I guess as a cook I take it for granted that others know what I know, but of course, I’m wrong.
So, I thought I’d give you my ideas on how to baste a ham, how to cook a ham, how to baste a turkey and how to cook a turkey.
We’ll start with my favourite Ham Baste Recipe.
For 9 KG ham – adjust the ingredients to suit the weight of the ham.
Carefully pull the skin off the ham to expose a good layer of the white fat underneath. Score the fat with a sharp knife in a criss-cross pattern making diamond shapes in the fat, then push a whole clove into the centre of each diamond. Gently sprinkle ¼ cup brown sugar over the whole ham – let it sit and soak into the ham while you make the baste. Bring the oven to temperature (about 150° C).
150 ml Frui’tn’fire Passionate About Chilli Sauce 3 Tablespoons Brandy
4 Tablespoons Rewarewa Honey Juice of one orange
Juice small lime or lemon 1 tablespoon malt vinegar
4 Tablespoons Port ¼ cup brown sugar
MELT the honey and combine all the ingredients together
Gently spoon the baste over the ham, constantly stirring the baste to ensure all ingredients are evenly mixed. Continue to baste the ham throughout the cooking time by scooping the liquid out of the pan – about every 20 minutes – until the ham is thoroughly cooked. Depending on the size of the ham about 2 – 4 hours.
It’s really quite easy. The hardest part is ensuring you leave sufficient of the fat layer to keep the ham moist – about 1 cm if possible.
Now for How to Cook a Turkey.
Girls, turkeys like to be handled the same way we do. Lots of attention, take it long and slow….
To thaw the Turkey, put it on a large dish in the bottom of the refrigerator for several days. If you have forgotten to take it out of the freezer in time to do that, then leave it on the bench OUT OF THE SUN (for those of us lucky enough to have Christmas or Thanksgiving in the summer). It’ll probably take all day as it needs to thaw right through to the centre or it will be difficult to stuff properly. Remember this is poultry and must be treated very careful so you won’t give your guests food poisoning with bad turkey.
Ok, the first thing you do when the bird is thawed is remove it from the bag and wash it – inside and out. Some people say to pat the outside dry with a paper towel, but really, by the time you’ve finished stuffing it, it’ll probably be dry anyway.
To make the stuffing.
The easiest way is to take a loaf of bread, put it into the food processor with about 1 tablespoon of dried mixed herbs, one egg (the egg is used to bind the mixture together) and whizz it around until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. You will find that the mix is too dry to stick together so add a dash of hot water, keep adding the water until it forms a lump. Then simply push it inside the cavity – nice and tight. You can use a skewer to bring the two flaps across and secure them to ensure the stuffing stays inside the bird and doesn’t try to escape.
Another fabulous stuffing, is do the same recipe, but add some BITE ME Mandarin Marmalade. Only about a tablespoon mixed into the stuffing and then use the rest of the jar of the marmalade to smear all over the turkey as the baste.
You will note in my recipes that I don’t use a lot of salt or fats/oils.
I have high blood pressure so have adjusted my cooking to suit, it’s amazing how you can actually taste so many more flavours without the salt interfering.
OK, now we are ready to baste the turkey and cook it.
Put the bird into a large roasting pan.
Add 1/2 cup of water into the pan.
Turn the oven onto LOW – about 130 C.
If you want to you can lightly salt the turkey. I don’t.
This year we have created a delicious Turkey Baste under the By Justine range.
The flavour of plum makes your mouth twitch with surprise and delight as you then encounter pineapple, orange, lemon and ginger.
Pour the entire bottle over the turkey and using your pastry brush – or fingers – smear it all over.
It’s probably best to put some tin foil over the wing tips or they will definitely burn.
Every 20 – 30 minutes of the cooking time, scoop some of the juices from the bottom of the pan and pour it back over the bird – this then constitutes the baste.
The turkey should take about 5 hours to cook for a large bird.
DON’T TRY TO HURRY IT or the turkey will be dry.
So, does that help? I hope so.
A little bit of back ground on the Christmas Turkey Baste recipe.
It’s based on a family recipe from Minnesota, which had been lost over the years. Rachel, my husbands cousin from St Cloud, Minnesota contacted me to see if I could recreate the baste recipe.
Rachel came back to me saying: .”It is exactly how I remember Mother making it”.
So, that is how the Christmas Turkey Baste Recipe started.
and now, my hubby is patiently waiting for me to go and cook breakfast on this fabulous Sunday morning. I think he should cook for me!