Artisan food expert Katy Truss’ Christmas turkey buying guide

katy truss with mortons turkey
Katy Truss with her Christmas turkey from Mortons

This week’s christmas turkey buying guide has been kindly supplied by Artisan food and drink expert Katy Truss who works on behalf of The BBC Good Food show sourcing the very best producers for their awards schemes.

Home for me has always been North Norfolk, and after 10 years away in London working for the BBC Good Food Shows, I’m delighted to now be living here permanently.

As a keen foodie I always look out for the highest quality possible and also like to support local, independent and passionate producers so was delighted when I found Morton’s Free Range Turkeys just up the road!

Discovering Mortons Traditional Taste free range turkeys

Last year I met Rob Morton, a turkey farmer and family man, rearing and selling some of the best turkey’s I’ve ever tasted.So last year began my tradition of picking up the turkey from the farm gate.

It’s lovely to get a breather from the Christmas shopping and frantic festive preparations at home and I think important to link the food we eat to the farm. If I had kids they’d certainly be coming with me!

roasted freerange turkeyKaty Truss’s top turkey tips

  1. With a free-range turkey you can be sure that your bird has led a good life and the flavour should reflect this too.
  2. Support your local farmers – they shouldn’t be too different in price like for like, so put your money into the local economy rather than the big multiples.
  3. If you can’t afford a big turkey, include a ham at your Christmas dinner table, and jazz up all those sides too – I’m going for BBC Good Food Magazine’s amazing sounding salted caramel parsnips this year!
  4. Bring your turkey to room temperature before it goes in the oven – leaving out overnight on Christmas eve should do the trick, just don’t let the cat get to it!
  5. I like to treat the bird to a butter massage before it goes into the oven, weird maybe but a bit of buttery love can only help right?
  6. Keep your turkey nice and moist with streaky bacon covering the breast and legs – makes for good snacking too!
  7. Timing is key – I always refer to Delia Smith’s guide to cooking turkey and don’t forget to leave at least 30 minutes for resting.  It won’t go cold, even after an hour or so.
  8. Use the giblets to make stock for the gravy – it really adds a great depth of flavour.
  9. I generally allow about 500g of meat (on the bone) for each person, which should give enough for the main meal with some left over. So:
    • 6-8 people: 4kg turkey
    • 10 people: 5kg turkey
    • 12 people: 6kg turkey
  10. Be sure to save enough for your ultimate leftover sandwich on Boxing Day. Whether it’s the full works with gravy, cranberry sauce, bread sauce, veg etc or just thickly buttered bread and a sprinkling of sea salt – enjoy!

Morton’s Roast Norfolk Black Turkey

family xmas dinnerThis year Morton’s have both bronze and Norfolk blacks in a range of size and if you fancy something a bit different, two bird roasts and stuffed breast joints are on offer, as well as delicious smoked duck and chicken breasts which are perfect for canapés, starters and buffets.

My Morton’s turkey last year was full of traditional flavour with crispy skin and deliciously moist, buttery meat.

If you choose one of Rob’s birds this year I’m sure you won’t be disappointed and if we meet at the farm gate please do say hello!

Katy Truss is an Artisan food expert, blogging about locally sourced produce on her site fabulousfoodfinds.co.uk Katy also works on behalf of the BBC Good Food Awards managing the Producers Bursary Awards and Good Food Champions schemes. You can follow Katy on Twitter @katytruss