It’s that time of year again. When Christmas is over, and one by one each branch of the family braves the boxing day traffic and heads back to their own homes and lives. You go back inside after waving off the final few family members, sit down at the kitchen table with a cup of tea, and breathe out a long, weary sigh. You’re a little sad that Christmas is over, but also, it has to be said, a little relieved, too. You take a sip of that tea and start to feel a warming relaxation come over you. And then you see it. It’s staring right at you. It’s been staring at you the whole damn time you’ve been lost in all your sad/relieved/stressed/gleeful/sheesh-that-tea-is-hot thoughts. Its very presence brings on that slight nervous twitch you have, and even the smell is enough to replace the warmth kindled by your cuppa with cold dread. You may tell your children that monsters don’t exist – but they’ve never had to deal with a gargantuan turkey carcass, except for when it’s been cut up into manageable portions on their plate.
Every Christmas, we are subjected to adverts of turkey roasted to golden perfection, the centrepiece of a table filled with all those Christmas trimmings either dripping in butter, wrapped in bacon, or oozing with cheese, and surrounded by laughing children, parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. But peel away that misty-magical filter and swap the romantic candlelight for the harsh glare of reality, and you end up with a table crowned by a monster and dotted with its evil minions. Definitely no laughing matter.
The Christmas turkey haunts those of us who have to deal with it both before (“How the hell am I going to cook that? Will it fit in the oven? Is it enough? Better order a bigger one just in case…) and after the big day (I will never be rid of it!!!). For the designated cook, the turkey casts an almighty, inescapable shadow over Christmas. No matter how many soldiers make up your famil-army, you may win the battles, but you’ll never win the war.
A true despot, that half (if that) eaten turkey clings to pan and power. But don’t fear, because no matter how hopeless you may feel at this moment in time, there are ways to dismantle the turkey’s rule. Below are 3 delicious plots to the turkey’s downfall, which I hope will help you to turn what may seem like pandemonium into an indulgent post-Christmas picnic.
1. Traditional turkey turns cosmopolitan
I wouldn’t be surprised if you found this lounging across a black slate on the coffee counter at your nearest single-origin, home-roasted, independent cafe.
This never-fail combination with any white meat is my favourite, and contains a list of ingredients we always have at home. Helping you to demolish that turkey is therefore:
- Bread of your choice
- Crispy bacon
- (And, lest we forget, the turkey itself).
2. The turkey Reuben sandwich
The traditional Reuben sandwich is such a refreshing change to the everyday sandwich, and with turkey, it’s possibly made even better. Turkey and sauerkraut is almost like a match made in heaven or, where the turkey’s concerned, hell. Simply get your bread, and add:
- Dijon mustard
- Swiss cheese
Mix two tablespoons of mayonnaise with a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, and that should do you nicely spread across two devilishly delicious turkey Reuben sandwiches
3. The classic
If you’re one of those people who wear flashing reindeer earrings from September onward and play Christmas songs morning, noon, and night, then perhaps the traditional turkey, cranberry, and brie classic is most apt for your festive picnic. Get your bread, and slather on:
- Cranberry sauce