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Talking turkey

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If you’re wondering what to feed the ravenous hoards this Christmas or looking for something for a delicious dinner à deux, you could do a lot worse than pop into the award-winning Eastwoods the Butcher right there in Berkhamsted.  And when I say ‘award-winning,’ I don’t mean just little local awards – we’re talking Independent Butcher of the Year and, get this, Best Butcher Shop in Britain.

I’ve been scanning their Christmas order form already – partly because their meat is properly delicious, as well as being ethically sourced, but mostly so that I don’t end up wrestling a massive last-minute Iceland turkey under the hot tap on Christmas Eve.  (No, really, don’t try that.  Not a good plan at all.  Really.)

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Now, I like a bit of turkey but I’m now wondering whether the family is up for one of their three bird roasts.  It so sounds like something you’d get served at a banquet, rather than your own dining table, and I have to admit to being properly tempted by that thought.  Or maybe I should go for a goose?  Plenty of fat for the spuds.

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Because they’re a proper specialist butcher, I’ve made sure to ask them – award winners that they are – for their best advice on what to choose and then how to cook it.  And they really know what they’re talking about.  They’ve got all the other bits there, too – pigs in blankets, sausage meat, stuffing, the lot.  They’re always happy to make suggestions, too, if you’re not quite sure what you fancy or what to do with it.

They also do gift vouchers – a fact I’ve only recently discovered.  If my husband had a stocking – which he doesn’t, he’s far too old for all that – then that would definitely makethe perennial “what to get for the chap who has everything” question a whole lot easier to answer.

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But if all this effort is getting too much, you could just order up one of their Beef Wellingtons.  With a bit of acting on your part and a couple of glasses of wine, your guests might even believe you made it yourself.

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If you are going to go for it with a turkey, here’s what they recommend to take the stress out of it all…

  • Cook your turkey breast down – it won’t dry out that way – then turn it on its back toward the end of the cooking time so it browns up nicely.
  • Make sure it’s hot all the way through. A thermometer is a good investment as you’ll get it perfect every time (and we’ll even supply you with one when you buy our Kelly Bronze turkeys!)
  • Leave well alone. If you keep opening the door to check on it, you’ll lower the temperature and it’ll take longer to cook right through.
  • Don’t stuff it. Or if you want to, just pop an onion and some herbs in for a bit of flavour.  Cook your stuffing separately and you’ll be sure it’s properly cooked.
  • Have a rest — and let your turkey have one too.  Half an hour out of the oven wrapped in tin foil (the turkey, that is) should do it.  Then pop it on the table and get someone else to do the carving while you raise a glass to your amazing culinary accomplishments.

Ok, that’s the turkey ordered.  And some other bits and bobs, too.  Time to kick back and relax.   At least until the in-laws arrive…


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