Friday, December 30, 2011

Turkey anyone?

pg 208-209 To roast a turkey cock and turkey hen.

As described in a previous post it is sometimes called "Indian Peacock".

If you want to spit-roast it, do not let it sit for more than six days in winter before being drawn, or in summer for more than two. Pluck it dry or in hot water- as the turkey hen is also to be plucked. Then, when it is drawn, prepare its breast because there is a bone there that is a bit higher than in other fowl: cut away the skin on one side of that bone and skillfully remove the flesh from the bone; cut the tip of the bone with a shaving knife and sew up the skin again.If you want to stuff it, use one of the stuffings of recipe 115. Cut the wings away, leaving the head and feet. Blanch it in water then let it cool. Stick it with fine lardoons of pork fat, although if it is fat, and stuffed there will not be any need for that larding; you will have to stud it though with a few whole cloves. Mount it on a spit and cook it slowly, that bird cooking much more quickly that a common peacock. From the breast you can make croquettes, and meatballs and all those prperations that are made from the lean meat of milk-fed veal. in recipes 43 and 47. The same too, for the flesh of a turkey hen and an ordinary peacock, but immediately after they have been killed because having hung they do not turn out as tasty. The turkey cock and hen have the same season as an ordinary peacock, yet in Rome they can be found throughout the year. Their viscera are done like those of the ordinary peacock.

My way:
Not having a spit available or fresh turkeys I have changed how they were prepared to suit what I will have available. First I did not blanch the turkey as modernly that is often done to kill off bacteria before sale because of the time that it takes to go from farm to consumer also modern turkey is probably fatter than one in period so i skipped larding the turkey as well. Though to keep it moist through my cooking process i did rub the skin down with butter. After which it was studded with cloves and sprinkled with salt and pepper (a given for most recipes). We used 3 cloves per leg and about 5-7 in the breast. After which i used my oven set to between 190 - 200 c. Using the approximation of 15 min per pound and it being an 11 pound turkey and not wanting to undercook it I cooked it for 2 hours wrappen in aluminum foil (causing it to "self baste") for the last hour i removed the foil in order for th eskin to crisp up as it would have on a spit.

Despite being uncovered for an entire hour it was suprisingly NOT dry. Taste, awesome! I never would have thought clove for turkey but just that little bit is marvelous and we complimented the meal with the chickpea recipe (made with yellow peas by accident, see previous post) and the Kohrabi with garlic sauce, when he says this goes with fowl he isn't kidding, the garlic sauce was the perfect thing for the turkey! If all this isn't enough, my husband's 80 year old, traditional German grandmother liked the food!


  1. Would be interested to see the difference in using lard rather than butter (since Scappi recommends lard as the moistener), as well as to know the difference in rotisserie roasting (on a spit). Perhaps something that could be tried at double wars? Did you cut away the breast meat like he suggested and use one of the recommended stuffings? Does he havea recipe for croquettes? Inquiring magistras want to know. ;-D

    1. DW might be a good place to test it out, and my reasoning for butter was to test for ADD. No stuffing tests as of yet, that will come later. and yes, he has recipes for croquettes.

  2. But why not test lard for ADD (God knows lard is cheap and plentiful in germany...). And the breast meat - did you extract it the way Scappi says to do, or did you leave it in?

    1. Lard is normally from a pig. I would otherwise need to make at least 1 non pork turkey. So I went with butter, though I am tempted to use Olive oil as that would have been quite plentiful as well.
      As for the breast. It is a bone that is cut away and not the meat. I am trying to identify if this has been bred out of them or not, as i know of no modern turkey that has the bone that is spoken of. Now, I only know that there are 2 types of turkey South American and North American. From description and a drawing in a Rumpolt cookbook it resembles the North American Turkey. Though it seems modernly that the domesticated turkey is from the South American group as the North American wild ones died in captivity. More research is required.