Is Turkey really necessary?

A fully deboned & stuffed Turkey Galantine.

I’ve put a recipe for roasted boneless turkey in December’s newsletter mainly because of the closeness to Christmas, but also because with U.S. Thanksgiving, it seems that I’ve read a lot about this tradional bird in various culinary mags. So, over the years, (all starting with catering for hundreds of people all wanting a tradional Christmas Turkey – and carving a whole carcuss on a buffet table is brutal!), I’ve been making Turkey Galantines – whole birds deboned and stuffed. They make the actual cooking day a breeze and offer you all kinds of creative license for new and different stuffings. The prep time however, is a little bigger and if you aren’t comfortable with a knife and your boning skills aren’t that great, it can be a really frustrating challenge (just ask my sister Diane – turkey scraps and blood all over the kitchen and more of a turkey ball, rather than a nice roll). I digress….

Is turkey really necessary? No. People have made a whole new style of tradition… duck, roast beef, lamb, virtually anything goes. However, there is nothing wrong, and a whole bunch of right in having a turkey. I still have issues with whole carcusses that are dried out, no matter how much basting you do; the whole day in the kitchen affair (unless you’re part of the Molloy clan on Gabriola who have a whole whack of people helping and working together to make it happen) and the fact that people do it because it’s the “tradition”. Go to Butcher Block and get them to debone it for you; buy a turkey breast and roast just that; explore some new traditions; or just carry on with the whole bird – I have had some phenominal Christmas dinners in the past. Just make sure that it’s a good bird – fresh is better, free run is better. Use a thermometer. Don’t leave the hacked up carcuss sitting on the cutting board for 4 hours – 2 hours maximum. Make a stock. Make soup – the best is take all the leftovers (including Brussel sprouts, potatoes, yams, beans, stuffing….), throw them in a pot with some bay leaf, thyme, salt, pepper a nice chardonnay and let it simmer. Wow! Have a great culinary holiday and thanks for reading my rant! Cheers!!

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