Historical Roast Turkey Recipe: Gilded Saffron & Butter Basted Turkey with Herb Garland

A Historical Roast Turkey Recipe: Gilded Saffron & Butter Basted Turkey with Herb Garland

A Historical Roast Turkey Recipe: Gilded Saffron & Butter Basted Turkey with Herb Garland

Historical Roast Turkey Recipe:

Gilded Saffron & Butter Basted Turkey with Herb Garland

Turkey, bacon, butter and special Forman and Field stuffing - Seasonal Box from Knorr

Turkey, bacon, butter and special Forman and Field stuffing – Seasonal Box from Knorr

Christmas arrived early last weekend when I received a lovely Seasonal Box from Knorr, with the makings of a wonderful Christmas dinner, including some handy Knorr gravy potsOne of my readers was lucky enough to win the same box, in a Giveaway I was hosting a few weeks ago: Giveaway: Win a Forman and Field Seasonal Turkey Christmas Dinner Box with Knorr, and both of our boxes were filled with fresh seasonal produce of the highest quality as supplied by Forman and Field.

SELDOM SEEN FARM TURKEY 4.5-5.5kg
• LONGMAN’S FARM BUTTER 250g
• EMMETT’S MILD CURE BACK BACON 250g
• FORMAN & FIELD CHRISTMAS STUFFING 500g
• SELECTION OF FRESH HERBS
• 1 X ORANGE
• 12 x LUXURY MINCE PIES
• CHAPEL DOWN NECTAR DESSERT WINE 50cl
2 Knorr Chicken Gravy Pots

 Knorr Seasonal Turkey Christmas Dinner Box

Included in my box was a challenge to make Marco Pierre White’s Christmas Roast Turkey with Orange and Smoky Bacon Baste recipe, or a recipe of my own; although Marco Pierre’s recipe looked divine, I decided to share a very old recipe with you, as it is so special and particularly stunning - Gilded Saffron & Butter Basted Turkey with Herb Garland.

Gilded Saffron & Butter Basted Turkey with Herb Garland

Gilded Saffron & Butter Basted Turkey with Herb Garland

Gilding is a 15th Century novelty – originally gold leaf was applied to decorate meat and poultry that was served at Christmas, as well as other feasts and festivals. This is a wonderful way of serving your traditional roast turkey – and with a saffron and butter basted gilded effect, NOT using gold leaf I hasten to add – but still achieving a deep golden gilded finish. If you cannot  source any saffron, you could use just a little turmeric instead – but be careful, as it has a pervasive flavour.

Gilded Saffron & Butter Basted Turkey with Herb Garland

Gilded Saffron & Butter Basted Turkey with Herb Garland

Why not bring this 15th century art back to your modern dining table this Christmas – and enjoy a wonderful moist butter basted roast turkey at the same time. If you can get hold of edible gold dusting powder, you can sprinkle some of that on to the turkey before serving, for an extra sparkle! This is what I am making with my delicious Forman and Field turkey this Christmas Day, and I shall be serving it with Knorr gravy (made from one of their gravy pots with added turkey juices, white wine and a splash of orange juice) it’s so simple to make with a gravy pot and it tastes like home-made too.

Gilded Saffron & Butter Basted Turkey with Herb Garland

Gilded Saffron & Butter Basted Turkey with Herb Garland

What I am serving with my turkey this year:

Mini Potato Dauphinoise Muffins

Rudolph The Red Nosed Potato! Mini Potato Dauphinoise Muffins for Christmas Day (Recipe)

Spiced Red Cabbage with Apples Recipe

 Kenwood Christmas Menu: All the Trimmings ~ Spiced Red Cabbage with Apples Recipe

The Calendar Girls Curvaceous Cranberry and Kumquat Sauce with Port

The Calendar Girls Curvaceous Cranberry and Kumquat Sauce with Port

Gilded Saffron & Butter Basted Turkey with Herb Garland

Serves 8
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 4 hours
Total time 4 hours, 30 minutes
Allergy Egg
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Gourmet, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion Christmas, Formal Party, Thanksgiving
Region British
By author Karen S Burns-Booth
Gilding is a 15th Century novelty - originally gold leaf was applied to decorate meat and poultry that was served at Christmas, as well as other feasts and festivals! This is a wonderful way of serving your traditional roast turkey - and with a saffron and butter basted gilded effect, NOT using gold leaf I hasten to add - but still achieving a deep golden gilded finish. If you cannot get any saffron, you could use just a little turmeric instead - but be careful as it has a very pervasive flavour! Bring this 15th century art back to your modern dining table this Christmas - and enjoy a wonderful moist butter basted roast turkey at the same time. Please try to source an organic, free-range or home-reared turkey – such as a Bronze or Heritage turkey; you will be doing your bit to support a traditional and more humanitarian way of rearing these lovely birds, as well as gaining a much better taste and flavour! NB: If you can get hold of edible gold dusting powder, you can sprinkle some of that on to the turkey before serving, for an extra sparkle! Joyeuses Fetes – Merry Christmas!

