If it's Christmas it must be turkey. So let's talk turkey about Christmas Eve dinner, the Xmas lunch and the Boxing Day party. The common thread that runs through the festive season, of prayer, peace and party, is the delectable bird plumped with succulent stuffing and served with traditional cranberry sauce. It is without doubt the piece de resistance on the dining table.
This season there is a big spread of turkey meat choices for citywallahs. The bird comes in its most gastronomically enriched avatar as the Butterball turkey, imported from USA, and available in the two gourmet stores in the city. C.M.Verghese of Gourmet House says that though Thanksgiving is turkey time in America, here it's Xmas and New Year. He says that the butterball version is “selling like wild fire” in Bangalore and Chennai and is “catching up in Kochi” as the days get closer to Christmas.
The Butterball comes at Rs.1, 200 per kilo. Stuffed and roast turkey costs Rs. 550 per kilo and plain dressed turkey comes at Rs.350-400 for a kilo.
P.T.Antony of Choice Speciality Foods Pvt Ltd, and food store, Gourmet Grace on N H Bypass has stocked three varieties. The most popular form is the dressed, frozen one without stuffing which most hotels order and prepare them in their own style. The others are stuffed uncooked turkey and the completely ready one, which is roasted, and requires just heating and serving! The latter is very popular as it is hassle free.
At Le Meridien, Chef Soman is all ready for the big Christmas Eve dinner. The hotel, he says, has imported the dressed bird from Australia. “Turkey will be our main attraction for the day,” he says, disclosing that a whole lot of dry fruits will find their way into the scrumptious stuffing of the bird. He is thrilled that he will be demonstrating, ‘turkey roast' to a group of eager women who requested to be taught this party dish.
At Hotel Casino, Corporate chef Jose Varkey is very busy over 90 birds.
Chef Jose says that an average Malayali palate is not fond of turkey meat. “The fat in the turkey is alien to us,” he explains and hence he has attempted to cook the meat in a variety of ways to reach out to the guests. The roast turkey with a traditional stuffing of shallots, sage, breadcrumbs, chestnuts, walnuts, gizzards, giblets and sausage meat carved at site, either hot or cold will be part of their buffet. The other adaptations of the turkey that he will serve are the Kerala Roast Turkey and the Chinese roast. These he says, are more popular.
But for now, let's stop talking turkey and eat it instead!