You know those days when you are rushed off your feet and for every step you take forwards you then take two back? The result is come evening you are bushed and yes there’s still dinner to cook for the family. Groan! All I want to do is sit down and relax.
Today was one of those days – actually trash that sentence, this week has been one of those weeks so far, all Go! Go! Go! After an entire day working, run for the school pick up, run back home I have a half hour turn around before we head out of the door for ballet lessons and when we are finally back home the girls are shattered. They are tired, hungry and grumpy.
Well now I have found an ‘exit jail for free’ card. A get out clause that will keep the entire family happy. All of them.
What’s my secret?
Keeping something quick, easy and delicious in the freezer. Some frozen breaded turkey ideas. What’s more the meal I have in mind is so simple to prepare that with a watchful eye I let the girls get dinner for us and they had so much fun.
Believe it or not, as tired as they are they still like to ‘cook’ their meal.
Bernard Matthews have come up with #BootifulMeals and I suggest you take a walk past your supermarket freezer section as I picked up some Mini Turkey Kievs that husband raved about. I brought home some frozen numbers which highly amused the girls and prompted a bit of maths whilst eating their dinner. The dinosaurs were cause for much conversation and dino noises at that meal – all dad I hasten to mention.
Bernard Matthews products may be considered by some to be processed food butthey are plain British turkey with practically no hidden extras. All turkey is locally sourced in the UK and with no added colours, flavourings or preservatives. It is coated in a wholemeal blend crumb.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you in collaboration with BritMums and Bernard Matthews. I have been compensated but all opinions are my own.
This is one of those meals you prepare and it cooks itself in the oven for about an hour, a one pot comfort meal that the whole family can enjoy. It’s economical using turkey steaks and potatoes as the main ingredients, it got thumbs up from the Mr and the kids in our house.
Turkey and potato bake
Turkey and Potato bake
Author: Marianne Weekes
Recipe type: Main
- 400g thinly sliced leeks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 850 ml skimmed milk
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 15g butter
- 1 tbsp English mustard
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 800g thinly sliced potatoes
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 400g turkey steaks cut into strips
- 100g baby spinach leaves
- 50g grated Cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190 C
- Gently fry the leeks and garlic in a little olive oil so they soften and put to one side
- Pour the milk into a saucepan, add the flour, butter, mustard, nutmeg and seasoning to taste and stir continuously over a medium heat until thickened.
- In a casserole dish layer potatoes, leeks, turkey strips and spinach ending with a layer of potatoes on top. Press down.
- Scatter over the cheese and bake with the lid on for 30 minutes
- Remove the lid and bake for another 30 minutes to brown the top
- Make sure you slice your potatoes thinly, if left too thick they won't cook all the way through.
- Can also be made with strips of chicken breast
And a photo of the meal served up
You may have noticed that I’ve had a few Turkey chats with Marco Pierre White this year, a hangout back in March after which I made a Turkey Stir Fry on the table in 20 minutes, another Turkey talk with Marco just before the summer the result of which was Turkey Puff parcels and this time I got to meet him in the flesh in his swanky restaurant at Chelsea FC to find out all about preparing, cooking and carving the perfect Christmas turkey.
My brothers have supported Chelsea since they could walk much to the annoyance of my Arsenal supporting dad and I have never visited the grounds before so it was a special venue for me too, hence the souvenir photo above.
The Marco Pierre White restaurant is sexy, it’s black and gold and glistens as all celebrity things should do. Even the loos are places of great beauty.
But the whole day was about turkey and Christmas turkey, in fact how to prepare, cook and carve the perfect Christmas turkey.
Imagine the scene, 20+ giggling, excited women, some of whom with a major crush on Marco and yes he is a very captivating man. We were split into two groups to watch Marco show us how it’s done.
There was no mistake who was in command here, he didn’t even have to say anything to create a silence in the room. I was really impressed with the power of his presence.
Preparation of a whole bird
- Place a whole turkey on a chopping board and remove the giblets inside
- Remove the wings – pull them out to the side so the skin is taut and cut as close to the crown as possible
- Remove the legs – hold the leg at the joint, pull out to the side so the skin is taut, use a sharp knife and remove the entire leg as near to the crown as possible
- Remove the turkey carcass. Turn the turkey so it is vertical, grip the top tightly and slice down the right and left of the back bone. Prise the back down so that it is flat and using the knife, cut across the top of the back to remove it completely, leaving just the turkey crown
or buy a crown of turkey ;)
- To separate the thigh joint from the leg, grip the bottom of the previously removed leg tightly and cut just above the joint.
Stuffing the turkey
- To stuff the crown, pull back the skin slightly and insert the stuffing into the neck end only. Pull the skin back over the meat to seal it in place
- To stuff the thigh joints, peel back the skin, insert the stuffing underneath and pull the skin back over to seal.
Cooking the turkey
- Remember – cook the turkey too slowly and it will dry out, cook too quickly and it won’t cook properly
- Chop the wings, legs and carcass into small pieces and place at the bottom of two roasting trays, along with a knob of butter. This will allow the juices to collect in the tin, which can be used alter to make gravy
- Preheat the oven to 160C
- Cover the top of the crown and thigh joints in butter or sunflower oil and season with salt
- Place the crown in one of the trays on top of the chopped bones and put in the oven on the top shelf. Place the two thigh joints into the second roasting tray on top of the bones and place on the bottom shelf.
- Marco said for a 10lb turkey with all the bits removed as mentioned above cook in a pre heated oven to 180C (160 fan assisted) as follows. Crown for approx 1 hr 30 mins and thighs for approx 55 minutes. He was careful to add that each oven is different and times are only guidelines – test the meat.