Ingredients

  • 1 free-range fresh whole turkey (About 2 to 3 kilos)
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • softened butter, to rub into the bird
  • fresh thyme sprigs
  • rosemary sprigs
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • salt and pepper

GILDED GLAZE ONE

  • 2 - 3 pinches saffron
  • 3 egg yolks, beaten
  • 25g butter, melted

GILDED GLAZE TWO

  • 2 - 3 pinches saffron
  • 50g butter, melted

HERB GARLAND

  • 2 - 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 - 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 - 3 sprigs fresh bay leaves
  • cooking string or kitchen twine

Note

Gilding is a 15th Century novelty - originally gold leaf was applied to decorate meat and poultry that was served at Christmas, as well as other feasts and festivals! This is a wonderful way of serving your traditional roast turkey - and with a saffron and butter basted gilded effect, NOT using gold leaf I hasten to add - but still achieving a deep golden gilded finish. If you cannot get any saffron, you could use just a little turmeric instead - but be careful as it has a very pervasive flavour! Bring this 15th century art back to your modern dining table this Christmas - and enjoy a wonderful moist butter basted roast turkey at the same time. Please try to source an organic, free-range or home-reared turkey – such as a Bronze or Heritage turkey; you will be doing your bit to support a traditional and more humanitarian way of rearing these lovely birds, as well as gaining a much better taste and flavour! NB: If you can get hold of edible gold dusting powder, you can sprinkle some of that on to the turkey before serving, for an extra sparkle! Joyeuses Fetes – Merry Christmas!

Directions

Step 1 Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/350°F or Gas Mark 4.
Wipe the turkey, and remove any giblets from inside the bird if necessary.
Step 2 Smear the butter all over the bird and place the onion, herbs and lemon inside the body cavity. Season the bird with salt and pepper to taste.
Step 3 Place the buttered bird into a foil lined turkey tray. Cut a piece of greaseproof paper or baking parchment and press this over the breast part of the bird - to prevent the breast becoming too dry during cooking.
Step 4 Cover the turkey with 2 large pieces of tinfoil/aluminium foil - making sure the foil DOES NOT touch the bird - you are creating a tent - with lots of air to circulate inside.
Step 5 Cook in the preheated oven for 20 minutes per 450g, plus 20 minutes.
Step 6 Try to take the turkey out at least twice during cooking time, to baste it with the buttery juices. Replace the foil cover before putting it back to continue cooking in the oven.
Step 7 Whilst the bird is cooking, prepare your gilded glaze - choose which one you prefer, egg glaze or butter glaze.
Step 8 Whisk the egg yolks with the saffron and melted butter. It needs to be the consistency of a coating glaze, or a thick pouring cream or custard. If you are using just the butter glaze - whisk the saffron and melted butter together - this glaze will be thinner than the egg glaze.
Step 9 Twenty minutes before the end of the cooking time, remove the turkey from the oven, and drain off all the juices for your gravy.
Step 10 Turn the oven up to 190°C/380°F or Gas Mark 5.
Step 11 Apply your gilded glaze to the turkey with a large pastry brush - brush it ALL over the turkey as evenly as you can and NOT too thickly with the egg glaze.
Step 12 Return the turkey to the oven uncovered for the last 20 minutes - remove from the oven and allow to "rest" for 30 minutes before carving.
Step 13 Remove the herbs, lemon and onion from the cavity before carving and serving.
Step 14 Make the herb garland - twist sprigs of thyme, bay and rosemary together with some cooking string or twine, to form a circlet.
Step 15 Serve the turkey adorned with a twisted garland of herbs, and with traditional accompaniments such as: Roast potatoes, mixed vegetables, red cabbage, gravy, stuffing, bacon rolls and Chipolata sausage rolls.
You can also "gild" the turkey by sprinkling edible gold dusting powder over the breast and legs of the turkey - this is available from specialist cake decorating shops.

A big thanks to Knorr, Forman and Field, Jen and Neil for sending me this lovely and very special seasonal box and Joyeuses Fetes – Merry Christmas!

Marco's Christmas Lunch secrets

And, if you would like some inspiration about how to cook your Christmas dinner, look no further than Marco Pierre White’s tips here:

Marco’s Christmas Lunch secrets

Giveaway: Win a Forman and Field Seasonal Turkey Christmas Dinner Box with Knorr

Comments

  1. says

    well it looks damn fine… what an excellent recipe to share with us… thank you… I may try something similar on my bird on Tuesday… wishing you a very merry christmas honey and hope to catch up this week some time xx

  2. says

    I was going to do a turkey crown with oranges and streaky bacon on top, but I must say I am very, verrrry tempted to go for the saffron butter glaze and cook it following your recipe. You rock, Karen.
    Merry Christmas, darling, and thank you for all the inspiration you give with your marvellous blog!

  3. Lynne OConnor says

    What a lovely idea. Not sure my very traditional family would allow me to experiment with the Christmas Turkey but I might go for this at Easter

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