Mummy Turkey (Baked in Cheesecloth!)

christmas dinner

Welcome to our Vintage Christmas!

When I first told my hairdresser Elly at Stevie English that I was cooking a mummy turkey for Christmas dinner, she grimaced and asked if I was going to stuff a turkey with something ancient and rotting. I realise that trying to sell any food as a "mummy" theme isn't exactly going to get people excited. But anyone that has roasted a turkey will realise how genius Angela's idea for a mummy turkey is. Originally from chef Michael Symon, this turkey is wrapped in cheesecloth or muslin and needs no basting whatsoever, which is the thing that makes this delicious, lean meat really quite attention seeking. And given that Christmas is a time of heightened familial dramas and tension, let's not have another diva needing attention in the oven.

Welcome to our Vintage Christmas!

The trick is to wrap the turkey in muslin or cheesecloth and then pour stock over the muslin soaking it. It means that there's no half hourly dash to baste the thing with a contraption that makes you think of artificial insemination (or is that just me?) and it just sits there in the oven being good until it emerges golden brown underneath the strange looking layers of muslin. I would have served this at Halloween (and maybe I will) but I couldn't wait a whole 10 months. But if 2013 goes like 2012, it will be here before I know it!

Mummy Turkey

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  • 1 fresh turkey

  • Salt to dry brine turkey

  • 2 cups chicken or turkey stock

  • Cheesecloth or muslin (enough to wrap around the turkey three times over)

  • Stuffing of choice (I recommend this cornbread and ham stuffing)

Step 1 - Clean turkey, removing everything inside. Check all cavities to remove included gizzards, liver, turkey neck, etc. Salt turkey generously, wrap in plastic, refrigerate overnight.

Step 2 - When ready to roast, wash salt off. Pat dry. Allow to sit at room temperature 1 hour.

Step 3 - Heat stock up first if taking out of refrigerator. Allow to cool. Preheat oven to 218C/425F. Pat inside of turkey dry. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff turkey with your stuffing if using.

Welcome to our Vintage Christmas!

Step 4 - Place turkey in roasting pan, over a rack. Cover entire turkey with cheesecloth. Pour all of the turkey stock over the cheesecloth. Roast for 45 minutes at 218C/425F. Lower to 180C/350F, and roast until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 82C/180F. I used this site to calculate the time needed to roast my turkey and it was spot on and the turkey cooked through but still moist inside. Allow to rest 30 minutes before carving.

Welcome to our Vintage Christmas!

Welcome to our Vintage Christmas!
Cutting open the cheesecloth to reveal a golden turkey

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