Anne Sijmonsbergen’s Expert Turkey Tips


When it comes to cooking a delicious turkey this Thanksgiving, organic farmer and author Anne Sijmonsbergen has a host of useful tips for creating an Ibizan twist on the usual method

Ideal for those seeking a more unusual way toc elebrate, follow Anne’s recipe for a true show-stopping bird.

Anne’s top turkey tips
1 There is a big difference between conventional birds and free range (ideally local). The latter are more expensive but the flavour and texture are far superior. Treat yourself and your family to the best quality bird you can afford.
2 When it comes to size a good rule of thumb is about 450g of meat per person. Leftover turkey sandwiches are part of our tradition.
The key to a flavourful, moist turkey is brine. It is dead easy and will transform your bird.
4 Plan on three to four hours for cooking a 3.5kg to 5.5kg turkey. Invest in a meat thermometer for peace of mind as turkey must be cooked to an internal temperature of 170F/77C at the breast.
Finally, don’t stuff the bird. It will take up to two hours longer to cook as the stuffing must reach an internal temperature of 170F/77C as well. And it often comes out gummy and damp. Cooked separately, stuffing will be crispy and golden on the outside and moist on the inside.

How to create the perfect turkey: 

To prepare:
• 1 lemon
• Sprigs rosemary and thyme
• Salt and black pepper
• A good knob of butter, softened

To baste:
• 250ml white wine
• 125g butter
• Salt and pepper
• Sprigs of thyme

To make the gravy:
• 120ml brandy
• 120ml white wine
• 5 tbsp flour
• 5 tbsp turkey fat from roasting pan (use butter if there isn’t enough turkey fat)
• 2 litres stock

To brine the turkey:
1 Mix 500g of sea salt with 10 torn bay leaves; coat the bird inside and out 24 hours before cooking.
2 Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate.
3 When ready to cook, remove from fridge, rinse off the salt inside and out and dry with paper towels.

To prepare the turkey:
1 If cooking in a conventional oven, truss the bird. Meaning, tuck the wings in, pull the legs together and tie them with kitchen string.
2 Salt and pepper the inside of the cavity.
3 Roll the lemon on the countertop, pressing down, poke a dozen holes all over with a skewer or fork, put it inside the bird a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme.
4 Rub softened butter all over the outside of the turkey and season liberally with salt and pepper. This helps crisp the skin and adds flavour.
5 Place sprigs of rosemary and thyme in the roasting tin, put the bird on top, pour 250ml of white wine in the bottom and pop into a 325F/165C degree oven.

To baste the turkey:
1 Melt it all together in a small sauce pan. Baste every 30 minutes until done.
2 Add a bit of liquid if the bottom of the pan is burning. The bits are essential for the gravy. Remove to platter when cooked, cover loosely with foil and rest for 20 minutes.
3 Pour fat from pan into a clear, heatproof measuring cup. The fat will rise to the top as it cools.
4 Reserve pan for gravy.

To make the gravy:
1 Place roasting pan across a couple of lit burners and heat. When it starts to smoke add the brandy and scrape up all the bits
2 Reduce for 3-5 minutes to cook off the alcohol
3 Strain and reserve
4 Heat the turkey fat in a heavy bottomed pan
5 Add the flour, whisk to remove any lumps and cook 5-7 minutes until golden Add wine and boil it off for 2-3 minutes
6 Begin adding stock slowly. Don’t worry about lumps, it can be strained.
7 Once the stock thickens add the brandy mix and simmer gently to enrich
8 Season with salt and pepper.

Recipe courtesy of chef Anne Sijmonsbergen.

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