Tradition to England and the UK country-states for Christmas dinner has been the goose. Depicted in the Christmas tale entitled A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens with main character Ebenezer Scrooge, the Christmas goose was a must have main dish. Americans have been serving turkey on holidays, especially Thanksgiving, since the 1600s when North America was colonized by the English.
Sometime after the English colonized North America, the American turkey, not found in Europe, was imported and raised for dinner tables. Eventually, the turkey pretty much took the place of the goose for Christmas dinner, especially after the Victorian era.
The video following the recipe shows how Gordon Ramsay (has 24 restaurants worldwide) prepares and cooks his Christmas turkey that includes how to make his fabulous onion and bacon turkey gravy. Some families have turkey on both American holidays, while others serve lamb, roast beef, or ham for Christmas. In the UK, Thanksgiving Day is not celebrated, making Christmas the big feasting holiday.
1 turkey, 5.5kg (Gordon recommends free-range Norfolk Black or Bronze, which is not available in the US) – 5.5kg equals 12 pounds
Sea salt and ground black pepper
2 onions, peeled and halved
1 lemon, halved
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
6 bay leaves
olive oil, to drizzle
8 strips of smoked, thick bacon
[For the Lemon, Parsley and Garlic Butter basting] ...
13 oz [26 tablespoons or 375 grams] butter at room temperature
1 tablespoon olive oil
finely grated zest and juice of 2 small lemons
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
small bunch of parsley, leaves only, chopped
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees (220-degree C) and prepare herb butter mixture. Put butter into large bowl and season with salt/pepper. Add olive oil and mix well. Add lemon zest and juice, crushed garlic, and chopped parsley. Mix well.
- Remove giblets from turkey cavity. Season cavity well with salt and pepper, then stuff with onions, lemon, garlic halves and 2 bay leaves.
- Loosen skin on breast with hands from both ends of the bird to stuff flavored butter underneath, make sure skin stays intact. Repeat with the skin on the legs – from the lower side of the breast feel your way under the skin and out towards the leg, loosening the gap.
- Stuff half the butter mic into the opened spaces under the skin. From the outside of the skin, gently massage butter around the breasts so that the meat is evenly covered. Insert the rest of the bay leaves under the skin of the breasts.
- Place bird in large roasting pan, breast side up. Spread the rest of the butter over the outside skin. Season well with salt/pepper, then drizzle with olive oil. NOTE: If preparing a day ahead, cover the turkey with foil and refrigerate.
- Roast the turkey in the hot oven for 10-15 minutes, Take the tray out of the oven, baste the bird with the pan juices and lay the bacon strips over the breast to keep it moist. Baste again. Lower the oven temperature to 350-degrees F and cook about 2.5 hours (30 minutes per kg/pound, basting occasionally.
- Test turkey by inserting skewer into thickest part and check to see if running juice is clear, not pink. If juices are pink, roast for another 15 minutes and check again. Repeat until turkey is cooked.
- Transfer turkey to warmed platter and remove wings and tips of drumsticks; reserve them for gravy. Leave turkey to rest in a warm place for at least 45 minutes; making the gravy during this period. Remove the bay leaves from under the skin before carving. Serve the turkey with hot gravy, stuffing and side dishes.
|Emeril and his clad cookware|
Another recipe is bacon-wrapped turkey breast, which Emeril (and Martha Stewart) demonstrates in following video for a Thanksgiving feast: