What do you do when your food looks like this?
Get over yourself to begin with. They are dead and nothing will change that. So let their death not be in vain.
(I will expand on this page in time, but for now this is it…)
The birds need to be immersed in hot, but not boiling water, this loosens the feathers for plucking. Only pluck what you have to.
Chop off the head and the feet, an axe against a sturdy wood block is best for this, I keep a sharp, hatchet and a large tree-ring clean and ready for tough pumpkins and random wild protein.
Open the body from the vent, poo hole, anus … what ever you want to call it. Don’t open the actual digestive system, you want to remove it intact so that no faecal matter touches the flesh. My hand is small so I can slide it inside and find the organs. You want to remove the heart and lungs, stomach, liver and intestines as entire systems. (Pluck is the word I think). There are plenty of You Tube videos describing this, so I wont bother and its rather graphic.
The crop is the difficult part, that’s where the undigested food is. With turkeys that is usually grass (in New Zealand) so it is not too gross. The trick is to get the oesophagus and crop without rupturing them, I usually fail.
Wash the bird thoroughly. I hose out the cavity and trim up the ragged edges, make sure there is no blood left anywhere.
Now if all that seemed too horrible for you and you have just been given a bird that is ready (dressed – how does that work, you pulled all it’s feathers off… ?)
Start reading from here:
Rest your bird. Let it lie in (chilled) state for the prescribed three days. Two in the fridge, one in brine.
1/2 cup of salt, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, one tablespoon each of Worcestershire and Soya sauce to five litres of water. Make sure the bird is fully immersed and turn it at least once. After 24 hours remove rinse and dry.
Stuff the cavity;
Now for the bit I learned fro Jamie Oliver. Place the bird on its back, neck facing away from you. Slide your hand between the skin and the bird to make a space, you should be able to reach all the froward to the breast and keel. Line this space with flavoured butter or bacon strips, so that the white meat self bastes while roasting.ike Sage and Onion, which I make with a hand-full of purple sage, a large onion roughly chopped, sausage-meat (equal quantities), enough fresh breadcrumbs to fill the cavity a tablespoon of olive oil and salt and pepper.
Now truss your birdie up so its legs and wings are tight and snug up against its body. I use organic hemp string, but that’s me. Google “How to truss a turkey” and sort out your own way.
Roast for 15 minutes per pound, 30 minutes per kilogram.
(reserved for details on how I roast and reserve stock for gravy)