Food always takes center stage at Christmas in this and many other households. This year we departed from tradition by having the Turkey dinner today, Sunday the 22nd. I also took a different path when it came to preparation.
I started with a free-range turkey breast joint. This was marinated in buttermilk with thyme, garlic, star-anise and sage. It soaked in the fridge for 48 hours.
I also marinated in honey, a small cured pork belly. Stuffing was: breadcrumbs, sausage meat, apricots, apple, onion, sage whizzed mixed and put in muffin tins with a drop of maple syrup on top and a base of pancetta.
Some sausage meat was wrapped in the same pancetta to make little pigs-in-blankets also baked in the muffin tins.
Veg was: brussel sprout tops and the tiny sprouts from the top of the stalk, stir fired with ginger. Baby carrots baked with the pork belly in honey and parsnips roasted with the bird.
The turkey joint was slathered with butter whizzed with dried cranberry and chorizo and topped with bacon. The joint was wrapped in foil and refrigerated a few hours before spending and hour and half in a 180 oven. Then finished unwrapped for thirty minutes to crisp the bacon. The pork belly was cooked for an hour in the same oven and basted with honey regularly.
The roast spuds were par boiled and then crisped in the deep fryer rather than roasting. The gravy was made with chicken stock, Marsala wine and a dash of cream.
It felt odd eating the turkey dinner well before the festive day, but it was much enjoyed.
On the day we are going to the sea with a plate-de-mare. Oysters, prawns (or shrimp) of several kinds. Langoustine, lobster, crab and clams and whatever else looks good at the market in Cork city tomorrow.