I have to admit this to someone: the turkey is my least favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. Ok, phew. I feel better with that off my chest.
Now, that aside, I must recommend this
company for getting your turkey next year, or perhaps your fowl of choice for Christmas. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for turkey, I have to say that the bird I ordered from these folks was, without a doubt, the best I've ever had.
The company first caught my eye when I visited them at Borough Market a few months ago, and, upon scanning their list of products, spotted a version of my much beloved New Orleans' "Turducken
", their version being a goose stuffed with a turkey, stuffed with a pheasant (Oh, Mama!). I filed them in my mind under the future-meat-buying-adventures sections, and didn't think about them too much until Thanksgiving rolled around, and I happened to read in Time Out's Eating and Drinking Guide that they came highly recommended by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage
and Nigel Slater
With all the high praise swirling about, and my admiration for their promise that all their meat "has been naturally reared, has lived well and has been humanely killed," I went ahead and ordered the turkey a week before Thanksgiving (Marc, at their offices, being particularly helpful in answering all my questions about provenance, size and weight, taste, etc. etc.), and agreed to pick it up at Borough Market on Wednesday (though they politely informed me that they could also deliver right to my door).
The fellows manning the stand at the market, when I went to pick up my order the following week, were extremely helpful and friendly, giving me hints on preparation and presentation, and explaining that the few little feather remnants to be found on and under the skin were a result of a younger bird having more tender skin (due to the fact that I was buying mine earlier than usual, because of Thanksgiving, whilst most of the other turkeys are reared for Christmas and are, by then, a bit older and tougher in the skin and easier to pluck), but that they could easily pull out the two or three feathers for me, but in the end I would find out that really they would all end up being burned out in the oven, anyway, so it wasn't really worth fretting over.
When I got home, I followed the Martha Stewart recipe
, from the brining to the basting ritual, and all turned out swell. Everything was picture perfect, the skin was crispy and light, the meat was tender and juicy, and the drippings were profoundly tasty and syrupy (ideal for the gravy).
Still, I attribute the overall quality of the taste to the origins of the bird. I plan to order a pork tenderloin and some beef filets from Northfield Farm in the run up to Christmas, so I'll let you know about their other products soon.