The holiday entertaining season is upon us and while this year’s festivities will look and feel different for many of us, good food and good company will continue to be the hallmarks of the next two months for many.
Regardless of what or how you celebrate, elevating your entertainment offering is an easy way to provide some of the pageantry and escapism we all currently crave. As we gather around tables and come together in kitchens across the island, turkey tends to find itself in the spotlight for many holiday occasions.
While trussing and cooking a whole turkey may seem intimidating to the unpractised eye, once the bird is in the oven it requires minimal effort or supervision for the next several hours, affording precious time to tend to other tasks before guests arrive, and to entertain them when they do.
Oven roasting is the most common method of cooking turkey around the holidays.
Traditionally, a deep roasting pan – either with or without a roasting rack – is used to allow ample room for juices to collect as well as for frequent basting. Stainless steel options with an aluminium core ensure consistent heat distribution and are lighter and easier to maneuver in and out of the oven than other options. While a roasting rack insert is optional, it does allow for air to circulate around the entire bird and has the added benefit of allowing more space for starches and vegetables to cook.
Alternatively, braising your turkey in a cast iron Dutch oven increases the retention of heat, steam and flavour, ensuring your turkey and all its trimmings remain moist.
Le Creuset’s oval Dutch ovens, which come in a variety of sizes, are the perfect shape to hold a whole turkey. Make sure you choose a large enough size so as not to crowd the turkey, which may lead to uneven cooking and less juices. For example, a 7-quart Dutch oven can comfortably fit a 9- to 10-pound turkey, but the bigger the bird, the larger the Dutch oven needs to be.
Although this cookware is eye-catching enough to earn a spot on your holiday table, never carve the turkey directly in your Dutch oven as you risk chipping the specialised enamel coating that keeps your prized cookware non-stick and safe for use with any cooking technique.
Hilary Van Loon is the retail operations manager at Bon Vivant in Camana Bay.