Well after making this three times in the last year I should probably post it here.
Today’s comes from “The Good Huswifes Jewell” published in 1596. As far as I can tell the Turkey came back to Spain very early after discovering the New World; and by the 1530s it was common enough in England to be anecdotaly one of the king’s favorite meals. By the 1590s it begins appearing in cookery books.
To baje a Turkie and take out his bones.
Take a fat Turkie, and after you haue
scalded him and washed him cleane, lay
him vpon a faire cloth and slit him through-
out the backe, and when you haue taken
out his garbage, then you must take out
his bones so bare as you can, when you
haue so doone wash him cleane, then trusse
him and pricke his backe toghether, and so
haue a faire kettle of seething water and
perboyle him a little, then take him vp that
the water may runne cleane out from him,
and when he is colde, season him with pep-
per and Salt, and then pricke hym with a
fewe cloues in the breast, and also drawe
him with larde if you like of it, and when
you haue maide your coffin and laide your
Turkie in it, then you must put some But-
ter in it, and so close him vp. in this sorte you
may bake a goose, a Pheasant, or capon.
This one is fairly easy as most of the steps are already done when you buy a turkey these days.
To Bake a Turkey
- Bacon enough to cover it
- Butter – optional
- Take your turkey and lay him breast down on your cutting board, this will be messy, so don’t have anything near.
- You will need a bowl for the bones (roast them and make stock from them after, it tastes great), a long thin knife (slicing knife), and a pair of bone sheers. If you don’t have those you can do it all with knives but it is a bit more dangerous and takes longer.
- Use your bone shears to cut up each side of the spine and remove the spine from the back.
- Use the knife to slowly release each of the bones and remove them. You may need to use the sheers again to cut the cartridge connecting the leg bones to the thigh bones. I normal leave the wing bones and leg bones but remove everything else.
- Go slowly, don’t rush or you’ll cut yourself. the breast bone needs to be removed very slowly. You don’t want to penetrate the skin by accident.
- Once this is done rub the bird down with salt and pepper, then truss it up so it looks like a normal turkey (though smaller now).
- If you want you can put some butter inside the bird, but it’s really not that necessary. We wont be cooking it in a coffin (this time) so it isn’t really needed.
- Use a small knife to poke holes in the skin and a little into the meat and stick cloves in them. Clove the breast to your preference, but I find that people like the flavour of the cloves, so go nuts.
- Wrap the whole thing in bacon. Last time we did it we used a lot of bacon, but we’ve done everything from one tray to half a box. The bacon keeps the bird moist during cooking and adds some great flavour.
- Put it in your preferred method of roasting (roasting pan, turkey cooker, etc) and cook it till a knife going in has clear juices come out of it. Or you can go by a meat thermometer.
- Remove from the roaster, take the legs and wings off and slice the rest like a roast.
We did this the other week as the main meat for Winters Tourney and everyone loved it. The fact that the king loves bacon didn’t hurt :).
I hope to do this some time with a proper coffin.
Update: I made it in a coffin!