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Nigella's brined turkey

(24 Posts)
myrtleWilson Sun 15-Oct-17 18:24:01

So... we've given in to daughter's request and for the first time ever will be cooking a turkey on Christmas Day... Am tempted by the Nigella brined turkey in her Christmas book - any reviews, views, recommendations and tips?

For Boxing Day we're trying out porchetta for first time too so welcome any expert tips..

EsmesBees Sun 15-Oct-17 18:26:34

We did it one year. It was ok, not great, and definitely not worth all the effort. I had to keep it in the back room as the coldest in the house and had a right job to keep the cat out of there.

picklemepopcorn Sun 15-Oct-17 18:37:43

I find it good. It cooks much quicker than you expect! It's what I do when I'm using a cheap turkey, because it's definitely nicer. I don't stick rigidly to the recipe- I use the right amount of salt and sugar, but vary the spices according to what I have it.

I find it useful for keeping the turkey cool but not in the fridge.

I'm doing a steamed turkey recipe this year.

Did I say it cooks much quicker than you think?!

myrtleWilson Sun 15-Oct-17 20:06:17

how does a steamed turkey work - do you sit it over ban Marie contraption?!

Am in all new territory on the turkey front (we've normally done goose/beef) so its all a mystery to me!

HolgerDanske Sun 15-Oct-17 20:23:11

We did it one year in Nov as a try out and we all thought it was horrible.

I was soooo glad it was not for our actual Christmas Dinner.

But some people do seem to really like it.

Turkey is not hard at all to get right, I don't really know why people stress so much over it. The most important thing to remember is that you do not need to cook it to death, and you can take it out when it's ready, cover it with foil and drape a couple of tea towels over it and it will happily sit and rest stay warm and lovely and moist for at least one hour, so you don't need to stuff all your veg in to roast with it - just do all veg/sides/stuffing and roasties once the chicken is already done and out of the oven.

I think your best bet if you really want to have a nice turkey is to take all the guesswork out of it and get yourself a meat thermometer.

HolgerDanske Sun 15-Oct-17 20:24:19

Uh, a rogue 'chicken' snuck it's way in, heh! Obviously I meant turkey.

PolkaDottyRose Sun 15-Oct-17 20:27:46

Nigellas black treacle ham is delish though...

CrystalTits Sun 15-Oct-17 20:40:30

I've done Nigella's recipe for brined turkey for the last couple of years. We always get a really good turkey anyway, but this method seems to guarantee really moist and flavoursome meat. I'd recommend it - but as pickleme says you need to keep checking it as it cooks quicker.

RidiculousDiversion Sun 15-Oct-17 20:44:36

I did it last year with a turkey crown - over-cooked a bit I think, as it cooked so fast, but it was really nice and moist, with a subtle flavour. Do check you have the right size bucket and something you can use as a lid before you start, though...

Oh, and star anise had sold out, so I assume lots of people were doing it.

tangerino Sun 15-Oct-17 21:03:55

I do this every year and it’s lovely. Agree it cooks super-quick- her timings seem crazy shortly but they aren’t.

picklemepopcorn Sun 15-Oct-17 21:05:15

The steamed one involves boiling stock, wine and a vegetable bed in the oven tray, adding the turkey on top, making a double layer foil tent over it, and getting it boiling again so it is full of steam before it goes in the oven. Then foil off to brown it for the last half hour.

herecomesthsun Sun 15-Oct-17 22:03:47

We did it one year. It was ok, not great, and definitely not worth all the effort. yy to this

mylittlepeanut Sun 15-Oct-17 22:41:57

We’ve done it for the last 6 years and find that you can really tell the difference with the leftovers- not sure if it helps that we cook it in the roasting tin on the gas bbq?

myrtleWilson Sun 15-Oct-17 22:53:07

Gah this turkey business is tricky.. We're a fan of meat thermometers so got that covered. My issue with turkey previously has been its tendency to dry-ness hence interest in the brining. Those who aren't brine-fans - how do you cook?

peanut - last year we had a goose and a new kitchen/oven - it was touch and go as to whether it would fit on Christmas Day... I did start eyeing up the bbq!!

