Two weeks ago, I had the chance to attend a master class with TV chef Marco Pierre White who showed us step by step how to make the perfect Christmas turkey. I have never cooked a Christmas dinner before, I guess that’s the advantage of living with a budding chef and having a cooking fanatic Nan, so when I was asked, if I would like to learn how to cook the Christmas dinner of all Christmas dinners, I thought that there was no reason for excuses anymore and it was time to take the plunge into the world of ‘proper cooking’.
The masterclass hosted by ‘Lean On Turkey’ took place in Marco Pierre White’s restaurant ‘Marco’ located within the Chelsea Football Club Complex at Stamford Bridge and focused on all things turkey: We learned how to prepare the perfect Christmas turkey, to cook it and to carve it ready for serving.
To allow questions and make the experience a little more personal, we were split into two groups and believe it or not, but when we entered the room, we all went stumm: Marco’s presence is rather charismatic and I think we were all in awe when he stepped behind the counter and started to use the meat cleaver.
During the course of the masterclass, Marco gave us countless tips on how to make the perfect Christmas turkey, but I thought we’ll leave it short and sweet, so here are my favourites of Marco Pierre White’s tips for the perfect turkey:
1. Buy the crown of the turkey or remove wings, giblets, legs and the carcass.
2. If you buy a whole turkey, chop up the wings, legs and the carcass and use for the gravy.
3. For his stuffing, Marco mixed Paxo (use a third less water than on the packaging), some browned onions and some sausage meat.
4. To stuff the thigh joints and neck, peel back the skin, insert the stuffing underneath and pull the skin back over to seal.
5. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and cook the crown for about 1.5h. The thighs will take circa 55 minutes. Marco suggested to insert a meat thermometer to check the temperature of the breast and thighs. Once they reach 66 and 72 degrees, take them out of them oven, cover in tin foil and leave to rest.
6. To make your gravy, roast the chopped turkey carcass, as well as legs, wings, some onion and garlic for about 1.5h in a roasting pan. Add some water and bouillon to the pan, bring to the boil and strain through a sieve. Pour your gravy in a sauce pan and add a cornflour/water mix to thicken your sauce.
7. Make your own cranberry sauce by bringing 500g fresh or frozen cranberries, 250g sugar, 100ml of Port and 100ml of orange juice to the boil. Simmer until your mix has a thick jam-like consistency.
8. Remove the stuffing before slicing your crown in long strokes. Make sure to use a sharp knife!
Oh and here’s a cheeky picture of Marco and Me
Disclosure: For more tasty turkey recipes and tips and tricks on cooking with turkey, check out the Lean on turkey website. My expenses were paid to enable me to attend the masterclass & I received a gift card towards the cost of my turkey along with a meat thermometer.