Leaner, more flavourful, high on protein and less in fat, turkey is also one of the most delicious poultry meats. Whether you need a quick meal on the go, or you want to sit in and indulge, turkey is probably the way to go.
However, there’s a common misconception that the only way to cook turkey is to roast it in an oven. It certainly does taste heavenly when removed hot from the oven, the juices running free, skin sizzling with flavour. But here’s some news for you – turkey tastes just as great in a variety of other ways that don’t need an oven.
Here’s a mix of recipes with and without an oven. Go ahead, indulge. It’s got a great protein to fat ratio.
We begin with a familiar, Indian-style dish. Best had with steaming white rice, we won’t begrudge a buttered roti combination either.
Here are the ingredients you’ll need, apart from 1 kilo turkey. You can get perfectly curry cut turkey right here.
3 large onions, paste
2 large tomatoes, pureed
1 Tbsp garlic paste
1 Tbsp ginger paste
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 Tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Chopped coriander for garnish
- Heat oil in a pan and sauté the onion paste, garlic & ginger paste till golden brown.
- Add tomato puree. When the tomato puree dries up, add coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Let the spices cook.
- Add turkey pieces into the masala. Stir well and cook till they are golden brown.
- Add 1/2 cup of water and stir. Cover with a lid and let it simmer till the turkey is cooked.
- Garnish with chopped coriander and serve.
Slow Cooked Turkey
That’s right. Slow cooked. The time might not be very attractive, but rest assured, this is worth the wait. The best thing about slow cooking is that it keeps all the flavours intact, and makes the meat incredibly moist and tender.
Time to take out that slow cooker you use so much for stews. If it’s big enough, you can even dunk in a whole turkey. But even if you chop it like you do a chicken, the results are extraordinary.
White onions diced – 2
Carrots diced – 2
Choice of diced vegetables
Choice of spices (not too heavy, or the spices become overpowering)
Heat vegetable oil in the pot, add in the spices, saute. Add vegetables and saute well. Place turkey on the vegetables, add 300 ml water or stock.
Shut the lid, let simmer for two hours. Monitor the liquid level, ensure it doesn’t dry.
Cut at the thigh; if juices flow clear, your turkey is well and truly cooked. Place on a board, serve with pot stock as sauce.
Turkey Roulade (Needs Oven)
Now for the big one. Here’s how to go the whole hog with your turkey.
3/4 cup large-diced dried figs, stems removed
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup Calvados or brandy
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups diced onions (2 onions)
1 cup (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
3/4 pound pork sausage, casings removed (sweet and hot mixed)
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
3 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix (recommended: Pepperidge Farm)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 extra-large egg, beaten
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 whole (2 halves) turkey breast, boned and butterflied (5 pounds)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Place the dried figs and cranberries in a small saucepan and pour in the Calvados and 1/2 cup water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and celery and saute until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the sausage, crumbling it into small bits with a fork, and saute, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, until cooked and browned. Add the figs and cranberries with the liquid, the chopped rosemary, and pine nuts, and cook for 2 more minutes. Scrape up the brown bits with a wooden spoon.
Place the stuffing mix in a large bowl. Add the sausage mixture, chicken stock, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and stir well. (The stuffing may be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator overnight.)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Place a baking rack on a sheet pan.
Lay the butterflied turkey breast skin side down on a cutting board. Sprinkle the meat with 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon pepper. Spread the stuffing in a 1/2-inch-thick layer over the meat, leaving a half-inch border on all sides. Don’t mound the stuffing or the turkey will be difficult to roll. (Place the leftover stuffing in a buttered gratin dish and bake for the last 45 minutes of roasting alongside the turkey.) Starting at 1 end, roll the turkey like a jelly roll and tuck in any stuffing that tries to escape on the sides. Tie the roast firmly with kitchen twine every 2 inches to make a compact cylinder.
Place the stuffed turkey breast seam side down on the rack on the sheet pan. Brush with the melted butter, sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, until an instant-read thermometer registers 150 degrees F in the center. (I test in a few places.) Cover the turkey with aluminum foil and allow it to rest at room temperature for 15 minutes. Carve 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve warm with the extra stuffing.