Christmas arrives early for Booths Fresh Meat and Fish buyer David Simons. By March, David is already thinking about the boned and rolled sirloin we’ll treat ourselves to on Christmas Eve, and the succulent Booths Bronze turkey that will grace our table on the big day, as well as the French trim rack of lamb we’ll tuck into as we get ready to ring in the New Year.
For David, Christmas comes with the responsibility of upholding the exceptionally high standards people expect from Booths. “You’re very conscious that there have been generations of meat buyers before you who’ve delivered a great Christmas and it’s incumbent on you to continue that.”
Maintaining those standards means knowing his suppliers well, visiting their farms and keeping the supply chain as short as possible. There are ethical benefits as well as lots of other positives from working with local suppliers like family-run farm Johnson and Swarbrick. While customers can count on Booths classics at Christmas, David is constantly on the lookout for something new and different like Furness stuff wild lakeland venison haunch. For the time pressed and stressed, he suggests, “Buy a stuffed bird or crown, so there is one less thing to worry about and it saves space in the oven too.” To make a splash, he says, “Cook two different types of meat. This not only gives theatre but caters for different tastes.” And he swears by a meat thermometer to ensure meat is cooked perfectly. “I’ve found this a really useful gadget.”
"Sourcing Christmas turkeys for our customers is quite the responsibility. I look for slow-growing, flavoursome breeds which have been farmed as naturally as possible. The less intensively a turkey is raised, the better it's going to taste. A happy turkey is a tasty turkey"
How big should my turkey be?
As a rule of thumb, you should buy for up to 500g of turkey weight per person - so if you’ve got six people for Christmas, you need a 3kg bird - more, of course, if you want plenty of leftovers. Just make sure it will fit in your oven!
What kind of turkey should I choose?
It's down to your budget and your personal preference, our bronze turkeys are game-hung for an old fashioned, intense flavour, whereas our farm-assured white turkeys deliver plenty of pearly-white breast meat and consistent flavour. Organic free-range turkeys, supplied to us by Gressingham, are tasty and slow-growing. And if you want a turkey that's easy to cook and carve, or you're having a smaller feast, you could opt for a crown or joint of a whole bird.
How do I cook it?
This depends on the size of the bird, but don't worry, each of our turkeys come with full cooking insructions.
What can I do with leftovers?
From Christmas night sandwiches to Boxing Day buffets. The versatile meat can be chopped into risottos, pasta sauces and salads or transformed into creamy pies and sizzling curries and don't forget to use the bones as a base for a delicious, warming wintery soup.