Gordon Ramsay: Turkey Edition

Over this past summer, I spent a lot of time cooking and learning about food on my own time. My nights often consisted of watching Youtube videos from channels like Binging With Babish and Gordon Ramsay to figure out what I was going to make the next night. That being said, when Friendsgiving came around I, of course, wanted to take on Gordon Ramsay’s turkey and gravy recipes. Below, I’ll outline my experience.

Here are the links to both written recipes on Gordon Ramsay’s website and the video for both on Youtube:

https://www.gordonramsay.com/gr/recipes/roast-turkey-with-lemon-parsley-and-garlic/

https://www.gordonramsay.com/gr/recipes/turkey-gravy-with-cider-and-walnuts/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XO5DF8soxwM

The day of Friendsgiving I had a couple classes, so I knew I had to do some work beforehand. It of course started out with thawing the turkey since I bought it a day later than I should have. It just so happened that my kitchen sink wouldn’t seal which led to the turkey being thawed in a big plastic tub.

On top of that, I had 5 classes the day before, so I had to work on the turkey around midnight the night before. Here is my sleep-deprived engineering-self posing with the clock when I was working on this and all the ingredients arranged nice and pretty.

First, I seasoned the inside of the bird with salt and pepper. Next, I stuffed the bird with the onions, a head of garlic, one of the lemons, all of which were cut in half. A couple of bay leaves were also thrown in there. I always find putting anything inside a turkey a bit odd since you are quite literally putting your hand up it’s a**. On the other hand, I think of this scene as well:

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While I’m on the topic, I would suggest NOT putting stuffing in your turkey. Putting stuffing in the turkey is a great way to give you and your loved ones food poisoning (been there, done that but thankfully not from my cooking). The stuffing can absorb all of the yummy turkey juices that may contain salmonella and not get up to temperatures that will kill the bacteria. If you do manage to get the stuffing to the correct temperature, you’ve likely overcooked the rest of the turkey to get it there. In summary: cook the stuffing separately and everyone will be better for it.

Now, in the fashion of Ramsay himself:

Butter. IN. Olive Oil. IN. Salt and Pepper. IN. Pressed Garlic. IN. Lemon Zest. IN. Lemon Juice. IN. Freshly-chopped Parsley. IN. MIX. My god, that’s heavenly.

This is the herb-butter that makes this recipe fantastic. After this, I basically separated the skin from the breasts and then shove half of this light and fragrant butter concoction underneath the skin. The other half was literally rubbed all over the turkey. This was to make sure the meat turned out nice and ~moist~. Yes, I used the m-word and I stand by it because it was delicious.

Once I was finished covering this in profuse amounts of butter, I covered the whole thing in aluminum foil and set it in the fridge to be cooked that afternoon. The reason I say “that afternoon” is that it was about 2AM when I finished this stage of the recipe.

When I got home from class at around 2:30 p.m., I drizzled that baby with more olive oil and then put this sucker in the oven for 15 minutes at 220°C. When I went to take this out of the oven for the next step I didn’t lift it from the middle like the packaging on the roasting pan says. Due to this stereotypical male habit of not reading directions, I had some oil leaking out of the bottom of it which caused a little mess. I’m just glad I didn’t cause a fire. After this I simply just used the other roasting pan that came in the package (and this led to other problems but we’ll get to that). 

I took the turkey out, basted it, and set the oven to 180°C. Other than the copious amounts of butter used on this thing, this next part was my favorite:

Boom. Meat blanket.

The bacon actually served a purpose other than trying to clog every artery in my body. It helped to protect the turkey and prevent it from drying out. It also was used later in the gravy. I basted the turkey again with the bacon on and placed it back in the oven. I basted this absolute unit every half hour for two and a half hours (the time will vary based on the size of the turkey). After that time frame, I basted and checked the turkey's temperature every 15 minutes. Once it reached 74°C, I removed it from the oven to start working on the gravy.

This is when issues arise. Since I used both roasting pans for the turkey, I had no place for the turkey to rest outside of the oil and fat so I could collect the resting juice by itself. Given that I had no other option, I just used a bit less of the oil and juice mixture in the gravy.

Fun fact: You should try to rest a turkey as long as it's been cooked. This allows the meat to relax and reabsorb some of the juices. It won’t matter if the meat is less than piping hot because it’ll be served with hot gravy. 

Speaking of the gravy, rewind to around the two hour mark in cooking: I was looking at all my ingredients for the gravy and realized I had forgotten to find dry cider, a crucial ingredient in the gravy recipe. For those of you that don’t really know what dry cider is, its essentially the same as calling a wine “dry” but with fermented apples instead of grapes.

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This resulted in numerous phone calls to beer distributors and liquor stores to find dry cider (because we can’t have nice things in Pennsylvania like grocery stores that can sell alcohol but that's a different story). The last call I made was to Giant Eagle (because they can have a license to sell beer and wine for some reason, I guess). The first person to pick up, who was a very nice lady, had no idea what I was talking about. Here’s how the call went:

Giant Eagle Lady: Hello Giant Eagle how may I help you?

Me: Uh, hi. Would you happen to know if you sell dry cider? Dry as in like a dry wine?

Giant Eagle Lady: Oh do you mean like a Kool-Aid mix?

Me: No, not quite. It’s an alcoholic apple cider that's “dry” in the same way that some wine is “dry”.

Giant Eagle Lady: Um, I’m not sure if we have a mix like that…

Me: No, no. Its alcohol.

Giant Eagle Lady: ….

Me: Do you understand what I’m trying to say?

Giant Eagle Lady: … Let me put you in with our beer and wine manager he might be able to help you.

Me: That would be great, thank you very much.

*waiting music*

Giant Eagle Beer Guy: Hello, how I can I help you today?

Me: Uh, hi. Would you happen to know if you sell dry cider? Dry as in like a dry wine?

Giant Eagle Beer Guy: Oh yeah, we have one that's really good.

Me: Fantastic, I’m on my way.

I go pick up the cider and have my roommates baste and check the temperature of the turkey while I’m gone. Crisis averted.

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The cider I ended up getting was called Beard Bender by Blake’s Hard Cider Company and I gotta say it’s great in this dish as well as on its own. It basically just tastes like any typical hard cider but not nearly as sugary. Here’s a picture of one of the cans featuring my curious pup, Lily.

At this point I forgot to take a lot of pictures since people were showing up but I’ll give you the gist of what happens with the gravy. First, the bacon from the top of the turkey was chopped up and cooked in a large saute pan. The same was done for the lemon and onions that roasted inside the turkey. Next, three chopped tomatoes and three springs of rosemary were thrown in. Little pieces of the turkey that aren’t typically eaten were added to the mix as well.

Then I poured in the cider (whilst drinking some with my free hand) and then some of the oil and juices from the roasting pan. To be honest, I used too much of this as a lot of it was olive oil and melted butter but it still turned out well. I cooked it down by half, added chicken stock, and cooked it down by half again. Using a vegetable masher, I, as you may have predicted, mashed the contents of the concoction to make sure every bit of flavor was pressed out of the solids.

Look at me, all hot and flustered from trying to get this turkey done right for my friends. I’m adorable. The real reason I’m smiling in this photo is the wonderful apple pie moonshine made by my buddy inside that Magnolia Farms mug. Low-key hope that Chip Gaines sees this. Just saying.

Once the contents of the saute pan were run through a metal sieve and the turkey was carved, it was time to eat. The recipe calls for crushed walnuts in the bottom of the gravy boat but one of my friends has a nut allergy and I do not have a gravy boat, so it was better to avoid that part altogether and simply use a ladle.

The turkey and gravy both turned out wonderfully. I heard nothing but good things about it and I was very happy with it as well. My favorite part was the gravy as it was packed with flavor and had a light apple taste to it. Anytime I talk about food like this, I always feel like a snob that should have a monocle or something but yanno what you’re still reading this so I’m gonna be as snobbish as I want. The citrus in the butter not only moistened the poultry but provided a light taste to the meat as well *laughs arrogantly like Squilliam Fancyson*.

Anyway, if you’re looking for a turkey recipe for your next holiday meal, I highly recommend this one. It’s not that hard to do and it's a little different while still tasting rather traditional. Now here’s a picture of me cheesing like a schoolgirl with my hair amiss: