Why you should include turkey in your Christmas menus

Turkey is one of the most versatile white meats that exist due to its excellent combination of health and flavor. In addition to being a meat with a great quality-price ratio, it allows you to make dishes that will show off at Christmas celebrations.

Chef Damián González, executive chef of the Dos Cielos restaurant, and AVIANZA, Spanish Interprofessional Association of Poultry Meat, detail all the possibilities and benefits of turkey, as well as the best techniques to prepare it and the garnishes that best combine.

The 3 reasons to prepare turkey this Christmas

First of all, it is one of the whitest meats. healthy and tasty. It has a low fat and cholesterol content, but a large presence of proteins of high biological value (essential amino acids necessary for the body) and group B vitamins. All this combined with its great flavor and all the cooking and preparation possibilities. that it offers.

Precisely, that versatility It allows you to shine with any dish made with this meat. Stuffed turkey, for example, is a colorful, tasty and filling dish, which is worthy of any Christmas lunch or dinner.

And, thirdly, it is worth highlighting its great value for money, something very valuable especially in these current moments of instability and economic uncertainty. As Jordi Montfort, general secretary of AVIANZA, explains, “turkey meat adapts to any type of budget, without having to give up flavor or quality. The packaging provided by any dish made with this meat guarantees the enjoyment and delight of all diners.”

The secret of cooking so that the stuffed turkey is perfect

One of the most suitable preparations for the Christmas holidays is, without a doubt, stuffed turkey. For it to become the star dish, in addition to choosing Spanish meat with a European quality seal, it is essential to know the basic cooking and carving techniques, as well as the garnishes that best accompany it.

Turkey for Christmas celebrations.

Cooking keys:

  • Advance notice: Stuffed turkey is a dish that requires time and preparation prior to cooking. It is important to take this into account when planning its preparation.
  • Hydration: You have to hydrate the meat to make it juicy. To do this, the ideal is to make a brine by placing the turkey in a large dish, cover it with a mixture of cold water and salt and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
  • Marinate: The next step is to prepare a mixture with which to marinate the turkey for at least 8 hours. This mixture can be made with a base of wine (preferably white) and orange juice, and add salt, pepper and spices to taste.
  • Fill out: It is the touch that will turn that turkey into a more special dish. Before introducing the filling (which will be to taste) it is recommended to first add melted butter. Likewise, once it is filled, you can spread it with butter on the outside, season with salt and pepper and add the broth in which it has been marinating.
  • Baked: On the oven tray, with the breast facing up and covered with aluminum foil, it is time to cook it. You have to calculate one hour for each kilo of turkey, that is, if it weighs 7 kilos, it will take 7 hours of baking. The recommended temperature is low, between 120 and 140 degrees.

During baking it is important to continue hydrating the turkey, with the juice it releases and with the marinade, as well as turning it over several times so that it is cooked well on all sides.
Once it is ready, it is recommended to let it rest for at least half an hour.

The carving:

  • Necessary tools: a very sharp knife, a board that serves as a carving surface, tongs, very clean hands and some skill.
  • The first thing is to separate the thighs.
  • Next, the breast, separating it from the bone to which it is attached and then filleting.
  • The last thing that remains is to plate using the tongs.

The garnish and sauces:

The perfect complement to make this dish even tastier. Turkey, being a meat that combines very well with all types of flavors, accepts many options.

  • The most traditional: mashed potatoes are the most typical option. To give it a special touch you can add parmesan. It is also usually accompanied by sweet potato, vegetables such as cabbage and red fruit sauce, which goes very well with this meat.
  • The sweetest: Apple compote is another of the quintessential turkey garnishes. The sweet and salty contrast is a success.
  • In its own juice: Among the most successful garnishes is the so-called Gravy sauce, which is that juice that the turkey has released and with which we have watered it during all the hours in the oven. Strain it before serving (optional, if you want the sauce thick, add flour while hot and stirring to avoid lumps).
  • The most sophisticated: confit mushrooms with truffle; arugula, walnut and cheese salad; or golden pineapple in its juice.
Garnishes for the turkey.

And for the following days? Everything is used from the turkey

Another great feature of roast turkey is the countless recipes that can be made with leftovers. Nothing of this lean meat is thrown away. From the skeleton for a delicious broth, to the remains of meat for croquettes, cannelloni or a Caesar salad to compensate for the excesses. With turkey you can perfectly carry out what is known as “useful cooking”, so necessary in these times of economic uncertainty.

Turkey as a useful cuisine.