The main joy of Christmas for us is getting together on Christmas day for a big family feast. We don’t do presents except for KK, so there’s no rushing around having to go shopping at the last moment, trying to think of something to get someone who has everything.
Our family’s main focus is on the food and there is always plenty of that … and laughter, of course.
This year it’s our turn to host the lunch. There will be 26 people coming over but every family brings something yummy to eat.
Christmas is the one festival where we don’t have any Chinese dishes. There are no dumplings or noodles or red cooked meat, not even rice!
Steve always cooks the turkey and I do the stuffing. Last year I posted this recipe but it’s so good it I’m putting it up again. The meat is moist and the best thing is, you don’t have to cook the bird for hours.
It comes from the book Ferment and Human Nutrition by Bill Mollison, the founder of permaculture; but the description below is in much more detail than that found in the book. It is actually pretty similar to the famous Chinese dish Beggars Chicken in that the bird is wrapped thoroughly, moistened, heated to high heat, and then left to cook from the inside.
Here it is if you want to try it yourself.
ROAST TURKEY SLOW COOKED
The night before Christmas:
Pre-heat the oven to as high as it will go. Meanwhile, wrap the turkeys ankles with tinfoil. Moisten a clean old single bedsheet with water, then wrap the turkey in it. Place in an oven pan. Pour a bottle of claret or other red wine slowly over the wrapped turkey, so that the sheet absorbs most of it. Cover the pan completely with tin foil, tucked in tightly around the edges.When the temperature is as hot as possible, place the turkey in the oven, and leave for one hour (50 minutes for a very small turkey, 70 minutes for a very large turkey; avoid the temptation to leave it longer or youll have turkey skeleton and piles of meat still nice but not very attractive). After the hour or so, turn the oven off, and go to bed.
Yes, turn it *off*.
The next day, several hours before the event, you will need to brown the turkey. So unwrap it: itll be pale-red with some red stuffthats the wine, not blood. If youre lucky the meat on the legs hasnt fallen off.
If you have made stuffing this is a good time to put some in the turkey cavity. Heat the oven to 180C. Use a combination of honey and dark soy sauce (Mushroom Soy is best, Kikkoman is not quite dark enough, although better than nothing) to baste the turkey all over, place it in the oven to brown on one side, taking it out to baste once over the next 30-40 minutes.
Then turn it over and brown the other side, basting again once over the next 30-40 minutes.
This recipe will work for all big birds or other meats, or even several smaller birds wrapped up together.
In the beginning, it is natural to worry that it will not cook through, but after using this recipe at least 12 times already, we only had one time it wasnt quite cooked, and that was when (after over-cooking the year before due to worry) we had a larger bird and turned the oven off at 50 minutes. So the hour is just about right for a medium-large bird, and if very large do only a little bit more than that.
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!