Surely when you think of cooking turkey, it comes to mind to make it baked for Christmas dinner as is customary in some cultures around the world. But the reality is that turkey can be a versatile protein and there are many other recipes that you might like to try alone or with family and friends.
This time I will show you some recipes for cooking turkey and some tips so that you get the best possible result in your home kitchen.
What you should know before cooking turkey
There are some tips or rules that you must follow if you want your turkey to be as delicious as you want, all this has to do with the basic preparation before any recipe that you are going to follow.
First, it is important that you are clear about the importance of defrosting the turkey at least two nights in advance ; something that you can take into account is the weight, the ideal would be to defrost it at room temperature for a whole day for every two kilos of turkey. Thawing it this way helps the turkey achieve a more intense flavor and you can get a juicy result.
After thawing it well, you should wash it inside and out, this also applies to fresh turkeys. Use plenty of water while rubbing it very well; Then, to make sure you eliminate harmful agents such as bacteria that could be on the skin of the turkey, spray it with a mixture of lemon and water, this is made up of the juice of three lemons for every half liter of water.
Now you will have your turkey ready for any of the two recipes that I will present below and you can enjoy the different ways to prepare this protein.
How to cook traditional turkey for Christmas?
Although I have made it clear that turkey can be prepared and enjoyed in different ways, I cannot help but present you with the recipe and the correct way to prepare the classic Christmas baked turkey.
You will need the following ingredients for this recipe:
- 1 turkey of 4.5 kg
- ⅔ cups of butter
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ⅔ cup of lemon juice
- Salt and ground pepper to taste
- The first thing you should do is prepare the oven, bring it to 165 ° C and make sure it maintains that temperature constantly.
- Then, you will dedicate yourself to preparing the turkey topping that will give it that golden color you are looking for and will add a lot to the flavor. You must take the butter and melt it in a saucepan to mix it with the orange and lemon juice.
- With this mixture you will have to rub the whole turkey inside and out, without using it all to be able to have a little when it comes to varnishing it while it is baking (A tip in this step is to rub with butter without melting under the skin of the turkey just a little bit, to help it brown better).
- Now, place the turkey on a rack and cover it with aluminum foil. Fill the tray with half an inch of water and try to maintain that level throughout the cooking time, this will prevent the turkey from drying out too much. To achieve a juicy turkey I advise you to mix orange juice with a little wine and inject the turkey with this into the breast and the end, being careful not to overdo it so that the liquid inside it does not escape. Leave it in the refrigerator overnight before cooking.
- Let the turkey bake for 3 to 4 hours, don’t forget to varnish it every so often with the butter and juice mixture left over from step two.
- At the last hour of cooking, raise the oven temperature to 200 ° C and remove the aluminum foil to finish and intensify the browning on the skin of the turkey you are looking for.
Something you can do to achieve a delicious flavor in your turkey and help it to be juicy is to hydrate it with evaporated milk mixed with chicken broth ; rub the turkey with this mixture before adding the filling of your choice.
How to cook turkey breast with crunchy herb crust?
This is a very delicious recipe with which you can taste the turkey accompanied by the pleasant crunchy texture of its crust with a herbal flavor.
For the herb crusted turkey you will need these or similar ingredients:
- 1 ½ cups panko or breadcrumbs
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp. finely crushed fennel seeds
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
- Cooking spray
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
- The zest of two lemons
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and black pepper
- 3 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 turkey breast
- 1 tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
- The first thing you will have to prepare is the crust, for this take the ground bread and mix it with the minced garlic, the aromatic herbs, the lemon zest and the mustard. Add a touch of salt and pepper to your liking to this mixture and you will have it ready to use.
- Push the mixture off the crust for a moment, but not too far away, and take the turkey breast. Varnish it with egg so that now you can cover it with the bread crumb mixture and place it on a baking sheet.
- Spray the breast with a touch of cooking spray, if you want you can use common vegetable oil of your choice, but make sure not to soak the breast when applying it.
- Put the breast in the preheated oven, in a tray or pan that can be put into the oven, and let it bake at 220 ° C for an hour or until you notice that the surface is golden brown and the inside is well cooked ; You can cut a piece when you think it is ready to confirm the cooking of the interior, and if it is not ready you can leave it a little longer, taking care that it does not overcook.
- Remove the breast from the oven when you consider that it is perfectly cooked and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Once rested, you can slice it just before serving.
Benefits of eating turkey
Now that you know these recipes, a classic for Christmas and holidays, and a slightly different one for a dinner or lunch with your loved ones, it is good that you know about some benefits that eating turkey offers you.
Turkey is characterized by being low in calories, thanks to its meat being 75% water. In addition, its fat and cholesterol content is one of the lowest in all proteins, which makes it one of the most recommended lean meats by nutritionists and food gurus.
If you want to reduce your fat consumption even more when eating turkey, you can remove the skin from it, since most of the lipids in this meat are concentrated there.