- Marco said that the best way to test your turkey is cooked is to use a meat probe, stick the probe into the thickest part of the meat to get the most accurate reading. When the breast reaches 66C and the thigh 72C the turkey is cooked to perfection.
- If you don’t have a meat probe, insert a clean skewer into the thickest part of the thigh, if the juices run clear, the turkey is cooked. If pinkish, return to the oven for a little longer then re-test.
- The tempertures and timings are Marco’s own based on his oven and turkey. Average cooking temperatures, times and more information can be found on Lean on Turkey
Carving the turkey
- The first thing you need to do once you have taken the turkey out of the oven is wait.
- Have a sharp good quality knife and be confident.
- Firstly remove the stuffing from the crown. Carefully hold the stuffing with your finger tips and gently cut around it, slowly removing it from the bird.
- Slice the turkey breast by cutting downwards and moving the knife lengthways in long diagonal strokes.
- After carving to one side, turn the crown and start to carve the other side using the smae technique.
- Marco’s tip – Make sure you use the full length of the knife in long, smooth motions to avoid pulling the slices back and forth which will cause the meat to break
- Before carving remove the skin and the stuffing from the joints by slicing around the stuffing and gently removing it.
- To carve the meat, hold the joint at the bone and run the knife down either side to remove it. Use your fingertips to gently hold the meat and carve lengthways
Using the whole bird
Use the bones and giblets to make stock and gravy
For any leftovers check out my delicious
Turkey and ham pie
Turkey puff parcels
Turkey stir fry
and my favourite photo of the day
Posts to follow the perfect turkey gravy and the Marco’s cranberry sauce
Recently I was in a BritMums hangout with the guru of cuisine Marco Pierre White and we were talking about how to use turkey over the summer.
My question to Marco was around picnic/lunchbox options, I wanted to make turkey puff pastry turnovers which I could pop into the girls lunch boxes or take to the beach as a picnic option. If I am 100% honest, I wasn’t very impressed with his answer ‘add some chopped carrot’ – I thought to myself, ‘Blimey Marco even I can come up with something better than that!’ So I did and here’s my recipe tried and tested and using ready to roll puff pastry to make life simple.
Turkey puff parcels bites
Makes 8 turkey puffs – I made 4 small and 1 large see photo above
1 chopped onion
1 clove of chopped garlic
500g minced turkey thighs
salt, pepper and mixed herbs
125g of frozen mixed veg – I used carrots peas and sweetcorn
1 tbsp of mayonnaise to bind together (can be substituted with brown sauce for more of a kick)
1 tsp English mustard – omit if you don’t like it.
For the pastry
1 pack of ready to roll puff pastry
flour for surface
1 beaten egg
1. Put the onion and garlic in a casserole, place on base of oven and cook on MEDIUM MICROWAVE for 3 mins.
2. Add the turkey mince, and all the other ingredients mix well. Cover and cook on HIGH MICROWAVE for 10 minutes, then MEDIUM MICROWAVE for 15 – 20 minutes or until cooked. Allow to cool.
3. Flour your surface to prevent the pastry sticking to the work top and rub a bit on your rolling pin as well. Cut the pastry in half for more manageable rolling and roll out to 0.5 cms thick (15cms x 15cms), trying to keep it as square as possible. Cut into four squares and place a spoonful or two of the turkey mixture on to one triangle of the square
4. brush a bit of beaten egg along the two sides which will be your base and fold over the pastry over the top of the mixture and press to close your puff. Use a fork to seal and make a pattern along the sealing edge and then brush egg over the top too.
5. Cook on CONVECTION 220C for 20 – 25 minutes
We ate them hot first night and cold as picnic bites at the weekend, both ways delicious.
Other picnic ideas
Quattro formaggi and chorizo quiche
It’s Foodie Friday again, welcome back to Mari’s Recipe Book and this week I’m taking part in the Brit Mums Lean on Turkey as I’d really love to have a masterclass with Marco Pierre White and £250 wouldn’t be bad either!
What they’re looking for is family recipes and that, for us in this house if the girls are to eat too, means cut back on the spice and strong flavours, keep it simple and obviously tasty.
The one thing I really love about stir fry is I get to use my wok which I adore and everything goes into one pan meaning less clearing up afterwards too. It’s a very healthy way of cooking and surprisingly easy.
This recipe has been purposely kept plain but of course can be spiced up in a trillion ways to suit your tastes and if you’ve had a hard day THIS is the recipe for you as in 20 minutes – time to stir fry the turkey – it’ll be on the table.
Turkey Stir Fry
I pack of cubed turkey meat (500g) or slices cut into strips
a drop of olive oil
salt and pepper
Vegetables for stir fry (I had chantenay carrots, mini corns, mange tout, onion and red pepper)
a splash of wine
1 tsp grain mustard
Put the Chantenay carrots in a little water, bring to the boil and blanch for a minute of two. This will just make sure they’re not too crunchy.
In the meantime heat a little olive oil in your wok or frying pan on a high heat, add the meat and toss until coloured on all sides add the onion and put the lid on to sweat them and soften them.
Add the rest of the vegetables and the drained carrots turn the heat down to medium. I also added a ladle of the carrot water before I drained them ;)
Add a teaspoon of grain mustard, salt and pepper and a splash of wine, cover and stir occasionally. (You can pretty much add any flavourings you want at this point if you want it spicier.)
In about 20 minutes (time to cook the turkey – test by cutting a piece in half and making sure the meat is white not pink) this meal is ready, serve on a plate and Buon Appetitio!