes here)
4 tbsp of Tomato puree,
1 portion of brie
A handful of mozzarella
pigs in blankets
Anything else you didn’t eat!
Preheat the oven to 200c or Gas mark 6
Mix together the tomato puree with water until it resembles pizza sauce. It should be a medium consistency and spread easily. Mix in some mixed herbs for a little flavour, before spreading this onto the pizza base.
Quite simply, place all of the topping on the pizza, cover with the chunks of brie and sprinkle mozzarella into any gaps.
Bake for fifteen minutes, slice and enjoy!
This hands down beats your regular pizza any day. It’s a fun way to use up all of the leftovers. You could probably get any younger members of the family involved too. I’ve saved the best recipe until last though!
Turkey Bacon and Maple syrup Mac and Cheese
(makes 6 portions or four large portions)
450g of macaroni (or in my case gluten free penne pasta)
4-5 slices bacon, chopped into squares
3 slices of turkey torn into strips
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup flour
3 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 pinches chilli flakes
2 cups shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
10 teaspoons of Bacon Jam / Cranberry Sauce (optional)
Fry the bacon until it’s brown and crispy, then drain and set aside.
Melt the butter over a medium heat, add the flour and salt in small batches until it makes a roux. Add the milk 1 cup at a time, before adding the maple syrup, chilli flakes, turkey, bacon and a cup of cheese. Let this melt and combine, then set aside.
Heat the oven to 200c or gas mark 6.
Cook the pasta and drain it.
Add the pasta to the sauce and place in a baking dish before topping with the remaining cheese and dollops of bacon jam and/or cranberry sauce. Cook for 20 – 30 minutes, until it is bubbling and golden.
Serve and enjoy!
This was such a treat! It was creamy, yet light and a little sweet. The turkey addd a nice texture, it was a contrast to the cheese sauce and pasta. In fact the turkey was well disguised. So if you are a little sick of turkey come new year this is a good recipe to make!
My three turkey recipes for Christmas were all stress-free, simple and absolutely delicious – what more could you ask for?! I couldn’t recommend Mortons Traditional Taste Turkeys enough. My turkey was delivered straight to my door, with clear, concise instructions and plenty of recipe ideas. It was so much easier to cook that I thought it would be. The key was in the timing, and making sure everything went in at the right time. Oh and the leftovers were divine too. It’s safe to say that I have a fully belly and a happy heart!
How will you be cooking your turkey this year?
If you love food, you’ll love my recipe section of the blog!