Annwithnoe Mon 16-Oct-17 10:56:55

I use the much maligned magic roasting bag. Throw in a sprinkle of flour, salt and pepper. Bung the turkey in the bag. Several hours and glasses of wine later I take a beautiful moist golden brown turkey out of the oven. I never admit how easy it is though, or I couldn't get away with refusing to cook again for three days wink

NotAPuffin Tue 17-Oct-17 12:44:31

I've done it a couple of times but found it a bit too faffy, to be honest. I generally find a dry brine easier to deal with and just as effective.

Last year I did sous vide turkey breast and turkey crackling separately, and it was stupidly easy and delicious. We'll be doing that again this year.

ItMustBeBedtimeSurely Tue 17-Oct-17 12:48:27

We always brine the turkey - just sugar and salt though, I don't bother with the spices. It makes a huge difference - makes the meat tender and flavoursome. Easier to cook too because you don't need to constantly check/ baste to make sure it doesn't dry out.

FridgeCut Tue 17-Oct-17 13:34:18

I always stick a bag of frozen peas on the breast area for 20-30 minutes before it goes in the oven, stops that part over- cooking. I am going to do the steaming this year, it is similar to what I do usually but this sounds more flash.

IsabelleSE19 Tue 17-Oct-17 13:38:03

I've done it for the last few years - it's okay but not noticeably amazing. I think part of my trouble is that I put it in a container that's much too big so the brine is less strong and more watery to cover the turkey properly. I really should keep an eye out for a large lidded bucket this year!

piebald Tue 17-Oct-17 13:44:41

I think its really good, get a coolbox to brine it in , that way theres not too big gaps round it and the lid fits well. reduce the stra anise and dont bother w maple syrup it burns

tickingthebox Tue 17-Oct-17 13:48:24

Brining - good idea - get a mahooosive bucket or better still a large plastic box with clip on lid

Follow Nigellas temperature and timings - she cooks it hot and fast - much less cooking than "normal" but it works (although use a meat thermometer)

PurpleFuschia4 Tue 17-Oct-17 13:54:15

Haven't brined a turkey before, sounds far too much effort. I always buy a crown as most of us hate dark meat so it only goes to waste if we buy a full turkey. All I do is rub about half a pack of butter over the skin as well as under it (On the actual meat itself), then cover it in streaky bacon. Mmm.

Commuterface Tue 17-Oct-17 14:07:16

"Doing some Nigella Shit with that turkey" will forever remind me of Gavin and Stacey misses point of thread

BiddyPop Wed 18-Oct-17 12:54:52

I am half contemplating brining our turkey this year - we haven't had the opportunity to cook one for about 3 years now, and will be home even longer than normal this year (and have time at home on Christmas Eve as I don't have to go to the office!!).

Do the sweet ingredients make it sweeter though?

I think I already have most of the spices etc, and would be getting plenty of herbage from the supermarket anyway to supplement the garden at that time of year.

DD has a large flexible plastic garden trug - which is used for her wet sailing gear (wetsuits, boots, togs etc). So it is actually clean and can be well washed - but it's LARGE enough to take a turkey. And we could put it in the garden or the spare bedroom as cold places.

Normally, I make a large batch of herby butter (about 1lb butter with a lot of herbs chopped small, salt and pepper - all mixed together when the butter is soft). Once it's mixed, I take a good half of that out and put it in a separate bowl, and it then goes under the skin, smeared along the legs and the breasts. We usually lay about a pack of streaky bacon over the top to help too - that comes off for the last "crisping up the skin" part.

What's left has not had raw poultry hands near it, so I can take out more if it's needed, or baste the turkey as it's cooking if necessary, or use it for other things over the few days, and freeze whatever is leftover for other times.

But is it worth me making DH raise his eyebrows at me to contemplate the brining process?

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