Turkey..................Not Just For Christmas.

Here in Ireland turkey and Christmas go hand in hand with over 80 % of us enjoying the big bird for the main meal!
In the lead up to Christmas, the supermarket shelves and butchers will have their prize birds on display and it seems, the bigger the bird the better! Do you really need a 15 lb turkey?

But turkey is appearing more regularly and in most grocery outlets and butchers you can buy either whole breasts, the legs of the turkey on their own, turkey breast escalopes and even minced turkey with n'er a Christmas bauble in sight!

Turkey is an excellent source of lean protein and it's mild flavour seems to be liked by pretty much everybody. If anyone hesitates over turkey it's usually because in their experience it is a dry meat, and each Christmas season brings a new battle to keep that turkey moist! But as Christmas is just over three weeks away we'll worry about that problem later!

With turkey products so readily available I have begun adapting some of my beef and pork recipes and substituting the meat for turkey. You do have to be careful though about what you choose to do with it as we want to avoid the dreaded 'dryness'!.....long, slow cooking does not a moist turkey dish make!

This recipe is along the lines of that family favourite, meatloaf.

It is full of flavour and moist! and with those seasonal bacon and sage flavours, Christmas has come early.

Christmas Turkey Meatloaf

you will need: to feed 6 people

500 g minced turkey 100 g white breadcrumbs - fresh, not dried50 g oatmeal50 g pistachios2 medium white onions2 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 2 teaspoons of dried sage1 medium egg1 tablespoon worcestershire saucesea salt & fresh black pepper1 stalk of celery1 medium sized carrot250 g dry cured smoked streaky bacon

How to:

Peel and finely chop 1 of the onions, if you have a small food processor then puréeing the onions is even better, to make it easier you can add the egg and worcester sauce to the onion then blendplace the minced turkey in a good deep bowl, add the breadcrumbs, oatmeal, pistachios, sage, onion and egg, and season well with salt and freshly milled black pepper..... mix everything well together.....using your hands is good for this task....if you use a mixer it tends to turn the turkey to a paste which make the loaf very heavy and denseshape the turkey mix into an oval shapewrap the smoke bacon in layers around the loaf, you can use some wooden cocktail sticks to hold the bacon in place if you need toslice the other onion and cut the carrot and celery into thick slices, place these on a shallow roasting tinadd some water to the tray then place the turkey loaf on the bed of vegetablesbake in a medium oven about 150 degrees centigrade for approx 1 hour
When finished cooking the bacon will be delightfully crisp and the meat enclosed lovely and moist. You can use the vegetables and roasting juices as the base for a gravy to go with your meatloaf, try adding some cranberry sauce and a dash of port to the juices before thickening into a gravy.
If there are any leftovers, like any meatloaf you can chill it to have in a tasty sandwich later, just don't forget the cranberry!