Braised Turkey with carrots and mushrooms
750g piece boned, rolled turkey breast (preferable with skin)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
250g Chantenay carrots, scrubbed and trimmed – halve any large ones
150g chestnut mushrooms, wiped, halved if large
6 sprigs fresh thyme, finely shopped
120 ml dry white wine
200 ml chicken stock
1 tbs sunflower oil
25g butter plus a small extra knob
4-5 tbs double cream
2 tsp cornflour, mixed with a little cold water.
Set the oven to 180 C, fan 160, gas 4.
Heat the oil and the 25g butter together in a large flameproof casserole and place the turkey joint in, skin side down. Remove from the pan and set aside and add the onion to the fat in the pan, and cook gently for a few minutes to soften. Then add the carrots, bayleaves and thyme, place the turkey on top of the vegetables, cover and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
Add the wine, replace the lid and cook for a further 20 minutes. Then pour over the stock, using enough to come about halfway up the side of the meat. Season lightly – the liquid is to be reduced - return to the oven again and cook for a further hour.
Fry the mushrooms briskly in the reserved butter, then add them to the casserole, scattering them around the turkey, and cook for another 15 minutes.
Remove the turkey form the casserole and keep warm, then place the casserole over a high heat and reduce the sauce until it barely covers the vegetables. Turn the heat to low and gradually add the cornflour mixture, stirring, until it gives a fairly thick sauce (just slightly thicker than you want it to be when finished). Stir in the cream and reheat without boiling. Check the seasoning and correct if necessary.
Slice the turkey and serve with the vegetables and sauce, accompanied by potatoes and a green vegetable. I'd intended having new potatoes with it, but I forgot to buy any so we had boiled potatoes instead, which with hindsight were better for mopping up the lovely sauce.
This photo is a perfect demonstration of why nobody will ever head-hunt me as a food stylist. I can make food that tastes delicious, yet I present it looking like something you wouldn't want to step on in a dark alley. I'm sure when you try it you'll make it look a LOT better!
Verdict absolutely delicious. Cooking the turkey this way kept it lovely and moist, and it was falling-apart tender.
Until I took part in this competition, I'd never thought of eating turkey at any time other than Christmas. To be honest, I've always found the turkey element of the meal to be dry and uninteresting, just a vehicle for all the trimmings, and only serve it because it's what the family expect. So being quite unenthusiastic about it, I'd never thought of using it at any other time of year. But now I will definitely be making it part of my year-round shopping, having proved to myself that there are lots of ways to cook it that are far, far better than roasting an over-sized bird for far too long because you've been at the champagne and forgotten the time (or is that just me?)
So now when planning my menus, I'll bear in mind that A TURKEY IS FOR DINNER, NOT JUST FOR CHRISTMAS!