© David Loftus
Like a lot of what I’m doing this year, this butter is a job for Christmas Eve. It won’t take long and will guarantee you happiness the day after. A really beautiful turkey like Mr Kelly’s doesn’t need anything more than olive oil and salt and pepper, they’re that good. While the purist in me says leave it alone, the chef in me is curious and wants to experiment. I think the bird, and the occasion, deserve a bit of extra love so if you can add a bit of an edge with something that complements and enhances its natural flavours, why not try it?
An experiment of mine I’m happy to say really worked out was this flavoured butter. It looks beautiful, gives a delicate sweetness and holds the skin away from the meat so it gets extra crispy as it cooks. Another bonus is that the butter’s journey out of the bird will give you a self-basting bird. Brilliant.
Put your butter into a bowl and add the chopped cranberries. Chop, sweep and run your knife through the herb leaves until really finely chopped, then add to the butter with a pinch of salt and pepper, and the finely grated zest of your clementine. Mix so the butter softens and everything is combined. Divide the butter roughly in half.
Get your turkey and use a spoon to work your way between the skin and the meat. Start at the side of the cavity just above the leg and work gently up toward the breastbone and towards the back so you create a large cavity. Pick up half of your butter and push it into the cavity you’ve created. Use your hands to push it through the skin right to the back so it coats the breast meat as evenly as possible. Do the same on the other side then rub any leftover butter all over the outside of the bird to use it up. If you’ve got any herb stalks left over, put them in the cavity of the turkey for added flavour as it cooks. Cover the turkey in cling film and put in the fridge until you’re ready to cook it the next day.
serves: enough for 1 turkey
• 1 x 250g pack of butter
• 75g dried cranberries, really finely chopped
• a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
• 4 fresh rosemary sprigs, leaves picked
• a few sprigs of fresh sage, leaves picked
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 clementine